The Question: What are the reasons new moms stop breastfeeding earlier than desired?

The Study: Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed nearly 1,200 new mothers through 12 monthly surveys, which included questions on breastfeeding. Whenever a participant indicated she had stopped breastfeeding, she was asked if she breastfed as long as she had wanted to and why she stopped breastfeeding.

The Results: The top four reasons for early cessation of breastfeeding were lactation difficulties, concerns over infant nutrition and weight, maternal illness or need take medicine, and the work involved with pumping breast milk. Nearly 60% of the women who initially breastfed stopped sooner than they had planned.

Comment: There’s no question that the longer babies are breastfeed the healthier they are. This study found that many of the reasons for premature cessation are due to problems that additional maternal education and support might alleviate.

Read More: Pediatrics, 03/13

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From issue: 29/01-02