August is National Breastfeeding Month. It’s a time to celebrate all mothers and remember that breastfeeding may not always be easy.
Breastfeeding rates are continuing to rise in the U.S., according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 81 percent of new mothers start out breastfeeding their babies, but by six months that number is down to 52 percent. At one year, the number of breastfeeding moms drops to 31 percent.
Debbie Day, a registered nurse and lactation consultant for Winchester Hospital’s Outpatient Lactation Center, joined new mom Kristin Brown last week for an Instagram Live. The duo discussed all things breastfeeding.
Day’s charge is helping new moms learn to breastfeed, or trouble-shooting problems that may arise down the road. She worked with Kristin, who has a three-month-old baby girl.
“I definitely wanted to try to breastfeed,” Kristin said. But doctors wanted to supplement with formula because the baby was jaundiced.
“I was worried she wouldn’t want to breastfeed exclusively,” Kristin said.
That’s when she met with Debbie. Kristin is happily breastfeeding now.
“Some women are lucky enough to pick up the baby and things go well,” Debbie said. “But that doesn’t happen for most people.”
Should you decide to breastfeed, understanding that it may be challenging, at times, is helpful.
“Knowing your journey won’t be the same as your friend’s journey is really important,” Kristin said. “If I didn’t have Debbie, I would have given up a long time ago.”
It can discourage a new mother to hear from a peer that breastfeeding is easy. One way to assuage this feeling is to join a breastfeeding support group or visit a lactation consultant.
“The journey can be easy, the journey can be difficult,” Debbie said. “Most of the time, it is somewhere in between.”
For more information on breastfeeding and the right path for you and your baby, speak with your health care provider.