Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poll Discussion Results: Breastfeeding

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Time to look at results from the discussion on breastfeeding! This was a very interesting group of information to read. With my minor in college, I did a lot of studies and love analyzing and looking at data.

This analysis might not be perfect--it likely isn't. I have only gone through it one time, and ideally I would like to check the numbers at least five times, but let's be real--I have a newborn and I just can't spend that time there. You are more than welcome to go through the data yourself. It is all there in the post I linked above. I have made a comment (comment number 64) where I collected the data up to. 

I have 94 responses. I think I might have missed one or two twins, so there could have been 96 maybe.

Here are the questions I asked:

  1. Did you intend/want to breastfeed when your baby was born?
  2. Did you breastfeed for any length of time?
  3. If yes, for how long did you breastfeed (until what age)?
  4. When you stopped breastfeeding, what was the reason (your choice, baby's choice, lack of milk...)?
  5. Share any other thoughts you think might be of interest.
Here are the answers:

Did you intend/want to breastfeed when your baby was born?

90 of the 94 said "yes" to this question. It should be noted that two that said no were parents of twins who are a dad/dad family, so yes was not even an option. So for the 92 that had it as an option, 90 said yes and 2 said no.  

That puts 98% of parents responding to this survey who had the ability to breastfeed intending to breastfeed.

Did you breastfeed for any length of time?

We had the same numbers here. 90 out of 94 times, the mother breastfed for some amount of time. Once again, we have the twins with dad/dad family, so 90 of the 92 who were able, breastfed for an amount of time. And one interesting tidbit is the two that didn't intend are not the exact two who did not; one mom intended but was unable due to a NICU stay. One mom who didn't intend to did after all.

We once again have 98%. 98% breastfed for an amount of time. According to this study, statistically about 74% started off breastfeeding. So already, we are ahead of the norm. 

If yes, for how long did you breastfeed (until what age)?

We are now at 90 people who started off breastfeeding their baby.

7 breastfed until sometime in the 0-6 week range. (8%)
2 breastfed up until 6 weeks-3 months old. (2%)
8 breastfed up until 4-6 months old. (9%)
10 breastfed up until 7-9 months old.  (11%)
10 breastfed up until 10-11 months old. (11%)
9 breastfed until 12 months old. (10%)
13 breastfed until 13-15 months old. (14%)
3 breastfed until 16-18 months old. (3%)
3 breastfed until 18-24 months old. (3%)
0 breastfed beyond two years old. (0%)
25 were still breastfeeding, ranging from the newborn months to beyond 15 months old. (28%)

Now, if you take the 65 responses of people who had finished breastfeeding at some point, 74% of them breastfed 7 months or longer. The study I referred to earlier found that 43% of the people who started breastfeeding were still breastfeeding at 6 months. Here we have 74% at 7 months and older--this isn't including those that stopped at 6 months (there were quite a few). I would say that is a significant increase over the national average.

Of the 65 responses who had stopped breastfeeding, 43% of babies were breastfed at some point as a one year old. Compare that to the same study, only 23% got any breast milk as a one year old. Again, a significant difference.

Another interesting note is that some of the babies were weaned at a certain age from breastfeeding, but the moms still pumped milk and fed in a bottle. For those babies, the stats are that they were weaned at the age they literally stopped breastfeeding. So the number of babies getting breastmilk is higher than what is shown.

When you stopped breastfeeding, what was the reason (your choice, baby's choice, lack of milk...)?

Remember, we have 65 who have weaned.

33 (51%) weaned because mom chose to. 
7 (11%) weaned because baby chose to. For some, baby showed lack of interest so mom decided it was time to stop.
9 (14%) stopped due to milk issues. For four of the 9, milk never came in. For two, milk tanked after returnign to work. Only three had milk issues after having started breastfeeding with no other reason stated other than milk supply was the reason. That is 5%.
12 (18%) stopped for a medical reason. For one, it was no latch. For some, it was medication mom was taking. Most were due to pregnancy.
4 (6%) had a different reason (other). One was because the family was on vacation and breastfeeding was stressful. Two were because mom would be away from baby on vacation. The fourth was due to a move.

