Different lactation journeys can include chestfeeding, feeding, lactation support, pumping, etc
At the CCCN, we want to focus on Evidence-Based Information first. Evidence shows human milk when possible is usually best. When unable to offer human milk by choice or medical reasons then supplementing in a variety of ways is also beneficial. According to the CDC, in a national survey given between 2018 and 2019, the percentage of infants breastfed exclusively for 3 months is 46.9% (1). This means that a whole 53.1% of the population, over half of the people breastfeeding their children, explored other options. Either way, it is a personal decision based on individual circumstances that parents and caregivers will make.
There are many benefits to breastfeeding.
For starters, it is cost-effective as parents are seen to spend on average $1,200 to $2,000 on formula during their baby’s first year (2). This is not including other required supplies that are needed in feeding your child: like bottles, nipples, caps, rings, specialized formulas, and sanitization products. Breastmilk is also seen to have an array of health benefits for your baby. The antibodies and natural hormones that are found in your breastmilk are known to protect the baby from infections and diseases through infancy and into childhood. Breastfeeding is also a way for parents and their newborns to obtain a connection by maintaining physical contact, similar to the idea of skin to skin. This special type of contact is also known to have positive effects on the parent as this closeness promotes oxytocin levels to calm you and help to further connect with your child.
On the same token, breastfeeding can also be very difficult for you and your baby which is definitely not a rare occurrence. Sometimes a low milk supply, dehydration, nipple and breast shape or size might affect infant feeding. Additionally, when the baby experiences a difficult time latching properly, plugged ducts, fungal infections, or sore nipples can happen. The common frustrations and setbacks often influence let-downs and lower milk production. Overall, there are many occurrences that might impede breastfeeding due to the caregiver’s and baby’s specific situation. Because of this, there are many other options that you can explore to properly nourish your child.
If you are looking for further knowledge, options, and overall guidance, the CCCN has members who are lactation consultants, midwives, doulas, and childbirth educators that can assist and support families in reaching their postpartum and breastfeeding goals. Some of these include the CCCN’s Local Resources for Lactation Support, Online Resources for Lactation Support, and the Member Directory for Lactation Support. When it comes to lactation and your feeding journey, every individual has a unique and specific situation, so it is okay to ask for support to breastfeed, to try the different methods above, or a combination of them that fits the individual needs of the parent/caregiver and the baby.
More CCCN Members that can help with lactation and feeding support can be found here!
(1) Breastfeeding, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/ breastfeeding/data/facts.html
(2) Javier Simon, The Cost of Baby Formula, SmartAsset, https://smartasset.com/ financial-advisor/the-cost-of-baby-formula
Julianna La Coco, CCCN Intern 2021