1999 to 2018 saw rise in rates of breastfeeding initiation

From 1999 to 2018, there was an increase in the prevalence of breastfeeding initiation and breastfeeding duration at 12 months, according to a research letter published online Nov. 13 in JAMA Pediatrics.


What women say about how breastfeeding affects their body image

The benefits of breastfeeding are well known—but the UK has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world. The WHO recommends that babies should be exclusively breastfed up to the age of six months (when they can start ...

Obstetrics & gynaecology

Breastfeeding in the setting of substance use

The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) has released new literature-based recommendations related to breastfeeding in the setting of substance use and substance use disorder (SUD) treatments. The new clinical protocol ...

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Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from human breasts rather than from a baby bottle or other container. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk. Most mothers can breastfeed for six months or more, without the addition of infant formula or solid food.

Human breast milk is the most healthful form of milk for human babies. There are a few exceptions, such as when the mother is taking certain drugs or is infected with tuberculosis or HIV. Breastfeeding promotes health, helps to prevent disease and reduces health care and feeding costs. In both developing and developed countries, artificial feeding is associated with more deaths from diarrhea in infants. Experts agree that breastfeeding is beneficial, but may disagree about the length of breastfeeding that is most beneficial, and about the risks of using artificial formulas.

Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and then supplemented breastfeeding for up to one (AAP) or two years or more (WHO). Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life "provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection" that are more common in babies fed formula. The WHO and AAP both stress the value of breastfeeding for mothers and children. While recognizing the superiority of breastfeeding, regulating authorities also work to minimize the risks of artificial feeding.

According to a WHO 2001 report, alternatives to breastfeeding include:

The acceptability of breastfeeding in public varies by culture and country. In Western culture, though most approve of breastfeeding, some mothers may be reluctant to do so out of fear of public opinion.

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