What causes the dramatic drop in breastfeeding rates in the first 6 months? Lying.

84257279 - lies word cloud on a white background.

Breastfeeding initiation rates in the US are the highest they have been in nearly 50 years.

As this chart from the Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Breastfeeding demonstrates, the rise has been dramatic, tripling from 1970 to 2007:

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But you’ll also notice that breastfeeding rates fell off dramatically by 6 months both in 1970 and all the way through 2007. The number of women breastfeeding exclusively at 6 months is only a tiny fraction of those who had been breastfeeding at birth. The proportion of women breastfeeding at 12 months was only half the rate of women breastfeeding at 6 months.

Facing intense pressure, women who have no particular commitment to breastfeeding as well as those who have no intention to breastfeed, are forced to lie.

The most recent data I could find shows that from 2011 to 2015 79.2% of mothers initiated breastfeeding, 20% were exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months, and 27.8% of mothers were still offering some breastfeeding at one year. The dramatic drop off is common at all maternal ages, all ethnicities, and every education and economic level. College graduates have the highest breastfeeding rates across the board: 91.1% at birth, 27.7% exclusively at 6 months, and 40.3 offering some breastmilk at a year.

Lactation professionals look at these numbers and insist (without any evidence of any kind) that the dramatic drop off in breastfeeding rates is due to “lack of support” for breastfeeding.

I look at these rates and reach a very different conclusion: there’s a whole lot of lying going on.

The foundational lie is the insistence that nearly every woman (once she is properly “educated”) wants to breastfeed.

The truth is that aggressive breastfeeding promotion efforts have become the norm in industrialized countries led by poorly named Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative that isn’t remotely friendly to babies and ignores mothers altogether. Ugly tactics — locking up formula, making women sign consent forms for formula, forcing lactation consultants on everyone — have become standard practice. There is tremendous pressure on hospital staff to increase breastfeeding rates at discharge and that pressure is transferred unabated to mothers. In the face of that pressure, women who have no particular commitment to breastfeeding as well as those who have no intention to breastfeed, are forced to lie.

A piece in yesterday’s Nursing Times, Changing the conversation around breastfeeding, notes:

In the UK, 81% of women initiate breastfeeding at birth but within the first day, exclusive breastfeeding has dropped to 69% – and down again to less than 50% by the end of the first week.

…[W]hy are so many women who want to breastfeed stopping before they would choose?

I suspect that they didn’t want to breastfeed at all; they merely said they did in order to stop the endless harangues from midwives, nurses and lactation consultants. No one who truly intends to breastfeed drops it after only one day. They obviously were not committed to it in any meaningful way. They just said they wanted to breastfeed to get the staff off their backs.

Moreover, there’s no guarantee that the breastfeeding rates at 6 months and one year are accurate. They are the results of reports by women, women who know that it is more socially desirable to claim to be breastfeeding, therefore they are likely to be inflated. If that’s the case, the drop off in breastfeeding rates is even more stark than advocates claim.

The other lie beloved of lactivists is that the difference between breastfeeding success and failure is support for breastfeeding.

There has arguably never been more support for breastfeeding in the past 100 years yet breastfeeding rates still drop off dramatically over time. Judging by the graph I posted above, breastfeeding support makes no difference to breastfeeding rates. While breastfeeding rates at 6 months and 12 months have risen over time, that reflects the fact that more women initially decided to try breastfeeding. The proportion of women who stop between birth and 6 months remains nearly unchanged. That suggests that factors other than support are responsible for the dramatic drop off.

These factors include the intrinsic failure rate of breastfeeding (up to 15% of first time mothers will not produce enough breastmilk in the early days), pain, frustration and inconvenience. Moreover, nearly every woman knows many people who were formula fed and they turned out just fine. No matter how often and how loud lactivists blare the purported benefits of breastfeeding, it is pretty obvious that most of those benefits are illusory.

