There’s a big push in the U.S. from pediatricians to have mothers of newborns breast-feed exclusively for at least six months.
And many new moms want to. But only about 60 percent who start off breast-feeding keep it up for six months or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Shots interviewed nearly a dozen lactation consultants, pediatricians and researchers who had tips for women on how to reach their breast-feeding goals. Here’s a quick guide to their advice.
1. Expect problems at first
Many people think of breast-feeding as automatic and expect it to be easy, says Caroline Kerhervé, a leading lactation educator and counselor in San Francisco.
“We often think moms and babies will know exactly what to do, and they won’t even have to think about it,” she says. “Sometimes that happens, but it’s not the most common outcome.”