3 Reasons Why Moms Stop Breastfeeding
I found out this past week (after 8+ long, anxious weeks of waiting) that I passed my Certified Lactation Counselor exam. I’m officially a CLC!
So what is a CLC, you ask?
The CLC is a nationally recognized designation awarded by the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice (ALPP) to those who successfully complete the course competencies during the 45 hour Healthy Children’s Project training course as well as pass the latch assessment and final multiple choice exams with a score of 75% or higher.
Yeah, all of that very nearly gave me a panic attack in the middle of the 2 hour long final exam. That and not being able to focus on the test questions because of the rowdy accountant’s conference in the room next door. (Rowdy accountants conference? Yes, and you think I’m being ironic…)
But thankfully I’m on this side of the CLC exam now, which is a massive relief. And an honor, too, really. I am so excited to be able to use this accreditation to help Tulsa area moms achieve their breastfeeding goals!
So today I’d like to share something that I learned at the CLC training that I thought was pretty fascinating.
Why is it that breastfeeding is so difficult that mothers need help?
#1 Unrealistic Expectations
Most of us just have no idea what the newborn period is really going to look and feel like before we smack in the middle of it. New motherhood can definitely be blissful, as many of us pregnant mamas dream, but it can also one of the most challenging stages of our lives, as well. And the truth is that when we’re sleep deprived, needed every moment of the day and night, nursing around the clock, feeling unbalanced, and always worried that we’re not doing enough (or making enough) for our babies, it’s not that hard to imagine giving up on our long-term breastfeeding goals so that we can have a temporary, short-term break.
#2 Lack of Timely Interventions
The fastest drop-off in breastfeeding rates occurs in the first 10 days after hospital discharge. Why? Because we’re not getting enough support to help manage any kind of issues, including lack of confidence.
#3 Misunderstanding (about why mothers stop breastfeeding)
Oftentimes mothers who want to continue breastfeeding decide to stop because they’re not able to address their issues on their own and think, “well if this is what breastfeeding is, I don’t want to do it anymore.” The most commonly cited reasons for stopping breastfeeding are:
- Not enough milk
- Baby won’t latch
- Breast pain/soreness
- Going back to work/school
But each of these reasons are fixable and shouldn’t have to signal the end of breastfeeding for a mom who had longer-term goals. No one should have to live with sore nipples and no one should have to struggle with the agonizing feeling of “is my baby getting enough to eat?”
Support, support, support.
Moms need support before they give birth. They need to know what breastfeeding looks like in the first few weeks after birth. We might tell moms that nursing on-demand is best, but we also need to lay out what that really looks like. Babies need to nurse 8-12 times a day (but we really prefer to see 10-12 times). So in the early days that can realistically be 30-45 minutes on the breast, an hour and a half off. This doesn’t give you much of a break. And that’s through the night, as well. Remember though, it’s not forever! You can get through this time and your baby will thank you for it.
Moms need support in the 2 weeks immediately following birth. They need to be able to quickly get a hold of a lactation professional and get their concerns addressed. Even if what’s needed is just a pat on the back and to be told by someone who knows that you are doing everything right.
Moms need support throughout their breastfeeding years. They need to know how to increase their milk production if that’s the concern, how to get baby latched on well, how to get rid of the breast and nipple pain, as well as what to do when it’s time to go back to work or school. A lactation professional will be able to help you with all of that. But it’s essential that you reach out. You don’t have to quit breastfeeding any sooner than you want to!
There are now at least 6 new CLCs in the Tulsa area. As my daughter says, “Yay-hoo!” our breastfeeding community is growing! So feel free to contact me if you need lactation support or a referral, I’m always eager to help fellow breastfeeding mamas!