What explains the dramatic difference in extended breastfeeding between college graduates and everyone else? Of women without college degrees only approximately 20% are breastfeeding at one year while 40% of college graduates are still doing so. I suspect that both structural factors and priorities are responsible for the difference. The structural factors include access to maternity leave and jobs compatible with pumping. In addition, many women with college degrees have made reaching the one year mark of breastfeeding a priority; they are achievement oriented to begin with and breastfeeding to one year has been promoted to them as an achievement.

What do breastfeeding rates tell us about breastfeeding promotion efforts? They have been successful in increasing initial breastfeeding rates though a significant proportion of the increase is illusory since it represents women lying about their intentions. They indicate that ongoing breastfeeding support has little to nothing to do with breastfeeding rates. Though the absolute number of women breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months has risen, the proportion of those who initiate breastfeeding who are still breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months has not changed; the majority of women still quit.

We’ve spent millions of dollars promoting breastfeeding, but what do we have to show for it? Not much. Yes, breastfeeding rates have risen, though far less than it appears. There’s no evidence that it has saved lives (with the exception of extremely premature infants) and no evidence that it has saved money, let alone returned the investment.

We’ve conducted a massive social experiment and virtually none of the promised results have occurred. And we’ve turned new mothers into liars. That doesn’t sound like success to me.

  • Gæst

    This exactly. I exclusively breast fed my twins for four months and I was miserable at that point. They ate so often, and slept so little, I just couldn’t imagine going on. Then I introduced solids, and very quickly they began sleeping for longer stretches, so I continued to breastfeed another two months, but by six months I came to see that it really wasn’t necessary to keep breastfeeding, and I realized that I just didn’t want to keep going. I had to talk myself through all the lies I’d been told about IQ, obesity, “expensive” formula, etc., but six months was the point where I could think more clearly (probably due to getting more sleep!) and shortly after that I switched to formula. Because I wanted to.

  • AVet

    Thank you for your posts about breastfeeding! I recently found this website and I have been reading with great interest. I think I have been suffering of some “breastfeeding derangement” 🙂

    My daughter is soon 8 months old and I was really determined to EBF for 6 months and then continue breastfeeding to minimum one year, perhaps two (WHO recommendation). I read a lot before she was born and became convinced this is absolutely the best for my baby. And ofcourse I will do anything for her! Breastfeeding actually started really well, my milk came in and my daughter nursed really well. The problems started a couple days after her birth, when the midwife denied me any painmedication at all (I had a c-section). I went home and had to manage with only OTC painkillers. It was torture, I was in agony. I can’t even remember much from the first weeks of my daughters life, except the pain, me crying and breastfeeding “no matter what” and pumping to keep up the supply despite the horrible pain.

    I managed to continue with breastfeeding because I was so stubborn and so determined to be “a good mother”. But it was really stressful for me, I worried so much. I snapped at my partner and even had a tantrum when I thought he wasn’t “supporting breastfeeding” (he was). I was worried about how much my daughter grew, was she gaining the required 500 grams/month. All this stress and worrying when I should have just been happy about my baby!

    My daughter was EBF for almost 6 months, then I continued breastfeeding when she had some solid foods too. Until one month ago, when my father died very suddenly. I was so shocked and when I tried nursing, there was no milk for two days. My daughter got upset and cried, I got stressed and cried. I gave her some formula instead, because I was not going to starve her. When I started having milk again, I tried nursing a couple of times but my daughter was not very keen. I felt it was so stressful compared to just giving her a bottle. I didn’t have any mental energy left to do all the things to keep up my milk supply and get my daughter back to nursing. I felt “burned out” from breastfeeding. It was just too much for me.

    I pumped for a couple of weeks and then stopped completely. It was kind of a relief but also a big dissapointment. I feel like a huge failure, I haven’t told my friends at the mother groups I go to about it. I still cry every time I think about it or tell someone. I think I have really internalised the lactivists message that breastfeeding is superior = breastfeeding mothers are better mothers 🙁

    It has really helped me to read all your posts! I don’t know why I was so brainwashed about breastfeeding. I’m usually a critical thinker. But even now, I can’t completely get rid of the “bad mom” feeling and dissapointment that I failed. I think it is really awful that there is so much brainwashing and guilting going on! Taking advantage of mothers love for their babies and making them feel insecure. That is really ugly behaviour. It is difficult enough to take care of a newborn baby without all this pressure and guilt!

