Breastfeeding Class

When we registered for the class at St Peters, we asked if it was for women only or for couples. Since the breastfeeding class was open to couples, we both attended it. However, when we got there, I wondered what I was doing there. There were only 3 of us guys while there were 13 women. Most women had come alone, but one had come with her mother.

I also had no idea what I was supposed to do. It turned out though that my presence was useful since Amber was a very bad student that day. If I hadn’t been paying attention, we wouldn’t have gotten how to position the baby for nursing or the other information the instructor (a lactation consultant at the hospital) provided.

Amber asked the instructor about breast pumps and feeding the baby after she goes back to work. The instructor recommended a couple of pumps and also suggested how to get the baby used to drinking expressed milk from the bottle during the day.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months and then supplementing breast milk with solid food until at least 1 year of age.

Strangely, despite the many benefits of breastfeeding, only about 3 in 10 babies are being breastfed at 6 months of age in the United States. Breastfeeding declined in the US for about two-thirds of the last century, but has since recovered somewhat. The overall rates still remain quite low as this article points out.

More than two thirds of mothers breastfed in the early 1900s […]. However, both the incidence and duration of breastfeeding declined in successive cohorts, beginning in the first decades of the 1900s […]. Initiation rates in the 1911–1915 cohort were nearly 70% of women, and nearly 50% in the 1926—1930 cohort; however, in the 1946—1950 cohort, only 25% initiation rates were noted […]. Initiation of breastfeeding reached its nadir in 1972, when only 22% of women breastfed […].

By 1975, however, breastfeeding initiation began to increase, from 33.4% in that year to 54% in 1980, and subsequently to 59.7% in 1984 […]. There was a dip in breastfeeding initiation rates in the late 1980s, followed by a return in the mid-1990s to the high levels observed in the early 1980s […]. Thus, after a dramatic increase in the 1970s, breastfeeding rates remained relatively static from the early 1980s to 1995. As of 1995, 60% of new mothers initiated breastfeeding, with 20% still breast-feeding at 6 mo. […]In 1997, 62.4% of mothers initiated breastfeeding, and 26% continued to 6 mo; newly reported was a 14.5% breastfeeding rate at 12 mo.

In Pakistan, according to UNICEF, the percentage of children who are:

exclusively breastfed (< 4 months) 16%
breastfed with complementary food (6-9 months) 31%
still breastfeeding (20-23 months) 56%

According to the World Health Organization, no more than 35% of infants worldwide are exclusively breastfed during the first four months of life.

In other pregnancy news, our baby is due this month. In fact, since more than 36 weeks are gone, she could be born any time now and not be a preemie.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

6 thoughts on “Breastfeeding Class”

  1. Breast feeding declined between 1960 to 1980 in urban areas of Pakistan mainly because of undue propaganda of Nestle powder milk and fashion. Later, due to UNISEF propaganda breast-feeding increased. The figures given by UNISEF apear to be too low. Most of the children in rural areas are breast-fed. The UNISEF surveys generally depict the urban picture which represents minority.

  2. The number of children who are breastfed in Pakistan is quite large. I think it’s more than 90%. To be more precise, this is the percentage of children who are ever breastfed.

    The 16% number above is the percentage of 0-4 month old children who are exclusively breastfed, i.e. it does not include those infants who are given solid or liquid food in addition to breast milk during their first 4 months. That number is indeed low. In Pakistan, a lot of infants are given water, ghutti, sugar or honey water, gripe water, fresh cow/buffalo milk, etc. in addition to breast milk.

    The surveys have covered both rural and urban areas. One such survey is here.

  3. Do you know the baby’s a she?
    I think they have legislation in India against tests used to determine an unborn child’s sex, due to the continued preference for a male child in several social/cultural groups, though that fascination has reduced to a degree.

    Anyways, good luck, hope everything goes well.

  4. Do you know the baby’s a she?

    That’s what we were told at the week 21 ultrasound. It is generally accurate, though depends on the skill of the technician.

    legislation in India against tests

    There is a sex imbalance among babies in India as people prefer boys over girls.

    good luck, hope everything goes well.


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