profile picture of Anisa Arsenault
Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor

Top Breastfeeding Challenges Around the World (and How to Fix Them)

It's time to start talking.
PUBLISHED ON 08/15/2016

From your baby’s latch preference to the pumping schedule that works for you, not much about breastfeeding is universal. But the one thing healthcare professionals wish across the globe? That women would start talking about nursing sooner.

Lansinoh’s 2016 Global Healthcare Provider Survey, released today, emphasizes the importance of making breastfeeding part of the conversation at your prenatal checkups. The nursing brand interviewed 1,044 midwives, lactation consultants, nurses, OBs and pediatricians finding 81 percent wish that expectant moms would better learn about breastfeeding techniques before baby is born—preferably sometime during the third trimester. This held true across all five countries surveyed: the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil.

While a lack of breastfeeding awareness and support is a common problem worldwide, the study shows that breastfeeding challenges aren’t necessarily universal. Here are health care providers’ biggest concerns around the world:

United States

28 percent say “concern or fear that breastfeeding is not working for baby” is the no. 1 reason moms stop breastfeeding. At 27 percent, “returning to work/lack of support in the workplace” is a close second.

France

40 percent rank “returning to work/lack of support in the workplace” as the top hindrance to breastfeeding, while 17 percent blame a “lack of awareness about tools and techniques to make breastfeeding easier.”

Germany

“The discomfort of breastfeeding” kept 30 percent of patients from continuing to nurse, followed by the “lack of awareness about tools and techniques to make breastfeeding easier” (24 percent).

Brazil

33 percent of Brazilians list a “lack of awareness about tools and techniques to make breastfeeding easier” as their top breastfeeding hindrance, while 27 percent cite “concern or fear that breastfeeding is not working for baby.”

United Kingdom

33 percent list “concern or fear that breastfeeding is not working for baby” as the top blocker to breastfeeding. “Lack of awareness about tools and techniques to make breastfeeding easier” was the second problem, cited by 20 percent.

So where do we go from here? Lansinoh is encouraging more women to ask specific questions related to breastfeeding well before baby arrives. And you can prepare even further by taking a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy. Currently, 48 percent of healthcare providers say their patients are waiting until they are about to deliver or later to bring up nursing. While the onus should also be on the professionals, here are a list of questions you can ask your doctor to get the conversation started:

PHOTO: Shutterstock