    Sorry about my long post! And thank you for this website!

  • Marie

    Many excellent points, but I would disagree with the statement that no woman who really wanted to breastfeed would quit after one day. I really thought I wanted to breastfeed, but it only took a few hours to find out just how painful it could be. (I rushed my 3 day old to the doctor in a panic because she was vomiting blood. Turns out my nipples were in such bad shape she was getting more blood than milk! And yes, I had lots of support.) I soldiered on for ten more weeks, but we both would have been better off if I had quit on day one like I wanted to that first night!

  • Tiffany Aching

    Slightly OT but I wondered where I could find reliable information about combo feeding. I got back to work 1 month ago (my baby is 4 month old) and even though I have the time and space to pump at work, it’s not the most convenient. Will I be still able to breastfeed him 2-3 times a day if I stop pumping during the day? Everything I read says it’s not likely bit then again they also say you shouldn’t supplement (I did) or give pacifiers (I did too) so…

    • Megan

      I know many women who successfully do what you propose. I would think it could be done.

      Ironically, by giving you info saying don’t supplement or give a paci, the likelihood that you’ll continue breastfeeding probably is less than if they’d give you honest info on combo feeding, do you think? That’s how it would be for me if things were presented in such black and white terms.

      • Tiffany Aching

        Yes! The information I had about breastfeeding seemed so biased that it made me very distrustful (and keep in mind that I am in France where lactivists have less influence). I was lucky I had found this blog long before I had my baby and I knew that I had to take it with tons of salt. It seems that there are many dogmas, backed by very little sound research, about breastfeeding. The midwives I have seen at the hospital where the most dogmatic (“you should / you shouldn’t”), while the nursery nurses where much more pragmatic (“try this, try that”). To be honest a lot of things I read about the whole breastfeeding experience were not true (especially the “omg people are horrible when you breastfeed in public” which made me very nervous the first time I did – in fact nobody gives a fuck, in my experience).

    • Kelly

      I had a friend who combo fed like that. She would send formula to day care and breast feed at home. It seemed to work for her but she had a good supply to begin with.

      • Tiffany Aching

        Thank you for your feedback, I didn’t produce enough at the beginning, so I had to supplement, but my supply caught up after a month or so, and I never struggle to provide enough milk to the daycare. So it seems doable ! Thank you again for your help.

    • meg

      I combi fed both my boys. My first stopped nursing when I went back to work and I pumped for a couple months and then stopped. He got mostly formula bc he was a voracious eater and I didn’t produce enough, but he got some breast milk for 7 months. My second was a preemie….he struggled with nursing st first and again, low supply, but we are still nursing at 12 months. He gets formula and table food, too. I stopped pumping at work after a month or two and my supply didn’t really change. Good luck:) if you do decide to pump at work, I’d recommend the Spectra. I liked it better than the Medela one.

      • Tiffany Aching

        Thank you so much, it’s very encouraging. I have the Spectra (the wireless one) and I like it very much; the lady from the website where I rented it told me that many of her customers, like you liked it better than the Medela.

    • Krista

      I totally did this, from about that same timeframe. I tried pumping for a bit and really I was as supported as I possibly could have been for that (private room for pumping /no loss of pay or need to make up the time), and I was fortunate enough to have a large supply. But honestly, pumping kind of sucked (for me, anyway) and so we started her on formula when I was away and I nursed when I was at home, and it didn’t seem to impact my supply at all. Worked for us. I just never understood the whole all or nothing mentality.

      • Tiffany Aching

        Thank you so much for your feedback! The “exclusive” thing baffles me too – I really don’t get why it should make a dramatic difference from the minute you give a drop of formula. I have lots of support too, at work and at the daycare (it’s more work for the ladies at the daycare but they are super supportive) so I’m trying not to feel guilty for giving pumping up…

        • Krista

          There is nothing to feel guilty about, nor do you need an excuse. Pumping should certainly be supported if women want to, but it shouldn’t be an expectation. It wasn’t lack of support that stopped me. I just didn’t want to anymore because for me it just wasn’t worth the extra effort involved when formula was perfectly fine.

