Most infants are not exclusively breastfeeding or continuing to breastfeed as long as recommended, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But it bears looking into the reasons why that's the case, and a new survey from Lansinoh sheds a bit of light on the subject.
The company recently talked to over 1,000 moms and found that more than half (57 percent) felt unprepared for the breastfeeding experience. Upon thinking up solutions, 37 percent would like to see more prenatal breastfeeding education, 35 percent said better family leave benefits would help, and 53 percent said a more realistic portrayal of breastfeeding (and postpartum) in the media and social media would help them feel more prepared.
In fact, an overwhelming majority of respondents—81 percent—said breastfeeding isn't realistically portrayed in popular media.
Additionally, more than 50 percent of moms said they found breastfeeding to be more challenging than they expected. Their top four challenges:
- 1. Learning how to breastfeed in the beginning
- 2. The pain associated with breastfeeding
- 3. Pumping at work
- 4. Difficulty with tongue tie and/or the baby's latch
As many as 49 percent of second-time moms said they were not prepared for the breastfeeding experience, and nearly the same number (48 percent) said breastfeeding as a second-time mom was more difficult than they expected.
The pressure to breastfeed has also taken a toll on many moms surveyed. When asked, "Would you feel guilty if you did not breastfeed?" the majority of moms (74 percent) said yes. And when asked which one word best represented their breastfeeding experience, moms replied both positively and negatively with words like "bond," "hard," "rewarding," "painful," "stressful," and "amazing."
Ultimately, 70 percent of people surveyed said breastfeeding moms are not sufficiently supported by society. Here's hoping that surveys like this one bring attention to these concerns —and lead to concrete change and support for parents no matter how they decide to feed their babies.