July 27, 2009

Many barriers to moms’ breastfeeding

Most mothers recognize the benefits of breastfeeding for themselves and their babies but many say formula is a safe alternative, a U.S. survey indicates.

The survey of 876 mothers of children age 12 months and younger throughout the country, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, found 84 percent said they believe breastfeeding is healthier for their babies and 79 percent believe it is healthier for themselves.

Eighty-three percent of mothers made their infant feeding decision prior to going to a hospital to give birth and 82 percent breastfed at some point during the first year. However, more than half of the moms changed their baby's diet during the first year.

Mothers in the United States know what is best for their babies, Anna Greenberg, senior vice president at GQRR, says in a statement. But many moms report having to balance the needs of their baby along with competing needs of work or school, other family members, and maintaining an adequate milk supply.

The mothers identified a number of barriers that either prevented them from initiating or continuing breastfeeding, including demands of work or school, the inability to produce enough milk, the feeling that breastfeeding restricts freedom and the expense of a breast pump.

No margin of error was provided.