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Research shows there’s no such thing as ‘normal’ breastfeeding

When it comes to breastfeeding, the information age has had both positive and negative impacts. While we’re able to access information whenever we want it, there’s an overabundance of often conflicting data about the dos and don’ts and the rights and wrongs of breastfeeding – not to mention the continuous forum discussions and inevitable comparisons between mothers.

Unsurprisingly, many women are left confused and wondering if their experience is ‘normal’ or if they’re simply going about breastfeeding the wrong way.

The findings of a recent study will be enough to make most breastfeeding mums breathe a sigh of relief, answering some of the most commonly asked questions, while at the same time debunking the idea of what’s ‘normal’.

The research, conducted by lactation researcher Jacqueline Kent, confirms that there is, in fact, no breastfeeding norm, no specific pattern that infants will, or need to adopt and certainly no set of rules that benchmark the right way to breastfeed.

According to the results, every breastfeeding relationship between mum and baby is unique and will adapt and change throughout the breastfeeding period.

The differences may appear extreme, but are natural and not necessarily an indication of insufficient milk supply or other problems.

In other words, infants control their milk intake to match their appetite and growth rate, taking what they need when they need it, and can show a wide variety of feeding patterns.

Not only do babies change these patterns often, but each infant is unique in those changes, so there’s no need for them to conform to an average – which is great news for mums who are constantly worrying about what’s normal.

The findings may alter the way health professionals guide mothers in future, improving mothers’ confidence and removing some of the never-ending pressure to ‘get it right’.

For more information click here to download a PDF.

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