          • Tiffany Aching

            Thank you! The fact is, I have so much support (apparently contrary to every breastfeeding mother who writes on the internet) that I find it a tiny bit annoying, especially when people congratulate me for doing it, which is done with the best intentions but I find slightly patronizing (I am not waiting for my parenting cookie) and obviously very inaccurate regarding the real benefits of breastfeeding.

        • J.B.

          I pumped for both kids, with major problems with the 2nd. Starting one bottle of formula a night around 6 months (and weaning at 10.5 months due to B.I.T.I.N.G) was essential for my sanity, but would put me on the “not exclusive”. So why do it at all???

          • J.B.

            Oh, let me add to that – whatever you want to do is fine. Kiddo is extremely healthy although a super picky eater at 4 and is either Jekyll or Hyde depending on the moment of the day 🙂

          • Tiffany Aching

            I was kind of surprised to by the look on the physician’s face and the “SO he’s not exclusively breastfed anymore!” he uttered when I told him my son was mostly breastfed but for the 3 bottles of formula he had at the daycare on Mondays (I won’t pump during the weekends, thank you very much). I don’t really see what’s the medical relevance of the distinction in this case – I would think that the only reason to take into account the fact that a baby is exclusively breastfed is that you have to watch his weight gain more closely because he might not be getting enough…

    • fiftyfifty1

      It’s unpredictable. Some women can go long stretches between emptying the breast and continue to have a supply. Other women will dry up with the exact same schedule. It’s a bit like cattle. Dairy cow breeds continue to produce large amounts being milked with a pump only 2x/day. Cattle not bred for milk production (beef cattle) will dry up unless a calf is kept alongside them to empty them often. It’s hard to know which you will be without trying.

      • Tiffany Aching

        Thank you. I guess it’s completely like cattle indeed. I have a work thing at the end of the month which will make it difficult to pump, I guess I won’t bother and see what happens from there.

    • MelJoRo

      Just wanted to jump in that we have a Woo Free Breastfeeding, Pumping, and Combo Feeding Group over on Facebook. Feel free to join us with your questions or for some (evidence based and non-judgemental) support.

      • Tiffany Aching

        Thanks! I will certainly join!

  • Who?

    So this is completely off topic but I just read it and had to share.

    Turns out that in some US states, where a same-sex couple has a child the parent who is not biologically related to the child needs to take steps to ensure their rights in relation to that child, by going through an adoption process. However, they can’t do this in advance of the birth as the child does not yet exist for the purpose of being adopted.

    And yet in many of those states, it is hard to get an abortion as the unborn is treated as a person with rights that need protecting, even before they could survive if born.

    I thought this was interesting, this is the article that got me thinking: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/06/lgbt-parent-law-adoption/562190/

    • Daleth

      That can be a problem but it depends how they have the child and whether they’re married to each other.

      A gay male couple that has a child through surrogacy will usually, if they have competent legal representation and live in a state where surrogacy is legal (most states), both be considered the child’s parents from birth or within a few days of birth.

      A lesbian couple that has a child through one woman getting artificially inseminated should both be considered parents from birth if they’re legally married, but they need to talk to a lawyer in their state well in advance in order to make sure of that, and to take steps to secure the other wife’s parental rights if marriage alone isn’t enough.

      A lesbian couple that has a child through IVF with one wife’s egg being made into an embryo that is then implanted in the other wife should both be considered parents from birth if they have competent legal representation and jump through all the necessary legal hoops to prove they’re both biological parents.

      Long story short… same-sex couples planning to have kids need to talk to a lawyer first to make sure they’ll both have rights.

      • Who?

        Thanks that’s all interesting-perhaps this couple didn’t get far enough across the homework early on.

