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It is a common occurrence that healthcare professionals working along with breastfeeding mothers experience instances of the mother completely stopping the weaning.  Women who have been thoroughly motivated may all of a sudden seem to become very hesitant about breastfeeding.  This may absolutely de-motivate the healthcare professional who has spent a lot of time, pain and efforts in demonstrating the importance and encouraging the mother to continue breastfeeding their child.

However, many new issues may be learned from such experiences.  Such cases have been identified throughout the world in spite of the cultural and socio-economic variations.  Certain factors such as age, income and ethnic background play a very important role in determining the duration of breastfeeding.  Obstacles that prevent breastfeeding also need to be studied.

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Some of the common reasons for stopping breastfeeding include breast pain, reduced latch and a feeling that the quantity of milk has decreased.  Sometimes, the healthcare workers may find it easy to educate the mother and motivate her to restart the feeding.  However, in most cases it is very difficult to promote the mother or the family to resume breastfeeding, as they tend to become very impatient.  Each case of breastfeeding cessation should be researched thoroughly.  The healthcare professional should be aware of the latest findings about breastfeeding so that they could add more weight to their arguments.

The professional should discuss the reasons for stopping breastfeeding with the mother.  Any obstacles that exist in communicating with the mother should appropriately be removed.  Mothers, who have made an ultimate decision to stop breastfeeding, should not be persuaded further.  Instead, the experience gained, should be considered for further cases.

Many mothers (who knew the importance of breastfeeding) felt that social and physical problems did not encourage continuation of the procedure.  This group soon realized that their decision was negative and restarted the feeding.  The healthcare worker should always try to demonstrate solutions that are realistically possible for the mother.  They should also take environmental and social aspects into consideration while discussing with the mother.

However, some mothers may continue to breastfeed their child no matter what others say or do.  These mothers can be used as a good example to demonstrate to those who do not understand the importance of breastfeeding.

References:

Heinig, M. J. (2006). The Ones That Got Away: When Breastfeeding Mothers Wean Their Infants Despite Our Efforts. J Hum Lact. 22(4).

http://jhl.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/22/4/385

CDC (2005). Breastfeeding: Promotion & Support. Retrieved November 22, 2006, from CDC Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/promotion/index.htm

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