CDC: Most Moms Stop Breastfeeding Earlier Than They Predict

Most mothers who say they plan to breastfeed do so for a shorter period of time than they anticipate, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  MSNBC has more:

Roughly half of the women in the new study said before they delivered they planned to breast-feed exclusively for at least three months, the CDC researchers report Monday in Pediatrics. But only a third of those women actually achieved their goal.

“The one that shocks me is the fact that 42 percent stopped in the first month,” lead author Cria Perrine, an epidemiologist in the CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, tells And about a third of those women had abandoned plans to exclusively breast-feed by the time they took their baby home from the hospital.

“To me, this isn’t about the individual women,” Perrine says. “This to me says we as a society are not supporting mothers to feed their infants the way they want to.”

Image: Breastfeeding mom, via Shutterstock.

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  1. by LoveMyBaby

    On June 5, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I know when I was at the hospital they made me do supplemental feedings with formula. My son had jaundice and had lost some weight. I used a tube with a syringe that when to a nipple shield on top of my breast to make it as natural as possible. The truth is, feeding your baby formula is SOOO much easier than breastfeeding, less time consuming, and way more convenient when you are our of the home. I am still breastfeeding, this is my first child, but it has been because I was determined to do it. It hasn’t been easy. I think we as a society want and expect things to be easy. Well, breastfeeding in neither. It is a wonderful bonding experience and it helped me get back done to my pre-pregnancy weight within 5 months with no dieting or exercise, so it has its benefits.
    It is so much better for the baby than formula. I wish more Moms would breastfeed.

  2. by Amanda

    On June 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I exclusively breastfed my first child for 13 months, he weaned himself, but I would have kept BFing as long as he wanted to! I did have some pain at first, he was tongue tied but by the 2nd month everything was smooth and I felt nothing! I now am breastfeeding my 2nd child and he was tongue tied as well I had severe pain, and mastitis in both breast but I was determined to stick with it! We are now at the 2 month point and all the pain and discomfort has subsided and it feels totally natural! Personally I think it is easier to not have to worry about bottles and mixing formula, when you have a hungry baby he doesn’t have to wait, you are always ready. I have already lost all my pregnancy weight, and both my children are healthy! I keep seeing people saying it’s disguating or scandalous to BF in public, and that makes me so sad that the most natural thing since mankind was created disgusts some people! We definitley need more support and less discouragement!

  3. by E

    On June 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Trust me I tried. First was an emergency c-section and due to medical issues on both sides, I wasn’t able to attempt breastfeeding until she was a week old, and pumped for 6mo because I was never able to get her to latch, but she ended up getting mostly formula. I exclusively breastfed my second for 4mo until I was forced to stop by CPS over some false allegations. I plan to breastfeed my next baby as long as the child wants to, and hoping it finally works out the way it’s supposed to… third time’s the charm, right? Keep trying ladies, find a support group, find a lactation consultant, find donated milk, something…. World Health Organization (WHO) even says formula should be a last resort after *everything* else. Yes it keeps babies alive like anything edible will keep an adult alive, but it is not even close to being as *healthy* as breastmilk. These first years especially are key building blocks for lifetime health, please don’t give up… motherhood was never meant to be easy, but it’s more than worth it.

  4. by Samantha

    On June 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t understand the desire to feed your child anything other than breastmilk. My son is almost 4 months old and has not had a drop of formula. I have everything he needs right here so why should I rely on a big company to feed him? Do what you want but the benefits to breastfeeding outweigh the hardship of the first weeks.

  5. by Sam

    On June 5, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    Formula feeding is not easier! How can cleaning, sterilizing, preparing, heating, carrying bottles and formula when out be easier than having perfect temp, always ready to go breastmilk on hand as soon as baby wants or needs it. I find it mind boggling that people seem to think bottle feeding is easier. Ok, so some women have traumatic experiences with breastfeeding. But why I ask? Surely if breastfeeding was the norm and women were supported in the right way and made feel 100% comfortable about feeding their child breastmilk there would be less formula fed babies. It is ridiculous that western cultures put such a negative stigma on breastfeeding. Hello, it’s natural. Just the same as falling pregnant & givin birth. Women wouldn’t have breasts that produce milk if we weren’t supposed to feed our children. And yes, I have breastfed all three of my children. I am still feeding my youngest son now at 14 months old. I feed him whenever he wants & I don’t care if it is in a public place. It is not only my right, but my duty as a mother to provide the best possible milk source to my child. A lot of people say things to me like “oh are you STILL feeding him” or “when are you going to get him off it (breastmilk)” my response is always “yes I am still feeding him. Why wouldn’t I? & I’ll feed him for as long as he wants me to.” it’s impossible to force the breast onto a toddler. So when he is ready to stop, he will simply stop asking for it. Also the human body is incapable of suckling on the breast properly after the age of 7 years. It’s a real shame when women are not supported in their choice to breastfeed.

  6. by Sally

    On June 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Our society definitely does not support breastfeeding. As a first time mother I read all the literature and spoke to friends who were breastfeeding and committed myself to doing it. I was doing great for the first 3 months then I started working and the battles began. Now some background info I work in the healthcare field so you’ld think that my environment would be more supportive–not so. Initially it was ok. My coworkers were happy to have me back and I was happy to be back. But then started the odd looks when I would go to pump. Initially I pumped 3 times in a 12 hour shift but as my son got older I only had to do it once a shift( starting at 5 months). Comments I recieved ranged from “You’re still doing that?” to flat out,” you better get him on a bottle before he stays on until he’s 5!” Someone actually said that to me. Now this is an environment were my coworkers work in healthcare and know about the benefits of breastfeeding etc. I cannot imagine what other women are facing in the workplace. Laws are one thing but our culture is flat out hostile towards breastfeeding. My son is 11 months, still breastfeeding but weaning. I don’t think I would have lasted as long without a supportive family and friends. Until we work to actively change our culture breastfeeding will ALWAYS be an uphill battle for mothers.

  7. by SSS

    On June 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Seems like culture – work & societal – is a big factor. I live in a southeast asian environment where it’s the opposite. Many moms breastfeed. & not just that, when strangers approach baby & me & ask what she’s on & finds out am b/feeding, they always give a positive response. Breastfeeding in public is also okay, the men would just move themselves or turn away to give the mom privacy.

    I’ve been breastfeeding our first child for 6 months now, with no major problems. She had some trouble latching on the first week or so, but just stay with it…. Sometimes ppl forget that it’s as much a learning process for baby as it is for mom. I learned to hand express from YouTube which helped a lot during those engorgement moments. Didn’t have the luxury of a lactation consultant or prenatal class, but with all manners of resources online I did fine.

    I feel it is important to not blame the mother for giving up b/feeding, but look deeper into the cause & give her support. Especially for her next child!

  8. by Angela

    On June 8, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I think the whole formula vs. breastfeeding debate needs to stop. We are all mothers who want the best for our children. We should support each other instead of putting everyone who is different from us down. It is terrible. Everyone has their own reasons for everything they do, but we all have the same ultimate goal: to love and take care of our children.

  9. by NewMomma

    On June 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    I agree with Angela’s comment. Whether you decide to breastfeed or not the most important thing is that you take care of your child. I breastfeed my son for 10 weeks and I would have continued had my milk come in better. He began to lose weight despite my efforts of co-sleeping, feeding every 1.5 hours, taking supplements, and pumping in between feedings. Sometimes you just can’t do it but now he is a happy healthy 8 month old and I’m glad I had the option of giving him formula.