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Breast Feeding

What is Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding, also called nursing, can be an easy and inexpensive way for a mother to feed her child.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement on Breastfeeding, women who don’t have health problems should exclusively breastfeed their infants for at least the first six months of life. The AAP suggests that women try to breastfeed for the first 12 months of life because of the benefits to both the mother and baby.


What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding offers many benefits to the baby:

Breastfeeding also benefits the mother:


What if I have trouble breastfeeding?

Even though breastfeeding is a natural process, it's not always easy. Many health care providers suggest that women get lactation support to learn how to breastfeed and what is involved with breastfeeding. Many health centers, clinics, and hospitals have lactation support specialists, such as an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), on staff. Ask your health care provider for more information about getting help with breastfeeding. Even with help, though, some women still have trouble breastfeeding or cannot breastfeed.


Are there cases in which it is better not to breastfeed?

In certain situations, health care providers may advise a woman not to breastfeed:

If a mother stops breastfeeding before the child is a year old, then she should feed her infant iron-fortified, commercially available formula. Health care providers advise women not to give their infants cow's milk until the child is at least a year old.

If you have any health conditions, or you are taking any medications or over-the-counter supplements, you should discuss breastfeeding with your health care provider.

Source: What is Breastfeeding? Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


Hope Through Research - You Can Be Part of the Answer!

Many research studies are underway to help us learn about breast feeding. Would you like to find out more about being part of this exciting research? Please visit the following links:


For more information:

Go to the Breast Feeding health topic, where you can:

Last Reviewed: May 30, 2012