Why Do Women Stop Breastfeeding?

(November 24, 2010)

Research has shown that many women stop breastfeeding a few weeks or even a few days after delivery. It has also been seen that there are several advantages of breastfeeding, so why do women stop breastfeeding? There may be one or more reasons for women to stop breastfeeding and it is important to understand them so that you can try to find methods to continue breastfeeding your child if possible. 
Breast feeding can cause a change in the size and shape of the woman’s breasts. Many women may worry about this and therefore prefer not to breast feed their baby. Some women stop breastfeeding toddlers if they need to take prescription medication as this could affect the quality of their breast milk. While it is true that breast milk is affected by certain medications, it would be better to find out from your doctor if the medication you are on will affect your child. Furthermore, if your medications will affect your breast milk, you can ask the doctor for alternate medications. Make sure that you only make decisions regarding medications after consulting your doctor.  

Sometimes, women stop breastfeeding if they experience sore or painful nipples caused by breastfeeding. However, this problem can be treated quite easily and so you need not stop breastfeeding your baby. Make sure that you only use creams and ointments that your doctor suggests. Work commitments are another common factor that causes women to stop breastfeeding. Many women have to go back to work when their maternity leave gets over, and thus consider it wiser to stop breastfeeding earlier and gradually switch to infant formula. Most companies provide only 6 to 8 weeks of maternity leave, leaving these mothers with limited choices. In such a case, the mother can make sure that she expresses breast milk so that it can be fed to her baby during the course of the day while she is at work.

One of the most prevalent and common reasons why women stop breastfeeding is that they feel that the quantity of milk that they produce is not sufficient and that their baby is not getting enough. Some also feel that since breast milk is thinner the baby’s nutritional needs are not being met. They, therefore, switch to infant formula thinking that it it is a superior nutritional option for their baby’s growth.

Importance of breastfeeding:
While breastfeeding has many emotional benefits and brings about closer bonding between mother and baby, it also has many physical and chemical benefits. Breast milk is specially formulated to satisfy the baby’s needs. It is rich in vitamins, besides containing viral and bacterial anti-bodies which protect the baby against infections. It also has an immuno-globin, which coats the lining of the baby’s intestines and protects the baby from allergies. Breastfed infants have been known to be healthier, and suffer less from gastro-intestinal disorders and infections of the ear and upper respiratory tract.

Helpful tips:
Do not worry unnecessarily that your baby is not getting enough milk, even if your baby seems fussy and does not seem to feed for long intervals. Don’t expect your baby to feed for 20 minutes at 3 hourly intervals. Just relax and enjoy the time you spend with your baby.

Submitted by J on November 24, 2010 at 05:46

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