So with all of these moms, 5% stopped breastfeeding due to an unexplained milk supply issue. That is a pretty small number when you consider the rounds of "Babywise causes milk supply to drop" you hear from Babywise haters. I don't have numbers, but I would very easily say that 5% is not any higher than the national average of moms who stop breastfeeding due to supply issues that can't be explained by some obvious reasons. Even 14% I would guess is easily in line with what is typical, if not below, the national average. 

For anyone concerned about what Babywise does to milk supply, I hope this simple survey can shed some light on the reality of the situation. Babywise moms can be successful breastfeeders--just like any other parenting philosphy mom. Babywise moms have higher success rates than the national average. Can you breastfeed while following Babywise? Absolutely yes!


Diana Prentice said...

I found this interesting, although not really surprising. My theory is that Babywise parents are probably more motivated than others to make sure their children grow up to be the best they can. This isn't to say that all parents don't want that for their children, but I think if you have read a book to help raise your baby, found this blog, perhaps even joined the community, then you are pretty motivated. And since breastfeeding is known to be the healthiest option, it is therefore not surprising that Babywise parents know that and choose to do it more than the general population.

The rate of breastfeeding is related to the level of education in the mom and I think this is also related to that.

Diana Prentice said...

And I really hope that comment didn't come off as elitist about Babywise. I think parents who do their research in general about raising children are probably more likely to breastfeed (even if they don't necessarily follow Babywise).

Sarah said...

It is interesting...and I agree with Diana, who did not sound elitist at all. It makes total sense. I do think it it was funny that the dads responded to breastfeeding but I wonder if they fed breastmilk from the baby's mom or donor milk. I have heard more and more of moms sharing milk. Just curious. :)

Hunter C said...

With my daughter, we were big BW followers and I nursed till 10.5 months. No issues with supply till the end. And I think it was my fault-I added caffeine back into my diet, wasn't careful about my water intake, stopped pumping when away from her. My son is now 12 weeks and so far so good on the BW schedule. :). I also agree with the comment above-people on this blog are researching and seeking answers. They would do the same thing with milk supply and BF'ing.

Jaime Williams said...

Babywise question that may be related to breastfeeding: My son is currently 6 weeks old. He is still waking twice each night (around 1:30am and 4:30am), but according to the schedule he should be sleeping 6 - 7 hours straight. I feel like that goal is so far away! After reading this blog and re-reading the book, it says to feed when baby is hungry. I feed him at both of his wake-ups, and he definitely eats. Is he not getting enough milk during the day (breastfeeding issue), or should I try CIO at the 1:30 wake up? I feel very unsure about nursing because with my older son I was convinced that I wasn't producing enough for him (I could only pump 1/2 an ounce at a time, but I realize baby gets more than the pump). I continued to nurse my son in the middle of the night until 6 months, which is when I finally gave up nursing (going back to work and pumping just wasn't working to keep my supply up). Any advice would be so great! I'd love some uninterrupted sleep longer than 3 hours, and I'd LOVE to have him sleeping through the night by 12 weeks before I head back to work.

Plowmanators said...

Jaime, he is still very young. BW says 7-8 hours by 7-8 weeks, but some take until 12 weeks, and some really do take longer. Boys tend to take longer to STTN. And they often just suddenly start sleeping longer. I had no clue Brinley was close to sleeping longer, and she suddenly did.

So long as his diapers are wet in each cycle and he is growing and he is content, then your milk isn't an issue. Also, there is often a big growth spurt around 6 weeks old, so watch for that.

Jaime Williams said...

Thank you! After reading a few more of your posts, I realized he probably just needs an extra meal in the day. So I started feeding every 2.5 hours with an 11pm dreamfeed, and last night he slept until 4:15, which is a nice improvement. Now we're struggling with why he sometimes cries after that middle of the night feed instead of going to sleep. I've been letting him CIO at that point since he's eaten, been changed, is swaddled, and has gas drops. He typically does this every 4 or 5 nights.

I also want to thank you for the Bravado nursing bra recommendation. I just got it, and I wish I'd had it with my first son.

Thanks for all of your wisdom!

Kara said...

I love this (and your whole blog) - very helpful! I didn't start babywise until after I already had milk issues due to a VERY sleepy and un-food-motivated baby (she lost weight and we had to supplement with formula). If I had her on a better schedule from the beginning, I'm sure I would have had less issues and could have bf'd her longer than 5 months.


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