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Wednesday, October 25, 2006Well this is dissapointing... I was under the impression that breastfeeding initiation rates were at 75% right now and that they didn't really drop sharply until 6 weeks when women went back to work.
According to a new survey by a group called "Childbirth Connection", the rates are MUCH lower.
Despite the importance of early contact for attachment and breastfeeding, most babies were not in their mothers' arms during the first hour after birth, with a troubling proportion with staff for routine, non-urgent care (39%). Although 61% of the mothers wanted to breastfeed exclusively as they neared the end of their pregnancy, just 51% of all mothers were doing so one week after birth, a troubling missed opportunity.
51%...that's really low. And of course that's just the first week. We all know that the first TWO weeks are the hardest and of course many moms begin going back to work at 6 weeks which causes another big drop-off. It's no wonder the U.S. breastfeeding rates are in the tank.
It makes me think of my own friends though... quite honestly, I'm the only person I know my age that managed to provide breastmilk for their kid for a full year. I know one person that exclusively pumped for 5 months after her c-section and another that EPed for 1 month after her c-section. All of the others tried to nurse and quit within a week or two.
For those interested in the hospital verses home thing for birth...here are the intervention rates for the hospital (obviously most of these will be around 0% for a home birth...)
The national survey polled 1,573 women who gave birth in 2005 and found that most mothers experienced numerous labor and birth interventions with various degrees of risk that may be of benefit for mothers with specific conditions, but are inappropriate as routine measures. Overall, survey mothers experienced the following interventions: electronic fetal monitoring (94%), intravenous drip (83%), epidural or spinal analgesia (76%), one or more vaginal exams (75%), urinary catheter (56%), membranes broken after labor began (47%), and synthetic oxytocin (Pitocin) to speed up labor (47%).
and on the ever growing "induction" trend...
Additionally, more than four out of ten mothers (41%) reported that their caregiver tried to induce their labor. When asked if the induction caused labor to begin, more than four out of five of those women (84%) indicated that it did, resulting in an overall provider induction rate of 34%. Among all survey mothers whose providers tried to start their labors, 79% cited one or more medical reasons for being induced, while 35% cited one or more non-medical reasons. Overall, 11% of mothers reported experiencing pressure from a health professional to have labor induction, and those reporting pressure were more likely to have had it.
The whole thing sort of compounds my belief that we will NOT be able to increase breastfeeding rates until we can DECREASE unnecessary medical interventions that leave mom and baby exhausted, over-medicated, and/or recovering from harder-than-necessary birth experiences.