Breastfeeding - Why women stop

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When I gave birth twenty-something years ago, nobody really prepared me for what breastfeeding would be like. I have every intention of doing it, but was shocked to find out just how much it hurt. I ended up giving up pretty quickly because of that pain.

These days, mothers are better informed than I was, but a new study finds that many who give up on breastfeeding do so for the same reason I did. The study, from Brigham Young University, finds that while three out of four new moms start out breastfeeding, 36 percent of them have quit by the time baby is six months old.

Renata Forste, a professor in the sociology department at BYU, says the discomfort that comes with breastfeeding is a common reason for women giving up. "A lot of women don't understand the discomfort,'' says Dr. Forste. "They aren't necessarily prepared for that. There is sort of an expectation that it's a very natural process - bring the baby to your breast and it's very simple. But it's not. I think it's much more complicated than that. It requires a lot more support.''

She also notes that even though more women are being encouraged to breastfeed than ever before, the social support really isn't there. Returning to work or just trying to have a life outside of the home is difficult when you are trying to breastfeed. Especially when so many people seem to find feeding a baby in public to be unacceptable behavior.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.