Both the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said that breastfeeding your baby is one of the best things that you can do for them. It has been known that breastfeeding provides a lot of health benefits, including giving your baby the right nutrients they need for optimal growth, as well as a decreased risk of certain cancers for their mothers.
That is precisely the reason why a lot of mothers (4 out of 5, to be exact) are breastfeeding their babies until the first six months. However, the number of mothers who are nursing their babies up to one year has declined dramatically over the years.
The reason why they’re ditching traditional breastfeeding in favor of using baby milk bottles is the fact that breastfeeding is actually quite painful. In today’s article, I will shine some light on this issue, mainly because I feel that no one really talks about it.
Why the Sudden Drop?
The number of new mothers who breastfeed their babies after six months has dropped considerably over the years. What could be the reason for such? Well, I happen to have some possible reasons.
Although doctors agree that breastfeeding is always best for babies up to two years, the actual feeding part is hard to do. Sure, skin-to-skin contact may improve the baby-and-mother bonding, but the nipple and breast pain associated with the activity may be unbearable for most mothers.
In addition, some advocates actually question the validity of such statements, saying that breastmilk alone may not provide all of the nutrients a baby needs when they grow up. Solely giving them breastmilk without giving them the proper nutrients found in solid foods may hamper their growth potential.
If anything, nonprofit organizations advocate that although breastmilk can still be fed to babies up to two years of age, it should be supplemented with other nutrient sources; even if it means that they will have to try formula milk for that to happen.
Signs You Need to Be Aware Of
There are certain signs that would tell you that your baby might not be getting enough breastmilk while you are nursing them. If they exhibit any of these, then you may need to consult with their pediatrician:
- When Your Baby is Too Sleepy to Eat- It is important to note that babies, by their very nature, may sleep a lot as it is part of their growing process. However, if they typically sleep a lot during breastfeeding time (and they do this often), it might be caused by something which is why it is best that you contact their doctor immediately
- ‘Flutter Sucking’- Your baby needs to latch on your chest so that they are able to suck the milk out of your breasts. That being said, if they only suck on your breast without swallowing it all, then they’re probably not latching on to your properly. If that is the case, you may want to hire a lactation expert to help guide you through the entire process.
- Baby is Still Hungry After Feeding- After feeding, your baby should be happy and content (with smiles and all). However, if they are frantic and unsettled, it may be a sign that they’ve not been fed properly. You may either increase their milk (or solids if they are eating already) but if you feel that they’ve eaten a lot and still exhibit such behavior, consult their pediatrician immediately.