Recent data from the CDC shows that 3 out of every 4 mothers in the U.S. start out breastfeeding their children. But the percentage of mothers breastfeeding exclusively at three months drops to 33%, and plummets to 13.3% by six months.
What this tells us is that many women want to breastfeed and are trying to do so, but they face barriers. Maybe they’re not getting the support they need. Maybe they’re not hearing a ton of great examples. Maybe they don’t know other breastfeeding mamas. Whatever the case, they data shows that the vast majority of women give up on exclusive breastfeeding before the six-month mark.
This is where you come in
If you overcame breastfeeding challenges early on only to find that breastfeeding became easier and – gasp – even joyful as the months went on, please share your strength and hope in the comments below. New moms (like me) need to hear this!
Many friends have already told us as much. Here are quotes from natural mamas on my Facebook page.
- Aimee Nemeyer
Sticking to it is key. It does get easier. I promise!!!
- Tara Dukaczewicz
Stick with it, it will get better. in fact, at 7 months, my baby and i are pros. we are so in sync and i love it. i produce exactly how much he needs. i hardly ever leak or get engorged. we both sleep great. it’s so cute how he finds me in the middle of the night w/out waking up. and because we are so used to each other there is no crying or screaming. it is such a peaceful relatioship!
- Emily and Dustin Horton
I think the most important factors that made breastfeeding successful for me were drug-free childbirth (so that I was of clear mind and immediately able to bond w/ my babies after birth), being able to stay at home, constantly with baby for the first year, and not giving up due to persistent encouragement from midwives/sister/partner (because breastfeeding is often difficult at first for some moms/babies, but if they just stick with it, it will work out).
- Yvette Brooks
It became natural and easier each time. What made the entire experience possible (nursing a little over a year all 3 times) was being able to consider the whole experience as divine, the whole household preparing for it, keep everything peaceful and positive and thoughtful.
- Marion Magiera Lacroix
I think a great piece of advice would be to never quit on your worst day. There were certainly tough days but the joy I get from the bf relationship with my children is worth any amount of difficulty.
Here are other encouraging comments from my top 10 tips for breastfeeding entry:
You’ll want to breastfeed for LONGER than a year. Trust me. It does get easier. I started off the same way as you and went on to nurse my first for 2 years and am on month 10 with my 2nd. I would say it took me at least 9 weeks to start to love it. My biggest tip was surrounding myself with people to motivate me–husband, my mom who breastfed 2 babies. They kept me going and kept me away from the formula Good Luck!
It definitely will get better. I nursed my first till he was two, and am currently nursing my 2nd (he’s 11wks). I had a breast reduction 8yrs ago and was told i would never be able to nurse my babies! When i had my first, they told me to just stuff him full of formula but i went to a breastfeeding clinic for help and it was great ! Success! It is tiring at the beginning and you’re exhausted, But it is soooooo worth it in the end! This time I also had problems with the latch and every baby is different. Good luck!
It gets easier with time! I also nursed my first until she was two, even after blistered nipples in the begining from an improper latch. We fixed it ourselves from The Baby Book, Dr Sears as there was no lactation consultant at the hospital on the weekends. My second is three and a half months and it has been smooth sailing. So good that she completely refuses a bottle of breast milk! I love the closeness and knowing im doing my best for them!
You get your routine with time and it does become easier just because you are used to it. If you can deliver naturally you can definitely nurse for a year, it is less of a commitement. I exclusively nursed my twins for 2 1/2 years and the only pointer that I have is use the pump as much as you can. I did have to have a lot more milk then average mom but I pumped and served a bit also (when they were a bit older). That way my husband was able to take one of the night feedings and I could go grocery shopping without worry about kids getting hungry. My freezer was full of milk so when the kids’ needs dramatically increased I was prepared before my body was and therefor not too stressed out about them going hungry.