Exclusive Breastfeeding "Not the Norm" in U.S.

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Exclusive Breastfeeding "Not the Norm" in U.S.
Fri, 11-18-2011 - 9:02am

When something's been scientifically proven as good for the body -- nourishing, boosting disease-fighting ability and more -- you might think Americans would clamor to adopt it, especially when the

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-12-2007
I would think it's a combination of factors. We don't get much maternity leave, most families are dual income families these days, and culturally it is a little tough to exclusively breast feed since nursing in public is still a touchy issue. I'd say it is probably more factoring in too, but those are what I could see as the high points.


Avatar for chriscanuck
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2003
Yes I think the lack of maternity leave would have a lot to do with it. Once you go back to work I think exclusively breastfeeding would be incredibly challenging. For people who have to go back to work when their baby is only a month old I think it would be very hard to keep your milk supply established even with frequent pumping. I am sure there are other factors but I think that is a major one.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2005
I totally agree with the lack of maternity leave. I have known moms who stay home and exclusively pump for whatever reason and have a hard time keeping it up for a long time. It's just not the same.

I think the mentality that a little is better than none at all is still a very strong concept with a lot of people as well as doctors even though studies show the long term benefits of extended breastfeeding. So when babies growth spurt and breastfeeding gets taxing, people give up.

It does not help that breastfeeding in public is still so frowned upon in our country.

Breastfeeding can be a challenge - it definitely isn't easy for everyone - and I think support for moms who are struggling isn't easy to come by. My services were great while I was in the hospital but when I had a question months later, I had to leave a message and wait days to hear back and that person was very little help to me. In that time, many inexperienced moms likely would have given up or lost their supply.

I do think that breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding is becoming a more popular choice. It's nice to see shows like Teen Mom showing very young girls who are opting for breastfeeding at an age where most of their peers would be so turned off by that.

I was not a breastfed baby. My family was shocked to know that at 20 years old I was choosing to nurse my baby, and have since nursed all my babies. Many moms choose what their mothers chose. It's time to bring that cycle back to breastfeeding and make that the norm.