Posted on June 5, 2012 at 3:44 PM
Tuesday, Jun 5 at 5:19 PM
SAN ANTONIO -- When it comes to breastfeeding their babies, most new mothers have trouble meeting their goals. You might think nursing newborns would be the most natural process in the world, but modern moms have trouble finding a way to make it work.
When Adayla Harris was born seven years ago, her mother, Carole, breastfed her exclusively for six months. It was a challenge, but she believes in the benefits.
“It was our bonding time,” Carole Harris stated. “It was our special time and I really enjoyed it.”
Women have good intentions when it comes to breastfeeding, but new statistics show most new mothers aren’t following through with their plans.
That’s a concern for nursing advocates who say babies need nutrition and immunities they can only get from breast milk.
“It’s a medication and a vaccination naturally for those new babies,” said Geri Collins, RN, the director of Methodist Women’s Center. “And you can’t duplicate it any other way.”
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found many women plan on breastfeeding their babies exclusively, but then stop.
Researchers polled almost 1,500 pregnant women and found 85 percent planned on nursing exclusively for three months. But only 32 percent met that goal.
Another striking finding was that 15 percent of those women gave up before they left the hospital.
At the Methodist Women’s Center in San Antonio, Collins and her staff try to provide support they say women so desperately need to follow through with their breastfeeding plan.
“It’s a process,” Collins commented. “Babies have to learn. Moms have to learn and have a good support system because that’s crucial to successful breastfeeding.
Women most likely to meet their original breastfeeding goals were married and had given birth to other children.
Carole Harris says she’s glad she breastfed.
“I am,” Harris stressed. “It was one of the most rewarding experiences, I think.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding of babies for the first six months of life. Only 15 percent of women meet that goal.