70% of Indian moms find breastfeeding a challenging experience, reveals Momspresso’s & Medela’s latest survey
Survey on ‘Breastfeeding Challenges of Indian moms’ seeks to understand the difficulties Indian moms face including medical issues & lack of breastfeeding facilities at their workplaces and in public
Momspresso, India’s largest user-generated content platform for women, conducted an insightful survey among 510 Indian moms to glean insights into the challenges faced by them while breastfeeding. Titled “Breastfeeding Challenges for Indian Moms”, the study was conducted to commemorate ‘Breastfeeding Week’ which is being celebrated worldwide from 1st- 7th August, 2018. The study was conducted in collaboration with Medela, an expert in the field of lactation, which supports mothers and babies thanks to their products (ranging from breast pumps to breast care and feeding solutions) and research. It highlighted how breastfeeding mothers are coping with challenges related to their immediate environment such as their home and workplace. The objective of the survey is to bring conversations about these challenges into mainstream discourse and to find solutions to the same.
According to the survey findings, over 70% of Indian moms feel breastfeeding is a challenging experience. Interestingly, however, 78% mothers have breastfed their babies for a year or more. The prime motivators for continued breastfeeding in spite of its demanding nature were the health benefits of breastfeeding for babies (98.6%), the resulting strong mother-child bond (73.4%), health benefits for the breastfeeding mother (57.5%) and the weight loss aspect connected to breastfeeding (39.7%).
Further, the study sought to reveal the biggest hurdles in the breastfeeding journey of Indian moms. The key challenges were classified into medical issues, behavioral transitions, workplace challenges, nursing while traveling or in public, and support at home. The top six breastfeeding challenges faced by Indian moms as revealed in the survey findings were early day challenges such as sore and cracked nipples, latching problem, engorged breasts (34.7%), exhaustion from waking up in the middle of the night, too many feeding sessions and long feeding sessions (31.8%), issues like baby biting (26.61%), milk supply issues (22.7%), breastfeeding in public (17.81%) and post-partum depression (17.42%).
38% moms further mentioned that initial days after the birth of the baby were the most challenging time of their breastfeeding journey. Finally, the survey evidenced that support from family is fundamental in a successful breastfeeding journey. Fortunately, 64% moms received this much-required familial support in abundance. Additionally, 37% moms further mentioned that they received support from their spouse, 24% moms turned to the internet for breastfeeding advice, while only 19.9% sought medical advice. Despite the support from their families and spouses, 30% of mothers found balancing family demands and work a challenge while breastfeeding.
Speaking on the study, Prashant Sinha, Co-Founder & COO of Momspresso said, “Momspresso has always strived to create a safe space for moms to discuss their challenges and seek support for the same. When a baby is born, the entire focus shifts from the woman going through the tough post-pregnancy stage to the newborn baby. This Breastfeeding Week, we believe it is time for us to understand that new moms need care and attention as well. It is essential, now, to recognize the common issues faced by young moms and start a conversation leading to action on how to make the breastfeeding journey easier for them. The moms who took part in the survey gave us surprising and poignant insights into their journey as new mothers. Through our survey, our overarching goal has been to help these moms realize that they are not alone in their journeys and to also bring out the issues they face to the fore. Further, we believe that the study’s results will encourage spouses, families and workplaces, to extend increased support and empower breastfeeding Indian moms.”
Commenting on the research, Emilie Moulard, MD, Medela said, “Breastfeeding has long been deemed the most “natural thing” in India, supported by statistics where two thirds of mothers breastfeed for at least two years. However, this great figure hides the fact that exclusive breastfeeding rates are actually quite low and that too often society (health professionals, family etc.) fails a mother who faces challenges related to breastfeeding. Surveys like this one shows that the taboo of breastfeeding is slowly fading away. And being able to identify hurdles will be of great help to provide solutions to make sure that every mother who wants to give her baby her milk can do so. Even if the baby is premature and kept away from her. Even if she gets cracked nipple or engorgement. Even if she has to go back to office. There is always a solution.”
The survey successfully revealed that dedicated super-moms breastfeed their babies in spite of the numerous issues they come across every day. In fact, it also highlighted that despite breastfeeding being a natural part of motherhood, breastfeeding does not come naturally to moms. This survey was instrumental in underlining that external factors can have a profound impact on breastfeeding moms and by providing a positive, supportive environment for them, they can be helped in nourishing their babies without compromising on their own physical and mental well-being.