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Improve the Duration of Breastfeeding

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Pregnancy related image Photo: Getty Images

Some things in life are simply meant to be, such as breastfeeding at childbirth. The World Health Organization (WHO) names colostrum, the thick yellowish breast milk created naturally by the mother, as the perfect food for newborns. Today hospitals are pushing toward breastfeeding initiation from the time of birth based on years of research. Evidence has verified that human milk provides qualities such as supporting physical and cognitive development, enhancement of the immune system, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Although Healthy People 2010 has set national goals for breastfeeding initiation and continuation rates, studies have found that breastfeeding continuation rates at six and 12 months fall short (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). So why is it that women start breastfeeding, but do not continue?

There are many reasons this lack of breastfeeding continuation may exist. Many new moms are returning to work and may find pumping breast milk an inconvenience (or perhaps their employer may find this an inconvenience). Also, aspects like improper education from the start; proper latching techniques, maintenance care of the nipples, or maybe lack of support for new moms might be coming into play. Some of these reasons could possibly be prevented with nursing care/lactation consultants in the hospital. Other possibilities might need a little assistant outside of the hospital with family or peer involvement and workplace support. For more detailed information on how to create a breastfeeding-friendly workplace check out this article: https://www.empowher.com/pregnancy/content/create-breastfeeding-friendly-workplace. It has a lot of great information that may help you develop a very beneficial program at your place of employment.

If breastfeeding support is very important to you, there are certain hospitals that are "Baby-Friendly" around the entire world. These hospitals follow a specific ten-step program to increase the amount of mothers that initiate breastfeeding in the hospital, and have also been recognized to help improve the length of time mothers breastfeed their babies.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.