Both the American Dietetic Association and the Centers for Disease Control recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of life, then for an additional six months as solid food is introduced. But in the United States only a fraction of infants are nursed that long, if at all.
Home from the hospital, many new mothers are often largely on their own. Their spouses or partners go back to work and extended family might not live nearby. Deprived of sleep, with no one experienced at breastfeeding close at hand to help them over common, yet painful, hurdles like clogged milk ducts, mastitis or thrush infections, new mothers may feel overwhelmed with the challenges of beginning to nurse their infants.