Factors Associated With Duration of Breastfeeding in Ireland : Potential Areas for Improvement

An Irish "study" in our own international journal. This is great to see . But really theres nothing in it that we don't know. The recommendations are to increase postnatal support, to recognise that Dads play a role in breastfeeding duration , to promote the first feed after birth as breastmilk and also promote exclusive breastfeeding. Enough we've tried all that , it doesn't work .

 I think they should stop pouring money into breastfeeding promotion and just  help the mothers who want to breastfeed. No more posters please ! Actual antenatal education , proper postnatal support not just dependant on luck and being informed . Baby cafes ,  incentives to breastfeed such as meal vouchers. Lets keep the nearly 50%  of women we have wanting to breastfeed... actually happily feeding  at the moment they are  not making it anywhere near 6 weeks . Its just not fair to push breastfeeding at every antenatal visit then give no help afterwards .
 Its no wonder women are angry about it , Im angry that when i had my first baby 14 years ago that i was coerced into giving formula as his first feed . There was nothing wrong with him , he just needed some time to recover after a long birth and instrumental delivery . I see this happening all the time , I also see mums not knowing about the 2nd night .Where babies sometimes  like to wake up and feed all night long ?  This is basic breastfeeding information . Yet, lots of mothers don't know about it.
Labour lasts one day , two at the most , breastfeeding lasts an awful lot longer yet most first time parents spend a whole day at an antenatal class where less than 1 hour is given to breastfeeding. Sometimes a portion of that time is given to the advantages of breastfeeding , that ship has sailed long ago ...... these parents need tips , information , videos , practical demonstrations all backed up with written information with lots of graphics .
 Most women see very clearly on their second breastfeeding experience where things went wrong on their first . They know about getting help fast if things are not right , they know that if they are sore its not supposed to last the whole feed and should improve as the days go by .
Its all about education first , then skilled help, then support to keep going. Thats not so hard is it ?


Anita said...

Excellent post, Nicola. I'm feeding my 7.5 month old and I'm so surprised at how many people think this is really weird. Apparently anything beyond 6 weeks is extended these days. Even health professionals are starting to express surprise when it comes up now. Visibility is key too - the more people that breastfeed, the more people that breastfeed :)

Anna said...

I was only talking about this with friends today, and the point at which one goes from "breastfeeding" to "still breastfeeding"! It's so true, all through pregnancy breastfeeding is pushed as the be all and end all. But once baby is out the support and information seems to fluctuate wildly depending on umpteen factors. Love the point that labour lasts only a day or two at most and everything is focused on that. Whilst a positive labour will help a good start, preparing ones support for breastfeeding before baby arrives is so so important so you know who to call when it all seems to be falling apart!

Sue LC said...

Totally agree my friend! We have to cease 'promotion' when there is no real support for the many mothers - actually nearly 100% who have left hospital before their milk comes in. Poor beleagured PHNs can't possibly get around everyone and spend enough time with each mother they see - and we know that time is one of the things that really makes a difference to the new mum. Being there to support and encourage is where the energy has to go. At the moment both mothers and professionals are frustrated by the limitations of the service provided. To paraphrase the great John Lennon .... All we are saying is give mums a chance!

Carlota said...

Breastfeeding a 21 months old at the mo and of course getting all sorts of faces when I do it. Especially when they see her asking for milk (pleaseeeeeee) after having a sandwich ;)
So true everything you said unfortunately, and so true the "breastfeeding" to "still breastfeeding"!
Love your blog (from Spain)