Moms who plan to exclusively breastfeed for at least three months are not keeping their goals, a new study says.

More than 85% of new moms said they intended to breastfeed for three months or more but only 32.4% actually met their mark.

A full 15 percent of these breastfeeding-intentioned moms stop nursing before they even leave the hospital.

The statistics were published in an article in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  The study was based on questionnaires completed by thousands of moms on a monthly basis between 2005 and 2007 as part of a joint study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration.

Moms who were obese or smoked were less likely to breastfeed exclusively.   Moms who were most likely to meet their breastfeeding goals were married and had given birth to other children.  They also started to breastfeed within an hour of birth, and their babies were less likely to be given formula or pacifiers during the hospital stay.

Breastfeeding exclusively while in the hospital without supplemental formula was the most significant factor in reaching breastfeeding goals.  I share my own experience when I had my first child.

So… the fact that formula companies are targeting new moms as soon as they are able, are making it “easier” for moms to stop breastfeeding.

It seems that many hospitals in the United States are set up to hinder breastfeeding, rather than encourage and help moms who want to nurse.

It’s clear that nursing soon after birth is crucial to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship.

But it’s also very clear that avoiding formula is also a way to ensure that moms nurse… however, new moms seem to find formula as an option at every turn; the hospital, the doctor’s office and even with free samples and coupons in the mail.

According to the advocacy group Public Citizen, nearly two-thirds of US hospitals still give out free formula samples to new moms.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for about the first six months of their baby’s life.


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.


  1. Breastfeeding isn”t always easy, as many know I could not, I tried but after a few boob jobs not so much BUT I am a huge breastfeeding advocate. I totally agree its best and healthiest I wish I could have done it but I also don’t think I am going to attempt again because I have had way too much damage. I do think that formula and bad information in general are pushed way to much in hospitals. In ours they even had formula under the babies bed. Those first few days after baby is born we all know is hard and putting it right there does make quiting so EASY. A great BF advocate on twitter who is an awesome support is @wolf_mommy if anyone is struggling look her up, she ROCKS as fas as support.

  2. Whenever I come across a breast vs bottle feeding article, I just want to scream “Enough!” . So much pressure on mamas! I will never forget the ridiculous stress that was placed on me as a new mom, to breast feed. I bottle fed my boys, and 10 years later, they have always been smart, healthy, active , rarely sick children.

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