Its true that breastfeeding is “natural”, that the reason why the human race exists is because throughout history mothers fed their newborns with breastmilk. This is just a fact. Before formula existed, we existed because of breastmilk. Interestingly since the introduction of formula, women have lost the natural ability to feed their newborns solely from their breast. Someone told me recently that approximately 20% of women who attempt to breastfeed fail. How do you define failure and success? There are many ways. Do all women even want to breastfeed given a choice not to, of course not. Have we lost an innate ability to instinctually know how do provide milk and nurse? Possibly. Has our culture and society moved into a completely different direction regarding birthing and caring for infants, and has that modernization changed the way we think and plan? Of course it has.
Interesting facts from the recent Bravado #Little Victories campaign and research:
- Only 8% of new and expectant mothers report being extremely satisfied with their ability to manage the multiple demands of their lives.
- Although breastfeeding rates in the US continue to climb, breastfeeding out of the house continues to be an issue for new moms as only 17% are extremely comfortable breastfeeding in public.
- 28% of women identify as first generation breastfeeders.
- 85% of new mothers rate the baby’s father as their number one source of emotional support while breastfeeding.
- Of those who report pumping at work, nearly one third find the process moderately difficult. Less than 7% find pumping at work extremely easy. The survey found 42.5% believed their employers were not at all to only moderately supportive.
“This new research is critically important and gives us focus,” says Katherine Stone, Founder, Postpartum Progress and 2014 Iris Award Winner for her postpartum philanthropic work . “Each year women give birth to 4 million babies in the US, and the emotional and physical well-being of these moms and their children has a significant impact on millions of American families. We now have more insight into where and how we can help new mothers succeed. It’s important to understand and address the everyday challenges.”
It is becoming clear to me through my personal experience, watching my friends, learning more about this through our partnership with The Pump Station & Nurtury, and recently watching the new film “Breastmilk”, executive producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, that without support by someone or a group of someones that really know how to coach and provide true lactation education, the numbers of breastfed babies in this country are going to continue to drop. Am I feeling pessimistic, perhaps a little.
“We’ve uncovered new pressures. Confidence and comfort come with time and with help,” says Staci Starr, Senior Brand Manager, Bravado Designs Ltd. “Our expertise combined with tools and online access to experts are designed to help new mothers feel successful, each milestone and little victory at a time.”
I breastfed my daughter easily for 7 months. Yes the fist few days it was challenging, but I got wonderful support from my pediatrician’s office and from our postpartum doula, and whoop, there it was: I was a breastfeeding success story. Until I went back to work, a very modified return mind you, 1 weekend per month, coupled with my baby getting a double ear infection and incredibly stuffed nose = the end to my milk supply. She went from the 50th percentile in weight to the 20th in a matter of months…it was scary, and I felt like a failure. All is perfectly fine now, and she is school age and far from breastfeeding, but the resources didn’t seem to be there when I was floundering, but they were. How many other women that need support and help just don’t know how to get it?
Thanks to Bravado for the research to back up this post. And thank you to The Pump Station and all of the amazing lactation consultants in this country that are giving this education daily. Another thank you to Dana Ben-Ari, the director of “Breastmilk” and those that are talking about issues related to this topic that just need to be discussed.
Alisa B. Donner, MSW, LCSW, Co-Founder of Pregnancy Awareness Month, and mom to an amazing wonder.
Bravado Designs, a Medela company, is a leader in intimate apparel design and innovation with a focus on exceptionally comfortable nursing bras for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Established in 1992, Bravado Designs is committed to helping all new mothers achieve breastfeeding success through a wide range of products, community initiatives, and philanthropic partnerships that support women. With a clear focus on connection and care for new mothers, Bravado is fully committed to ensuring that expectant and new mothers have ready access to the tools they need to have a successful breastfeeding experience. For more information, please visit www.bravadodesigns.com on Facebook and onTwitter @BravadoDesigns.
*Thank you again to Ingrid Franz Moriarty for the AMAZING photo!
DISCLAIMER: This blog post was contributed to in content by a paid sponsor for the Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) Campaign 2014 – Bravado, and written by Alisa Donner. The opinions expressed by Bravado, and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of PAM or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Bravado. Always consult with your medical provider regarding any personal health questions or decisions (including nutrition, diet, and exercise).