The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding or breastmilk only for the first six months of life. The group also recommends that breastfeeding be continued up to and beyond the first year of life or as long and mother and child desire. Most women desire to exclusively breastfeed for six months and plan to breastfeed for one year or more.
Breast pain is the most frequently stated reason for early weaning. The longer breast pain is experienced, the more likely the mother will wean her baby before she intended to. Immediate intervention and treatment of breast pain is crucial to preserving the breastfeeding relationship, and help mother and child continue with breastfeeding.
Plugged ducts and mastitis are common conditions in breastfeeding that affect up to 20% of women. Both conditions cause pain and discomfort of the breast, which affects long-term breastmilk feeding goals. A plugged duct is an obstruction of milk flow in a portion of the breast, either at the nipple or further back in the ductal system. Mastitis is inflammation and infection of the breast. These conditions happen most often in the first six to eight weeks postpartum, but they can occur at any time during breastfeeding.