Breastfeeding Around the World

Lansinoh (aka the company that makes the nipple salve in the purple tube that basically saved my breastfeeding years), released a survey on data about breastfeeding around the world. And, for those of us who like graphs, pie charts and lots of bright colors, they compiled it all into an easily digestible info graphic:

Global_Survey_Infographic

Some interesting highlights from the above info graphic:

– Lansinoh surveyed more than 13,000 moms in 9 different countries.

– The majority of folks surveyed agree with “breast is best.”

– The majority of women from every country except Germany said they would feel guilty if they didn’t breastfeed.

– The majority of folks all over the world are cool with breastfeeding in public.

And yet, no information about support or whether or not things like policy initiatives (paid family leave, paid sick leave, etc…) contribute one way or another toward breastfeeding rates. (I know, total Debbie Downer over here).

Lansinoh also released a US-focused info graphic based on data they collected:

US_Survey_Infographic_09_03_2014

What stood out to me here is that the majority of folks say that breastfeeding in public is perfectly natural (turquoise smiley face and all!), yet that seems mismatched with all the stories that continue to pour out over women being forced to feed their infants in bathrooms, getting kicked out of stores, etc…

And again, we know “breast is best,” and we still saddle so much guilt. How do we get over this? How can we have discussions surrounding breastfeeding without stigmatizing formula feeders or guilting all mothers? There needs to be a better way…

11 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Around the World

  1. I felt really guilty when I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wasn’t making enough milk and she was just losing so much weight and nothing I did could help my supply. Plus it was such an uncertain time. Was she getting enough? I had so much anxiety over it. When I switched to formula I felt so much guilt, and I was nervous to even tell her doctor. But then she started to gain weight, and I felt better because I knew she was eating enough, and the guilt slowly ebbed away to nothing. Now that she is 6 months old, I still feel like I made the right decision for her. I feel like I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning, and I will try again with my next baby if I’m lucky enough to have another. I hope to make it further next time. I just wish that I didn’t ever have to know that guilt, like I was letting my baby down.

    • I am so sorry you struggled with such guilt. It’s hard, because as parents, we want to do only the best for our children, but when we don’t have the support (and instead loads of judgment) it makes that self-doubt/guilt so much easier to creep in.

  2. I think we hear the terrible stories of women shamed into covering up for much similar reasons that we hear about the campus shooter (and not all the crisis students who get help and change without ever doing anything). I have zero mom friends who’ve been shamed into covering up to nurse. They might have felt internal pressure, but never anyone actually saying things.

    Not sure how to get way from guilt. I feel it’s kind of an inherent mom trait we develop.

    • Agree. Stories of successful breastfeeding (in public or wherever) moms wouldn’t be as sensational as the other stories unfortunately:/ But, I bet those success stories might go even farther in helping to promote a positive image of breastfeeding in public or help moms who are struggling/have Q’s. Alas.

  3. Oh boy, I could go on for days about this! Most important lessons I’ve learned with my babies are: (1) breastfeeding is a lot of work, and even though it comes naturally to some moms (and babies), this is not the case for everyone, (2) if you have to kill yourself to make breastfeeding and it becomes depressing rather than a beautiful bonding experience with baby, then it’s time to stop, (3) infant formula is not bad; it’s actually very good, (4) feeling guilty about stopping is self destructive (it destroyed me with my second) and (5) a mother’s choices are none of anyone’s business; asking her pointless questions about why she does what she does and giving her advice about how she could do things differently is just wrong.

    • Agree with all of this. I also wish we had more support (whether in the form of more informed hospital staff, easier access to lactation consultants, paid maternity leave, better support re: pumping at work, etc…). And, I wish there was more discussions about things like milk banks. Our country is really far behind compared to others on those.

      • Tell me about it. Where I’m from (and where I had my first baby), breastfeeding support does not exist. Hospital maternity wards are basically controlled by infant formula companies who force nurses to encourage moms to give formula. Sometimes they’ll give baby a bottle without the mother’s consent. Can you imagine? They made me cry at the hospital by saying things like “how can you starve your child like this?” after an emergency cesarean and while I was in a lot of pain and extremely confused, all because I wanted to give breastfeeding a shot! Also maternity leave was 40 days. I had my second on Singapore where lactation consultants were at my disposal. They were so loving and caring, they gave me the strength to make breastfeeding work. Unfortunately though, all the lactation experts in the world can’t help you sometimes, when your body seems to be built differently. I was a rare case (as was confirmed by my doctor), so this doesn’t mean anything. There is still so much work to be done in many, many parts of the world.

  4. I never personally experienced anyone with an issue whilst I was breastfeeding, only encouragement. In fact I found people very courteous to our needs when nursing. In fact all the guilt and shame I had thrust upon me was from medical professionals when I had to supplement feed my reflux baby with formula and subsequently lost my already very low milk supply. Definitely a learning curb for baby number two!

    • I would be so curious to see stats comparing breastfeeding experiences for 1st babies versus subsequent ones. I find a lot of my mama friends are way more relaxed, at ease & confident with their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc… babies.

      • I’m sure that’s mostly the case…you make all your mistakes with the first! Poor first borns, always the guinea pigs :p

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