World Breastfeeding Week 2022: a survey
August 1st marks the start of World Breastfeeding Week 2022! It’s our favourite week of the year. And it’s also the first anniversary of Lactamo launching, yay! We’re so proud of the part we’re playing in helping mums with breastfeeding.
To mark World Breastfeeding Week this August, Lactamo decided to check in on Australia with a breastfeeding survey, to see how we stack up in the stats. And the results sadly painted an even more dire picture than we had thought.
In Lactamo’s survey of Australian mums, only 16% had anticipated breastfeeding being difficult before they began, but 92% reported negative experiences as part of their breastfeeding journey, with 67% of these being physical problems (oversupply, undersupply, blocked ducts, engorgement, infection).
Mums listed multiple negative experiences, with common answers including “problems with returning to work while breastfeeding” (21%), “issues with breastfeeding in public” (27%), and “feeling negatively judged about how long they breastfed for” (30%). And a whopping 49% of mums had had mastitis.
When asked for more details about their negative experiences, mums highlighted:
- “unprepared for the truth of breastfeeding”
- “being judged for doing it in public”
- “excruciating pain in first few weeks.”
- “low supply and guilt”
- “the health advice to “just persist””
- “not being prepared”
- “very painful and challenging”
- “opinions about length of time breastfeeding”
- “so much ‘breast is best’ pressure”
As if new mothers didn’t already have enough on their plate.
The start of motherhood is one of the most vulnerable times of our lives. How can we improve this, and support mums?
Lactamo is innovating for breastfeeding mums, addressing the common breastfeeding problems not just reactively, but also proactively. “But we need more than product innovation” explains Etta, Lactamo’s Founder. “Our survey showed that mums need support and education too; it was depressing to learn in our survey that 81% of mums wanted more breastfeeding support.”
But despite the negative survey stats there is in fact a growing network of supportive resources for mums, including an ever increasing number of highly qualified lactation consultants, plus growing support resources such as The Women’s, Pregnancy Birth and Beyond, and Tresillian.
There has been a big increase in online support since 2020 including virtual lactation consultations, and hopefully this trend will continue to increase, supporting mums who otherwise might not be able to reach support.
And most encouragingly, there is a progressive consensus that we need to move on from the phrase “breast is best”, replacing it with “informed is best”.
The progress that is being made might take time to be felt, and then reflected in the stats, but we’re hoping that these positive steps are moving the narrative and support in the right direction.
Let’s hope that by this time next year we will be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with mums feeling more supported, informed and empowered.