  • swbarnes2

    These factors include the intrinsic failure rate of breastfeeding (up to 15% of first time mothers will not produce enough breastmilk in the early days),

    This paper says 44% of first time mothers won’t produce in the first 3 days, which is about 15% of all mothers

    https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/92/3/574/4597439

  • WonderWoman

    On one of the websites promoting breastfeeding in my country there is now a stem cell calculator. By entering the date when they started to breastfeed women can count how many stem cells they have given their infant 😀

    • Young CC Prof

      Stem cells from someone 20-40 years older, with correspondingly shorter telomeres, who isn’t genetically compatible.

      Fortunately for the baby, that’s not actually real.

    • Charybdis

      Do they not understand how digestion works? Because those stem cells will be digested and broken down just like any other cell that is consumed.

      • WonderWoman

        Nope, the leading lacticvist in my country says that many different cells – not only stem cells – present in breastmilk survive.

        • Charybdis

          Then the leading lactivist needs to learn how to science.

          Or at least how passive immunity and digestion work.

  • LaMont

    With all the “religion is a get out of rules-and-regulations-free” stuff going on now (see: gay cakes), I had an idea. I’m going to start a religion based on the Vorkosigan Saga (hey, it’s “some books I like”, which is a lot of what fundamentalist religion looks like). In this religion, risking a child’s life in preventable or treatable illness or violence is the ultimate unforgivable sin, followed by denying women bodily autonomy. Hopefully, if it’s a “religious objection,” that means that when I have kids, I can get access to the means for sustaining their lives? (Seriously, fellow VS readers, tell me a Vorkosigan-based religion wouldn’t kick ass)

    • Roadstergal

      I think the Satanic Temple would actually take this one on. One of the major tenets is that the right to bodily self-determination is inviolate. They’re using that one to challenge abortion restrictions and schools that allow corporal punishment, but baby-feeding choice should fall under that umbrella, too.

  • AnotherOor

    This seems wise. I said I wanted to combo-feed and that didn’t seem to be enough. One pushy nurse kept “forgetting” I never intended to EBF and offering “support”, despite that this was not my first rodeo and I didn’t need or want support. Then she would say “oh right, you WANTED to combo feed”.

  • CSN0116
  • AnotherOor

    Exclusive breastfeeding still at 6 months? As in, no pablum, rice cereal, purees etc? Frankly I’m surprised the numbers are not lower.

    I don’t know why the assumption is that because I want to breastfeed my baby, I’m driven to attempt EBF at all, let alone EBF at 6 months or 12 months. That is sheer lunacy.

    • demodocus

      I think a lot of people use EBF when they really mean baby only drinks milk, but eats other stuff. There’re always the exceptions.

      I certainly was not feeding my 6 month olds nothing but milk. Those last few days where I still gave my daughter a bottle for one of her meals I needed to refill a 10 oz bottle.

    • Roadstergal

      Not to mention that 4-6 months seems to be the time to introduce food allergens if you want to decrease the risk of food allergy. Why push for EBF past 6 months as a goal at all??

  • Tbird

    That’s a good idea. I’m pregnant with number 2, due in December l. I plan on bringing formula in my hospital bag to avoid this again. All the hospitals in my area are “baby friendly” so I can’t avoid it, but I am delivering at a different hospital. I also breastfed my first until almost 16 months, no thanks to the lactation consultants.

  • Christine O’Hare

    This “exclusive” thing is so ridiculous. And fails to take into account the many, many factors outside of a mother’s “will or intent” to breastfeed. NICU time, mom’s health, supply, baby’s appetite, mom’s work schedule, etc.
    I had a pretty ideal setup (especially by US standards) of having the desire, the insurance coverage, the family support, 12 weeks off work, a workplace that gives me the time and space to pump…and LO still not exclusively on breastmilk. That shipped sailed about an hour after birth when despite her latching and nursing right away, was still ravenous, so hubby gave her a bottle of formula. And she got a bottle of formula the next couple nights as well. Just enough to get by until my milk was fully in. Then at 5 months LO’s appetite increased again and is getting formula supplementation again – oh the horror (/s). Baby forgot to read the manual that says she is only supposed to need/want the exact amount of milk my boobs can produce. Oops.

