Why is Breast Feeding a Challenge?

February 27, 2008

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Organisations such as the La Lèche League or the Breastfeeding Network help to promote breastfeeding with all its benefits which, as a result, is becoming increasingly popular.
Fortunately, more and more women decide to at least try to feed their newborn themselves. National statistics show that there is a steady increase in initial infant breastfeeding (66% in 1995 to 69% in 2000). However, statistics also reveal that many new mothers give up breastfeeding after only a few weeks: after only one week, 55% of women breastfeed, after six weeks 43% and after 4 months 28% still feed their babies. In our modern culture, natural feeding is a challenge because bottle feeding still tends to be regarded as “easier”. Generations of parents who bottle fed their babies pass on what they have been sold decades ago. In addition, new breastfeeding problems arise that find appropriate discussion grounds in our civilisation, such as the “insufficient milk” syndrome. Yet, only about 5% of mothers show real physical difficulty to breastfeed, thus confirming that the idea of not making enough milk is a modern invention. Women may actually feel that they do not have enough milk to feed their baby but the reasons are not physical. It is more likely that the early difficulties mother and baby experience together result from stressful birthing environment, such as the hospital, where unknown staff and routine as well as doubtable reputation feed initial anxiety and thus, can add to the overall picture of the insufficient milk syndrome. Breast feeding can be highly influenced by psychosomatic elements, such as stress, anxiety, worries, depression and much more. Feeding is a natural self-regulating and extremely efficient process which is susceptible to how mothers feel, as much as anything. If a new mother does not receive the support she needs, the let-down reflex (milk flows from the ducts towards the nipple) is more difficult to be stimulated.
Besides the modern argument of “lack of sufficient milk”, many more interruptions help reduce the chance of breastfeeding, such as aesthetically motivated breast operations or if a separation of mother and baby after birth is unnecessarily prolonged. In addition, our natural desire for information societies has caused multiple parenting theories to shoot out of the grounds. Instead of helping reduce new parent’s fears they tend to increase and even confuse them. One of the often cited parent strategies is “feeding on schedule”. However, feeding in intervals causes unnecessary stress because the composition of the milk changes in a way that causes baby to feel hungry all the time. As a result, the mother will think that she does not produce enough milk whereas the truth is that she has waited too long.

Modern ways of living can make it extremely difficult for new mothers to embrace breast feeding. Their cultural background, lack of support within their own family or friends and misleading parenting information facilitate the return to bottle feeding. Moreover, cultural expectations of women who often have to return to work early in order to earn a living or pursue a career do not improve early parenting conditions.

While breast feeding is part of our natural survival strategy, bottle feeding is part of our modern culture. It gives new mothers the chance to cope easier with expectations and to help handle natural infant needs in an over-regulated world. We are aware of the fact that human milk is best for baby. Thus, it is the mother’s individual choice of how to feed her infant and to build a strong bond.

For more breastfeeding tips visit http://www.babysbest.co.uk/

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One Response to “Why is Breast Feeding a Challenge?”


  1. Hello! I loved this article. It was very clear and informational, at the same time I felt a deep passion that shines through your writing! I am always looking for volunteers to join our forum and occasional write featured articles for our blog. Check out our website! Even if you have old Articles to contribute you will get all the credit for your submissions and we will link to the original article on your page! Help us to Serve Mother, Father, and Baby to strengthen their Bond!


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