New mums are completely baffled by conflicting medical advice on breastfeeding, a study reveals.
Mothers are confused about how often they should breastfeed, whether their baby is getting enough milk, and whether the ‘latch on’ is correct.
Just 30 per cent of new mums manage to breastfeed without any problems and a third are forced to give up completely, according to the research.
Novice parents are also unsure about when they should start weaning and potty training, how long their child should sleep for, and how many layers of clothing they should wear.
The widespread confusion emerged in a survey of 3,000 mums by Philips AVENT, which commissioned the study to mark Breastfeeding Awareness Week.
Spokeswoman Deneice (corr) Harwin said: ”For most mums, having their first baby is a confusing time, and without the right support, it can really affect those precious first weeks with their new baby.
”It’s completely new and you often need help and advice from other people to help you get to grips with so many aspects of becoming a mum.
”Feeding is definitely a priority for mums and because breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for a baby, mums are understandably keen to get it right.
”However it seems breastfeeding leaves the majority of them feeling confused.
”Surrounding yourself with a good support network of family, friends and healthcare professionals means that whenever you are worried about what you should be doing, you can speak to someone else for reassurance.”
The study revealed that a staggering 87 per cent of mums worried that they were doing something wrong during the first few months and years of their child’s life.
And a quarter put the confusion down to getting different advice from people and not knowing who to listen to.
New mums are most likely to listen to their own mothers, with 40 per cent taking the advice from them.
But when it comes to breastfeeding, 50 per cent of them turn to their midwife.
Researchers also found that just 30 per cent of mums were able to breastfeed without any problems, while 22 per cent succeeded after an initial struggle.
A third reluctantly had to stop breastfeeding altogether.
The majority (55 per cent) said they would have liked more advice when trying to breastfeed at first.
The research also revealed that more than 60 per cent of mums wish they had more general support when they had their first child.
Four in ten mums even joined a mother and baby group to try and get some peer support.
Vicki Scott, Philips AVENT’s feeding and wellbeing advisor said: ”Today’s busy mums may find it difficult to cope with their new lifestyle.
”Often living far from their families they do not have anyone to turn to, this is why having the right support from other mums and/or a midwife can make a real difference.
”Getting to grips with feeding is certainly one of the main concerns. Breastfeeding is a technique and as such has to be learned.
”The right advice from a midwife and/or a healthcare advisor helps mums be more confident and relaxed about feeding their baby.
”Once breast feeding is established, at about three or four weeks, expressing can help mum and dad enjoy the experience of nurturing their baby together.”
The study also found that over a quarter of mums who have more than one child said the advice changed between having their first and second babies.
Yet 23 per cent of those admit they did things the same way they did with their first child rather than taking the new advice.
”Second time mums are more confident and relaxed about their role,” added Vicki Scott.
”This is why they generally build on their previous experience and look for advice if necessary.”
Top ten most confusing things for new mums (in order)
1. How to breastfeed
2. When to start feeding a child solid food
3. What age to start potty training
4. How long a baby should sleep for
5. How many layers of clothing a newborn should wear
6. What age you can stop sterilizing bottles and feeding equipment
7. What a normal temperature is for a baby/toddler
8. How long you should leave a child crying for when doing controlled crying
9. What position a child should be in when they go to sleep
10. When to change a child from sleeping in a cot to a bed