Did you know that 83.3% of mothers in Alaska initiate breastfeeding?
We are well above the national average of 75% breastfeeding initiation. In fact, Alaska is one of only a few states that met each of the breastfeeding goals stated by the CDC in Healthy People 2010.
Yet by 3 months of age, only about 43% of babies in Alaska are exclusively breastfed. What happens in those first three months that causes 40% of the mothers who began breastfeeding to introduce foods other than breastmilk?
Social support for breastfeeding families has been shown to increase the duration and exclusivity of breastfeeding. The first three months after the birth of a child has been called “the fourth trimester” – a period of rapid growth and frequent feeding for the baby, and a period of adjustment for the family members who welcome the baby. Breastfeeding, like other infant care, does not happen in a vacuum. It is an evolving aspect of the new family, and like other aspects of infant care, it generates questions, concerns and well-meaning advice – both solicited and unsolicited.
At Midwifery and Women’s Health Care we believe that lactation support is a normal component of postpartum care. Most new parents, even second- and third- time parents, have questions about infant care and feeding, self care, and changing family relationships. The trust that we develop with you throughout your pregnancy will continue after the birth of the baby, and we want you to feel you can come to us for help and information. We recognize that some families find infant feeding and postpartum adjustment more difficult than they had anticipated, and we want to emphasize that we will respect and honor your infant feeding decisions.