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Who says only 2% of people can't breastfeed?

I see that number thrown around all the time. But of the moms I know personally way more than 2% tried really hard to breastfeed but couldn't for various reasons.

Lots of moms I know tried really hard and sought help with nursing, but just couldn’t do it. So who comes up with that statistic, because I just don’t see how I happen to know so many people with problems if it’s really only 2%?

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Asked by MAUREEN55 at 5:17 PM on Nov. 1, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 2 (13 Credits)
Answers (222)
  • I have one friend whose son has a cleft palate and can't even eat from a regular bottle, much less breast-feed. I have another whose daughter was a preemie so she couldn't even try to nurse until she was a month old and by then she didn't even attempt to latch after trying with for weeks. I have another friend whose full term baby would latch at all after trying for weeks with help from the La Leche League they told her child just didn’t lacked the ability to latch. My cousin’s wife’s son was getting less than an oz per feeding and was told by the doctor and lactation consultant to begin bottle feeding immediately because her son was losing weight. My cousins first daughter wouldn’t latch and she even had a speech therapist work her doing exercises to try to build her dexterity up, but it didn’t work.

    So that's six moms I know who've had babies in the past 5 years that tried, but couldn't breastfeed.

    Answer by MAUREEN55 at 5:18 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • That statistic is referring to the women who could not physically produce enough milk to keep their child alive.

    Not the women who gave up after a week, not the women who decided to pump and ended up losing their supply, not the women who's baby wasn't latching properly so they gave up, not the women who introduced a bottle, not the women to gave formula to supplement, not the women with unsupportive family and friends who say "ah, just give him formula", not the women who give a pacifier.

    That statistic is referring to mothers without bottles, without formula, without unsupportive families, without another choice.

    Before bottles and formula and pacifiers, and alternative choices to feed your infant - back in the times where you breastfeed or your baby dies (or someone else ends up nursing your baby) - less than 1 percent (not 2%) - less-than-1-percent - of women couldn't breastfeed.


    Answer by ladysavage at 5:25 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • And how many people do you know with kids? Sounds like it could still be 2%. I only know that my Grandma couldn't breastfeed. everyone else I know can/could. and decided not to after some period of time. Because they wanted to work, or party, or leave the kid somewhere else.. Or the most common they thought it would be too hard. Thinking it will be more difficult is not a valid reason. So yes I only know one person.. Who is almost 80.. and at the time didn't have a source of help.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:25 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • "Not being able to breastfeed" is a brand new phenominom that has spread like wildfire since formula and bottles and pacifiers came along.

    I promise you, if your friends that "couldn't breastfeed" had ZERO other choice, and their child would starve without - they would have breastfed successfully.


    Answer by ladysavage at 5:27 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • Well said ladysavage. Couldn't have said it better myself. =)

    Answer by LucasMama08 at 5:28 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • In the last 5 years I'd say I've know about 20 people (close friends and family)  who've had babies. That's 30%.


    Answer by MAUREEN55 at 5:29 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • How do you know that lady savage? My friend with the preemie would have lost her daughter right away if she hadn't been fed thought a feeding tube. She weighed less than 2 lbs. The baby with the cleft palette would also have starved if he couldn't have been fed thought a bottle. And the La Leche League had to basically threaten to report my cousin's wife to CPS if she didn't bottle fed because her son wasn't gaining any weight because she was intent on breastfeeding exclusively. All these moms sought help and were told their children needed to be bottle fed so how can say they didn't really need it?


    Answer by MAUREEN55 at 5:33 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • The World Health Organization/UNICEF

    Virtually all women in the world can breastfeed. Women in wars, natural diasters, starving, with HIV/AIDS in Africa. Its one of the essential health messages UNICEF promotes.

    I was looking up the number 98% with breastfeeding and 98% of women initiate breastfeeding in Sweeden.

    Answer by Gailll at 5:36 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • I think you're missing her point. That option IS available now so they can tell you go ahead and bottle feed. If the option weren't available they would have found a way.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:37 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

  • OOPs Sweden

    Answer by Gailll at 5:37 PM on Nov. 1, 2009

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