Many new mothers are under so much pressure to breastfeed, they have been psychologically distressed by their experiences, says a new study.
The women, who all gave birth in Auckland in 2005, raised their concerns during interviews with clinical psychologist Leanne Taylor-Miller, according to Sunday Star Times.
AdvertisementEight of the 32 mothers she spoke to were 'psychologically distressed' by their experiences.
Almost all the women had planned to breastfeed, but half found it much more painful and difficult than they expected.
More than a quarter had a positive experience and felt supported by health workers.
"I understand why breastfeeding is promoted," Stuff.co.nz quoted Taylor-Miller as saying.
"However, I think it needs to be acknowledged that there is potentially a significant negative impact on women who cannot breastfeed, and I don't feel that's been addressed. I think that is potentially a big problem," Taylor-Miller added.
The research, through the University of Auckland, is qualitative so the data cannot be translated to the wider population, but Taylor-Miller says it backs up anecdotal evidence that mothers who struggle to breastfeed are being overlooked by the system - and she warns that could trigger post-natal depression or anxiety.