Barriers to Breastfeeding:
It’s no secret that breastmilk is the perfect food for your baby. And why wouldn’t it be? After all, nature literally creates its own natural formula that’s delivered through a mother’s body.
Not only does breast milk contain just the right amount of nutrients to help your baby grow healthy and strong, but it is also known for being gentle on your baby’s developing stomach and body in ways that formulas typically are not. In addition to this, breast milk is also known for boosting your baby’s immunity which helps fight off illness and infection.
Despite these well-cited benefits, many women still opt for formulas over breastfeeding. To better understand why, it is important to take a closer look at the barriers to breastfeeding:
1. Misconceptions About Formula:
Many new parents are misinformed and miseducated on formula, namely due to the belief that formula is just as good as breastmilk. Many women are also unaware of the risks associated with formula and the hazards of improper use.
2. The Return to Work or School:
Many women feel like they need to give up breastfeeding when returning to work or school. This is either because they are not educated on the use of breastmilk pumping or feel like they cannot juggle the responsibilities of pumping, along with a new baby, family responsibilities, and the additional stress of work or school.
3. Wanting to Rely On Family Support:
Many women give up breastfeeding because they find bottle-feeding easier. This is especially true amongst new mothers who seek additional support by asking grandparents, siblings, or other family members to bottle-feed the baby on occasion. By sharing the responsibility via bottle feeding, less pressure is placed on the new mother.
4. Lack of Healthcare Support:
Although women’s bodies are naturally built for breastfeeding, establishing a breastfeeding routine can be difficult - particularly without guidance on things like latching, positioning, and preventing engorgement.
5. Difficulty with Nipple Pain:
Many new mothers suffer from nipple pain as a result of breastfeeding. Unfortunately, lack of education around what nipple pain is, whether it is normal or not, and how to treat it, causes many women to give up breastfeeding in favor of formulas.
6. Body-Image Issues:
Body image issues and lack of confidence can all contribute to negative feelings towards breast feeding. Body image issues can come from a number of reasons. For example, nipple misshaping can occur from breastfeeding. This can result in the mother being discouraged and embarrassed to continue with breastfeeding.
While there are many reasons, both personal and medical, why a women may choose not to breastfeed, we chose to focus on the above barriers. These barriers can be addressed through breast feeding aids (such as nipple shields, pumps, and correctors), as well as educational materials such as self-help books and breast feeding classes.