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A mother breastfeeding her baby.

What are the recommendations for breastfeeding?

In the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) currently recommends:1

  • Infants should be fed breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months after birth. Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant does not receive any additional foods (except vitamin D) or fluids unless medically recommended.
  • After the first 6 months and until the infant is 1 year old, the AAP recommends that the mother continue breastfeeding while gradually introducing solid foods into the infant's diet.
  • After 1 year, breastfeeding can be continued if mutually desired by the mother and her infant.

The World Health Organization currently promotes as a global public health recommendation that:2

  • Infants be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months after birth to achieve optimal growth, development, and health.
  • After the first 6 months, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for up to 2 years of age or beyond.

Citations

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  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 129(3), e827–e841. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827.full.pdf+html External Web Site Policy [top]
  2. World Health Organization. (2001). The World Health Organization’s infant feeding recommendation. Retrieved January 28, 2016, from http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding_recommendation/en/index.html External Web Site Policy [top]

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