    • AnotherOor

      This is how I’ve fed both my babies. But by 4 months we were introducing rice cereal etc. I really don’t get the EBF push. Occasionally pumping or nursing is not practical for whatever reason and she gets a bottle of formula. Oh, the horror.

      • MelJoRo

        That is us too. I don’t technically need to supplement, but why would I stress about how much milk Dad needs when I do an errand (since baby rarely takes bottles I have no idea) when I can just leave whatever milk I have and know he can make up the difference with formula? And since we actually follow the CDC guidelines for tossing breastmilk baby has started to feed from, we toss a lot of milk. Sometimes if I am not sure how hungry baby is I would rather make some formula and toss that if he doesn’t eat it. Not gonna lie, the coupons the formula company keeps sending make this even easier. We can keep the rather expensive RTF bottles around the house to supplement with and I never have to pay full price….this probably makes me a weak mother though, who has been influenced by the evil formula companies.

    • BeatriceC

      None of mine would meet the exclusive threshold either, as they were all NICU babies and got some amount of formula and/or TPN before discharge. Middle kid was also weaned to formula right at 6 months because my supply dried up almost overnight when I got pregnant with the youngest.

  • mythsayer

    This is totally off topic, but it’s sad news. Walker Hayes, a country singer (never heard of him, but I dont listen to country) just cancelled a show(s?) because his baby died. His statement said she was born at the hospital, but he inclusion of that (saying specifically she was born at the hospital) made me wonder…and yup, he and his wife were planning a home birth (their first one).

    He and his wife have 6 kids already. He is 38, I don’t know how old she is. No other info about csections or anything…that’s all the articles said – just that they have 6 kids and Because she has super quick births, they decided to have a homebirth this time around.

    No idea what happened…tragic no mater what. Just thought I’d share.

    http://tasteofcountry.com/walker-hayes-wife-baby-home-birth/

  • CSN0116

    What’s with “exclusive”? So babies eating baby foods/other foods prior to 6 months cannot qualify as exclusively breast fed? Even if the only milk they’re getting is breast milk? Many babies will start complementary foods before 6 months. Seems a stupid measuremt.

    • Steph858

      Well, that depends. Of course, every effort should be made to keep baby on Liquid Gold Only for as long as possible, but some particularly large and/or hungry babies may require early weaning. In such cases, the mother may still be able to count her baby as being ‘exclusively breastfed’, providing the following conditions are met:

      – Baby-Led Weaning/Finger foods only. No spoon-feeding of mushy pseudo-soup allowed.
      – All baby food must be homemade. No store-bought jars of premade baby food.
      – All ingredients must be fresh and organic, of course. Ideally bought from Whole Foods or a Farmer’s Market. Any mums who are even considering buying frozen/processed food from the supermarket are beyond help.
      – Every meal must be arranged into some kind of picture/smiley face. An example is below. https://realfood.tesco.com/media/images/Tomato-and-vegetable-risotto-facesl-e6667ecd-4427-4867-8a8d-1bd2d1a8b09a-0-1400×919.jpg

      Any mum who just spoonfeeds her baby a jar of pre-blended CHEMICALS is a failure and will be lumped in with all the formula feeders, regardless of her breastfeeding status prior to beginning weaning.

      (/sarcasm, in case anyone is in doubt).

      • demodocus

        I don’t even do that for my kids’ birthdays. I’m taking a break right now from -doing- anything so I can get enough energy to bake Girlbard’s birthday cake in a few minutes. Also need to wrap a couple presents. (Boybard already gave her his present and she’s wearing her new bubble guppy shirt, because Guppy!)

      • Sarah

        Those bird plates are just darling, to be fair. I think I’m going to make myself a salad like that later!

      • crazy mama, PhD

        I’m so over Baby-Led Weaning. It’s one of those things that starts with a good idea (offer baby a variety of table foods) and takes it to a ridiculous purity-based extreme (avoid purées entirely!).

