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Why Do Women Stop Breastfeeding?

The December 2005 issue of Pediatrics presents an important study that looks at reasons why women stop breastfeeding.

The study looked at data over 2 years (2000 and 2001) with the intent to discover:

1. If there are specific periods during which nursing moms are especially vulnerable to giving up breastfeeding.

2. Major reasons why women stop breastfeeding.

3. Whether there is or isn't a relationship between pre-delivery intentions and actual breastfeeding behaviours.


32 percent of women chose not to breastfeed at all.

4 percent started breastfeeding, but stopped within the first week.

13 percent stopped breastfeeding with the first month.

51 percent continued breastfeeding for greater than 4 weeks.

Younger women with lower than average socioeconomic status were most likely to stop breastfeeding within the first month.

Reasons for stopping with breastfeeding included:
* Sore nipples
* Inadequate milk supply
* Infant having difficulties
* The perception that the infant was not getting enough milk

There's no question that our society as a whole has to do a much better job of educating new parents about the benefits of breastfeeding and what to expect during the first few weeks of a baby's life.

I've asked my wife to write an article on this topic, since she knows much more about it than I do, and I'll post it here or include it as a featured article on our main site as soon as it's ready.

Update on December 3, 2006: Here is my wife' article on this topic: Breastfeeding Tips For First-Time Moms


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