Breastfeeding has maternal, infant, and societal benefits. However, many parents experience obstacles to achieving their breastfeeding goals, leading to reduced rates of breastfeeding initiation and continuation. Despite efforts to increase rates of breastfeeding initiation and continuation, inequities still persist. The factors that influence an individual’s desire and ability to breastfeed are varied and include individual parent considerations; practitioner influences; hospital barriers; societal factors, such as workplace and parental leave policies; access to lactation support; and social support of their breastfeeding goals. A multidisciplinary approach that involves community, family, parents, and health care professionals will strengthen the support for parents and help them achieve their breastfeeding goals.
ACOG Committee Opinion, Number 821: Barriers to Breastfeeding: Supporting Initiation and Continuation of Breastfeeding