Over 70% of new mums in Ireland regret ending their breastfeeding journeys too early
How did you find your breastfeeding journey?
With Ireland known for having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, it comes as no surprise then to learn that over half of Irish women who do choose to breastfeed their baby, end up finishing their breastfeeding journey prematurely.
This is according to research carried out with over 1,000 mothers in Ireland, which reveals that only 16 per cent of women who choose to breastfeed actually reach their breastfeeding goal, while only 13 per cent exceeded it and nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of mothers wished they had breastfed for longer than they did.
According to the research carried out by NUK, 30 per cent of women cited insufficient milk supply as their reason for finishing their breastfeeding earlier than planned, while 15 per cent said they found it too stressful and 26 per cent said they finished due to latching issues.
Of the women surveyed by NUK who decided not to breastfeed, or who tried to breastfeed but couldn’t continue, a total of 27 per cent said that the reason they ended their breastfeeding experience was because they tried but it just didn’t work out for them, while another 27 per cent said it was due to lack of support from their partner.
While mothers have certainly experienced the lack of ‘hands on’ support and a move from physical support groups to virtual since the pandemic first hit, the report revealed that 60 per cent of mothers admitted that Covid-19 and related restrictions requiring them to stay at home made it easier to breastfeed their baby.
When speaking about her own breastfeeding journey first time mum-to-be, nurse, and content creator Terrie McEvoy commented;
"While I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, I do have hopes to try to breastfeed my baby when she arrives later this year. Reading this report and seeing why mothers often don’t breastfeed, or end their breastfeeding journey before they really want to, motivates me to arm myself with as much knowledge as
I can about it in advance of baby’s arrival so that I’m well prepared. I’ll be looking for advice from experts as well as family and friends if I need to. I also think it’s really important for first time breastfeeding mums to know how to help their partner feel included too and start to create that support structure before baby arrives."
If you're having a difficult time breastfeeding speak with your midwife or doctor about support or help.
You can also find breastfeeding advice on the HSE website here.