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      So babies eating baby foods/other foods prior to 6 months cannot qualify as exclusively breast fed?

      This is it. Completely.
      I’ve asked it a zillion times before, but why the insistence that 6 mo must be “exclusive” breast feeding?

      Our kids were both eating at least rice cereal by 6 months. It was made with expressed breast milk, but rice cereal nonetheless. By their measure, that means my kids were breastfeeding failures.

      My kids were combo fed, but didn’t quit nursing until they were 9 – 10 mos. Why shouldn’t they be considered a success?

      • The Kids Aren’t AltRight

        It’s only a success if their mother was made to suffer.

    • Who?

      It’s like woo. Oh, you use that supplement? Not this, obviously superior one I’m now selling? Well, you are doing it wrong. Or exercise. Oh, you do this cardio/yoga/whatever the hell. Not this superior one I’m involved with. Well, you’re wasting your time.

      Rinse and repeat.

      Your baby had a drop of formula in hospital? Ah well never mind that s/he is now happy, rich and wildly successful at his/her chosen life and vocation, I am still a better mother and my child is still better than yours.

      Fifty years of feminism and so many women are finding ways to do what it is getting harder and harder for men to get away with ie making women feel like inferior failures.

    • Charybdis

      Well, “food before one is just for fun” don’tcha know. *eyeroll*

      • Kelly

        Please tell that to my child who was eating a whole peanut butter sandwiches at 11 months. She was a huge eater and the forty ounces of breast milk and then formula was not cutting it for her.

      • Mimc

        I ate an entire cheese burger (cut into small pieces) at 8 months.

  • MaineJen

    Could it have *anything* to do with the fact that most of us have to go back to work after 6 weeks or less, and pumping at work is expensive, time consuming and a pain in the a$$? I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    It certainly is not from lack of ‘support.’ Anyone who has been near a baby friendly hospital has had more breastfeeding ‘support’ than they know what to do with.

    • Tbird

      No that can’t be it! It’s the “lack of support”! (Sarcasm)

      I gave birth to my first 18 months ago in a “baby friendly” hospital. It was anything but. My baby went straight to NICU for 4 hours of observation for respiratory distress following an emergency c-section. They did not give my baby formula until she was three hours old because I had said I wanted to breastfeed and they were waiting for my “consent”. I was in the recovery room and had no idea they weren’t feeding her.

      When my baby left NICU after the observation period it was after midnight and I could not get the baby to latch. The nurse was less than useless and would not give me formula.

      A few hours later baby’s blood sugar continued to drop and baby went back to NICU for four days with a diagnosis of hypoglycemia: 100% preventable had I been given some formula. Baby also ended up with jaundice. And this is at a hospital with lots of “support”. My child suffered needlessly and we were separated for the first days of her life.

      The irony is that I’m an effort to promote exclusive breastfeeding, my baby ended up being exclusively formula fed in the NICU to regulate her blood sugar. OOPS.

    • mythsayer

      Well, it’s be interesting to see the difference between 6 weeks and 6 months in this study. This one says the rates fall of dramatically after 6 months. I wonder if there was also a dramatic drop off at 6 weeks, too, and then another drop off at 6 months.

      • Just me

        I suspect the 6 mo drop off has at least partly to do with babies sleeping thru the night. My milk supply adjusted accordingly after I sleep trained my baby and I sure as hell was not going to be getting up every 3 hours to pump or take BF “supplements”, etc.

        I also think maybe the new moms weren’t necessarily lying about wanting to EBF to get people off their back. Some might have, but others probably were sincere until reality set in (exhausted, feel like shit (especially if you have ppd which 1st time) moms don’t suspect will happen to them) baby won’t latch, supply not coming in, etc). I think new moms have been led to believe it won’t be that hard so most probably think sure, I’ll do it. Plus, I know I was naive about just how hard feeding every few hours would be.

    • rox123

      Hell I didn’t have to go to work after 6 weeks and pumping still felt like tedious task.