Many Irish mothers are often left with regret after ending their breastfeeding experiences earlier than they had hoped or anticipated.
With last week being World Breastfeeding Week, and Ireland is now known for having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, new research further highlights the struggles of new mums in the country.
According to research carried out by NUK in conjunction with BabyDoc and over 1,000 women in Ireland, 72% of new mums who end their breastfeeding journey earlier than expected often regret doing so. Only 16% of women who choose to breastfeed actually reach their breastfeeding goal, while only 13% felt that they exceeded their journeys.
The mother and baby suppliers found out that 30% of women cited insufficient milk supply as their reason for finishing their breastfeeding. 15% of mothers said they found breastfeeding to be too stressful, while 26% said they finished early due to latching issues.
Of the women surveyed by NUK who decided not to breastfeed, or who tried to breastfeed but couldn’t continue, a total of 27% said that the reason they ended their breastfeeding experience was that they tried but it just didn’t work out for them. Worryingly, another 27% said it was due to a lack of support from their partner.
Two months ago, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland called for more support for new mums in relation to breastfeeding, as our country falls below the international average. Cultural norms, shame, or the lack of practical support are all reasons for the low takeup.
Due to the restrictions of COVID since 2020, 60% of those who took part in the NUK survey said the situation made it easier to breastfeed their baby due to more time being spent at home even with the move to more virtual appointments.
Kitty Hackel, a lactation consultant and hypnobirthing instructor, said on the findings: "As a lactation consultant, I was required to move all of my services completely online once COVID hit and Zoom has not only worked amazingly for resolving the majority of breastfeeding issues but it has meant that people have access to experts from all over the world.
"Working with so many new people and couples from around the world has shown me that working in a more ‘hands off’ way has proved even more empowering for parents. They are the ones adopting the skills without anyone "putting" baby on the breast for them as we see far too often in many clinical settings."
NUK has recently launched High Performance Breast Pads, which are 40% more absorbent than their Ultra Dry Breast Pads, and are available at selected pharmacies and retailers nationwide.