Do the statistics tell a story?
Here in the UK the statistics show that we have one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. There have been many articles written and much discussion surrounding breastfeeding.
We all understand and acknowledge the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. But we hear that only 43% of mothers will still be exclusively breastfeeding by the time their baby reaches eight weeks and only 1% of babies are exclusively breastfed to six months, as the World Health Organisation recommends.
What can we do to support more women?
How can we help?
As healthcare professionals it is essential that if we wish to encourage more women to breastfeed their babies for longer, I feel we have to paint a more realistic picture and be honest and transparent about how difficult breastfeeding can be for many women.
Pregnant women especially with first pregnancies deserve to know that breastfeeding can be challenging both physically and mentally and your journey can feel like a rollercoaster of emotions.
Honesty also avoids women feeling like they are failing as a mother and this could easily lead to mental health issues such as low self esteem and postnatal depression.
Continued support is essential
There are of course many women who successfully breastfeed their babies which is so amazing and many make it look so easy and empowering.
However my concern is for the women who really want to breastfeed their babies but for whatever reason find it very difficult or in some cases impossible.
Our continued support for these women is essential but above all we must accept and respect their decision if they feel breastfeeding is not the journey for them.
Share your breasfeeding journey
We would love you to share your breastfeeding journey.
Was it a positive experience?