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How Long Are Mothers Breastfeeding?
Although the survey found that the number of women who breastfeed and who continue to breastfeed after returning to work is encouraging, there is still a lack of knowledge about and lack of adherence to the 12 months or more of breastfeeding recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Although 75 percent of the mothers who were polled stated they had breastfed their children, the survey found that only 51 percent of the mothers had breastfed for more than six months. The survey also found that a significant number of breastfeeding women (26 percent) thought the ideal time was less than six months. In fact, the most common reason why women stopped breastfeeding was because they felt their children had reached the age where it was no longer appropriate.
"There is no doubt that more education would motivate some mothers to breastfeed longer," said Liistro. "The survey found that women who had attended childbirth education classes were more likely to breastfeed longer than those who had not, which demonstrates the value of education in lengthening breastfeeding time."
Moms on the Go
The M.O.M. Survey asked nursing mothers about the public places where they fed their babies. Fifty-eight percent of the women polled had breastfed their children in the ladies room. "This may indicate that there is still discomfort by women at breastfeeding where others can see, or that the people around them are still expressing discomfort and do not want them to breastfeed in public," Liistro remarked. "This is another area where more education is needed in our society. In most parts of the world, this squeamishness about a totally natural female role is not an issue."