Nearly 90 percent of breastfeeding mothers in Taiwan have gone to great lengths to seek ways to boost breast milk production for the sake of their babies’ health, but sleep deprivation and frequent pumping are major problems for most of them, a survey by a lactation consultant found.
The poll, conducted between March 25 and Friday last week of 385 women with at least one child aged below six months, found that 88 percent of respondents who were breastfeeding had taken steps to stimulate production of breast milk because they worried they might not be producing enough to feed their babies.
“Of them, 36.9 percent tried pumping milk every one to two hours, of whom 23 percent adhered to this frequent pumping schedule for three consecutive months,” Huang Tzu-li (黃資裡), an international board certified lactation consultant, told a press conference in Taipei yesterday.
In an effort to strike a balance between their post-pregnancy career and their babies’ nutrition, 71 percent of those polled tried to collect as much breast milk as possible and store it in the freezer before they recommenced working.
Sixty-four percent of respondents continued pumping breast milk after going back to work, Huang said.
Asked what bothered them most about trying to boost breast milk production, the respondents put sleep deprivation first, followed by exhaustion from frequent pumping and lower back pain, the survey found.
Low milk supply is a major cause of anxiety among new mothers, Huang said, citing as an example a woman who resorted to the Internet to “borrow breast milk” from another mother, only to find out a month later that the latter was a hepatitis B carrier.
Huang said stress could be causing problems with pumping, and she encourages women to seek ways to make the effort less stressful.
“As stress can influence the secretion of prolactin, a hormone responsible for initiating and sustaining lactation, breastfeeding women are advised to create a relaxing environment for themselves when pumping, such as playing their favorite songs and lighting a scented candle,” she said.
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