21.Sep.2016 Birth Place Breastfeeding Rates

Every year we tally up our breastfeeding rates for Breastfeeding Awareness Month and print up a report.

It is such a fun time re-connecting with all the fine families we work with.

TrentI have been doing this report every year since 2009 and have learned a few things about what works with breastfeeding support.  One of the most important factors is frequent in-person support during the first few days of nursing.  We often (rightly) focus on the birth. We need to focus as closely on the first weeks of nursing. In particular, the physical and emotional work of bringing in the milk needs support. When mothers and their families understand newborn behaviors that bring in milk, they can relax into the process.

Parents also need to understand normal newborn sleep patterns.  When parents have expectations that match babies’ physical needs, everyone is happier.

And I have found that parents who birth in the hospital need on average five more postpartum visits than babies born out – of – hospital.  Some of this extra support is likely due to the routine hospital procedures the interrupt the bonding and breastfeeding magic of those first hours after birth.  But most of the extra support is probably due to the fact that the labor was complicated.  I don’t transfer to the hospital for easy births.  We go to the hospital for help when births are long and hard.  Tired moms and babies need more support.

One final observation:  a majority of babies who get off to a good start with nursing never need formula.  Women can build up a good milk supply so that when they return to work, they can pump enough milk for their babies.  (This too is an important place to support families.)

I’ll enclose a link to the full report but here is a snapshot of our outcomes in context of Montana and Healthy People 2020 goals.

Birth Place Montana  CDC Report Card Healthy People 2020 Goal
Ever breastfed 99% 91.2% 81.9%
3 months exclusive 95% 53.4% 46.2%
6 months 96% 50.7% 60.6%
6 months exclusive 89% 19.3% 25.5%
12 months 87% 25.5% 34.1%

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