NPR

Considering Breast-Feeding? This Guide Can Help

The vast majority of pregnant women in the U.S. say they plan to breast-feed, but aren't told that many new moms worldwide find it tricky. Being mentored the first weeks after birth can help a lot.
San Francisco lactation counselor Caroline Kerhervé — with kids of her clients — during a weekly session of a new mothers' group she coached in May. Source: Courtesy of Caroline Kerherve

There's a big push in the U.S. from pediatricians to have mothers of newborns breast-feed exclusively for at least six months.

And many new moms want to. But only about 60 percent who start off breast-feeding keep it up for six months or more, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Shots interviewed nearly a dozen lactation consultants, pediatricians and researchers who had tips for women on how to reach their breast-feeding goals. Here's a quick guide to their advice.

1. Expect problems at first

Many people think of breast-feeding as automatic and expect it to be easy, says Caroline Kerhervé, a leading lactation educator and counselor in San Francisco.

"We often think moms and babies will know exactly what

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