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A new analysis, published online in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, shows that if you’re extroverted and less anxious you’re far more likely to breastfeed and to continue to breastfeed than introverted or anxious moms. Considering how people still give moms slack (yes, even today) about breastfeeding in public, and sometimes even in private, this research makes total sense. Sad sense, but sense all the same. The research analysis notes that if care providers meet mothers-to-be with certain personality traits, they may need to be offered some additional support and education in order to help them feel confident, knowledgeable and ready to breastfeed. The trick is both to recognize an introverted mom when you see her and to figure out what exactly might make moms feel more confident and supported. Researcher Amy Brown, PhD, of Swansea University in the United Kingdom, who worked on this study notes, “The important message from the findings is that some mothers may face more challenges with breastfeeding based on their wider personality. Although they may want to breastfeed, more introverted or anxious mothers may need further support in boosting their confidence and learning about how to solve problems, and they may need encouragement to make sure they access the breastfeeding support services that are available.”
What this study means to you
Breastfeeding is woefully unsupported in the United States so you’ll need to look for support, as it won’t just fall into your lap. If you’re pregnant and know you’re introverted and/or more prone to anxiety, you might want to consider seeking early support and getting your partner on board to ensure breastfeeding success. You can also hunt down a breastfeeding-friendly hospital or birth center plus hire a midwife vs. a doctor (women with midwives have better luck breastfeeding). Breastfeeding in public is harder to learn to manage. It can really help to breastfeed when other women are too. As an extrovert myself, I didn’t have huge an issue breastfeeding in public, but outgoing or not, I didn’t love when my son would pop his head up leaving me exposed – not fun! That in mind, I suggest you get a few good organic nursing cover-ups, such as the Petunia Pickle Bottom Organic Nursing Cover (shown above), or some nursing tees, which will alleviate a lot of stress when breastfeeding around others. Even a decent sweater works in a pinch.