The most predominant concern, in 52 percent of mothers, was infant feeding at the breast, which refers to the behaviour of the baby, such as not "latching on" properly. Other concerns included breastfeeding pain (44 percent of mothers) and milk quantity (40 percent of mothers).
The researchers conducted a series of six interviews with 532 first-time mothers, beginning in pregnancy and also at three, seven 14, 30 and 60 days after giving birth.
The researchers received reports of thousands of breastfeeding problems and concerns. Those concerns reported at interviews conducted at days three and seven postpartum were strongly associated with subsequently stopping breastfeeding, according to Dr Laurie Nommsen-Rivers, PhD, a researcher in the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
She said that their findings indicate helping mothers meet their breastfeeding goals requires a two-pronged approach: Strengthening protective factors, like prenatal breastfeeding education and peer support, and ensuring that any concerns that do arise are fully addressed with professional lactation support, especially in those first few days at home.
The study has been published online in the journal Pediatrics.