Most pregnant women who say they're going to breastfeed do--but many stop before their babies get much benefit. Researchers looked at data on more than 30,000 women and found that 13 percent of those who breastfed their newborns stopped by the time the baby was a month old, even though experts recommend breast milk as the baby's exclusive food for the first six months.
Most common reasons: insufficient milk, a fussy baby, sore nipples and fear that the baby isn't getting enough milk. "Greater support, especially from partners, would help women breastfeed longer," says Shari I. Lusskin, M.D., director of reproductive psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. Her suggestions:
- Ask your partner to help out by diapering and burping the baby at feeding time, particularly at night.
- Have him offer the baby an occasional bottle of pumped milk to cut down on sore nipples and lost sleep for mom.
- Ask for advice and encouragement from a lactation consultant, the baby's pediatrician or your OB-GYN.