“I just don’t want to be regretful that I haven’t tried everything,” she says, through tears. While 80% of American mothers begin breastfeeding, by six months only 51% of babies are still being breastfed—we’re doing better in Australia with 83% of new mums starting out breastfeeding, but only 59% of babies are still being breastfed at six months. Right now, Port’s just trying to keep her baby fed and her guilt in check, even if that means expressing and supplementing until, she hopes, things improve. In the meantime, she reached out on Instagram to ask for tips from other new mums.
Enter Amanda Seyfried, who became a mum in March and commented on Port’s Instagram post on the subject. “Nipple shield. It cut down on the pain and I used it for three months. It saved me. No guilt either way! And… it ALL gets better!”
It’s recommended that babies exclusively consume breast milk until six months and then continue to nurse alongside the introduction of solids until 12 months and beyond—the World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding children until two years old. Research shows breastfed babies and toddlers are sick less often and less severely, have better cognitive development and less likely to be obese or have chronic diseases in adulthood, and that breastfeeding is protective for women, too.
No wonder Whitney is keen to keep trying... and whatever she ends up doing, we wish her the best of luck (and some nipple shields!)
Need help breastfeeding? Call the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s free helpline: 1800 686 268