Another stumbling block for some is that breast-feeding is not easy. Though it's often described as a natural process, both mother and newborn need to learn how to work together for feeding.
"It takes two or three weeks for moms and babies to really get to know each other, and how the whole system works," Viehmann said. "Even with a mom who's breast-fed other babies, she can have a newborn who is different and responds differently."
During this learning period, babies can become very fussy. If mothers aren't provided solid moral support, they can lose their confidence and abandon breast-feeding, she noted.
"Mothers are very anxious," Viehmann said. "If anyone suggests that maybe they would be harming the baby by refusing to give a bottle, it throws them off. Mothers can be influenced by the expectations of other people who do not understand this baby is going to be fussy."
Bigger obstacles await once mother and child have left the hospital, Schanler said. Pumping breast milk for a child's later use is a difficult task, and many women just don't have the time and determination.
"We need to have a very motivated mother to pump and store milk so she can have milk to feed her baby when she goes back to work," Schanler said. "I give a lot of credit to women who continue to supply milk to their babies after they've gone back to work."
Working mothers need 15 minutes twice a day at the job to pump their breast milk, he said. They need a private place to pump, and they need a refrigerator to store the milk.
"It sounds pretty simple, but all of our industries are not on this page yet," Schanler said, noting that only one of four U.S. worksites provides such help for breast-feeding mothers.
And then there's the attitude issue, as Viehmann pointed out.
"The United States is not supportive of breast-feeding on many, many levels," she said. "We
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