Breastfeeding Struggles Often Sparks Guilt in Mothers


On this West Virginia Morning, we hear more from this week’s Inside Appalachia episode on breastfeeding. We explore the guilt mothers can sometimes face when trying to breastfeed and why many low-income mothers often choose formula over breastfeeding. We also have a discussion with Matthew Ferrence, author of “Appalachia North.”

This week, we’re hearing an Inside Appalachia series about breastfeeding. Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding babies for at least a year. And, breastfeeding has benefits for mothers too. Long term – mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of developing breast cancer. They also have better heart health. Some studies have even shown that moms who breastfeed have a lower chance of developing postpartum depression.

But all of this can also put pressure on women. Almost 900 women shared their experience being a mom in a recent survey distributed through social media by West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Many of the women who had tried breastfeeding faced some type of obstacle along the way. And that made a lot of them feel guilty. We share some of their stories.

Breastfeeding rates are lower among low-income women and higher among high-income women despite research that shows breastfeeding can provide lifelong health benefits to a baby and potentially save new parents’ money. Kara Lofton takes a look at why the disparity exists.

The book “Appalachia North” by Matthew Ferrence looks at what it means to be from Appalachia and not realize it. He grew up in a part of Pennsylvania that’s part of Appalachia according to the Appalachian Regional Commission, but no one there acknowledged that fact. Eric Douglas spoke to Ferrence over Skype about the book and his experiences.  

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

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Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Our producer is Liz McCormick.