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.
- 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
- 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
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). U.S. Breastfeeding Rates Are Up! More Work Is Needed. Retrieved March 2, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/resources/us-breastfeeding-rates.html