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    The AAP continues to support the unequivocal evidence that breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions. Read about the benefits of breastfeeding, the few true contraindications and the role of the pediatrician.



    Home  /  Patient Care  /  Breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding Policy Statement

    The AAP policy, Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk is one of the most accessed AAP policies.

    View Policy

    Breastfeeding Overview

    The AAP continues to support the unequivocal evidence that breastfeeding protects against a variety of diseases and conditions. Read about the benefits of breastfeeding, the few true contraindications and the role of the pediatrician.

    Learn More

    AAP Recommendations

    The AAP provides recommendations and guidelines to support pediatricians and other health care professionals working with breastfeeding families.

    View Policies

    Professional Tools and Resources

    Physician Education and Training on Breastfeeding

    Learn more about resources created from this CDC funded cooperative agreement.

    Breastfeeding Practice Tools for Health Professionals

    View a collection of resources for health professionals supporting breastfeeding families.

    Breastfeeding Laws & Workplace Support

    Learn how pediatricians can support breastfeeding workers.

    Section on Breastfeeding

    Join the Section to connect with breastfeeding advocates from around the country and create change through education, policy and advocacy.

    Chapter Breastfeeding Coordinators

    Learn how to become a state advocate or contact the advocate in your state.

    Breastfeeding Curriculum

    This curriculum is designed to help pediatric residents develop confidence and skills in breastfeeding care.

    Donor Milk Drive Toolkit

    Want to organize your own Donor Milk Drive? Learn how!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    View these frequently asked breastfeeding questions.

    Podcasts and Voices Blogs

    Learn what others are saying. Listen to our podcasts and read our blog posts.

    Breastfeeding - Episode 23

    Hosts David Hill, MD, FAAP, and Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP discuss with Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, MPH, FAAP, strategies for increasing rates of breastfeeding.

    Pediatrics on Call | October 6, 2020

    Racial Disparities in Breastfeeding - Epsiode 57

    In this episode Shaquita Bell, MD, FAAP, lead author of the AAP policy statement, Caring for American Indian and Alaska Native Children and Adolescents, offers strategies for connecting with indigenous families. Hosts David Hill, MD, FAAP, and Joanna Parga-Belinkie, MD, FAAP, also talk to S. Kam Lam, MD, MPH, MS, FAAP, about the roots of racial disparities in breastfeeding.

    Pediatrics on Call- | April 20, 2021

    Breastfeeding Success

    In an AAP Voices post, Julie Ware, MD, MPH, IBCLC, FAAP discusses breastfeeding.

    Voices Blog | August 2, 2019

    Debunking Breastfeeding Myths for New Mothers

    Pediatricians are urged to provide their expertise to debunk myths and misinformation that new mothers may hear that can affect whether they choose to breastfeed their infants.

    Voices Blog | July 26, 2017

    Source : www.aap.org

    AAP says breastfeed longer in new guidance, calls for policy change

    The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidance on breastfeeding Monday. Here's what you need to know.

    Breastfeed for 2 years or longer, new American Academy of Pediatrics guidance suggests

    Wyatte Grantham-Philips


    On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidance on breastfeeding.

    The AAP still recommends breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant's life, but now also supports continued breastfeeding for two years or longer.

    The AAP also called on policy change to address obstacles for parents who choose to breastfeed, while acknowledging that breastfeeding isn't an option for everyone.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidance on breastfeeding – extending the recommended time for parents to breastfeed their children, while calling for policy change and "nonjudgmental support" for all families' feeding choices.

    In policy recommendations published on Monday, the AAP maintained its guidance to breastfeed infants exclusively in the first six months of their lives, before introducing other foods to complement nutrition. Now, the AAP is also urging pediatricians to support those who choose continued breastfeeding after solid foods are introduced for two years or longer.

    "We know that any breastfeeding is better than none... and the longer the total duration of breastfeeding the better," Dr. Joan Younger Meek, lead author of the AAP reports and a professor emeritus in clinical sciences at the Florida State University College of Medicine, told USA TODAY, pointing to breastfeeding health benefits for both babies and their parents.

    Still, Meek and the AAP noted, persisting stigma, lack of support and barriers in the workplace can often be obstacles for parents who choose to breastfeed – especially limiting those who want to breastfeed beyond one year.

    The authors of the new guidance also acknowledged that some parents can't breastfeed or prefer not to – again advocating for health care professionals to support each family's needs.

    Voices:Support for breastfeeding moms is already abysmal. The pandemic is making it worse.

    Monday marked the first time the AAP's breastfeeding guidance has been updated in 10 years. Here's what you need to know about its new recommendations.

    Why is the AAP extending its recommended time for breastfeeding?

    In addition to providing key nutrients to infants, research has shown links between breastfeeding and decreased rates of lower respiratory tract infections, obesity, severe diarrhea, ear infections and decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome, the AAP says.

    "Breast milk is unique in its nutrients and protective effects, and really quite remarkable when you look at what it does for a child’s developing immune system," Meek said in a statement with Monday's policy recommendations.

    Breastfeeding beyond one year and for up to two years has been associated with protections for the breastfeeding parent against high blood pressure, diabetes and breast and ovary cancers, according to the AAP.

    What's everyone talking about?:Sign up for our trending newsletter to get the latest news of the day

    Meek noted that the AAP's updated guidance aligns with the World Health Organization's recommendations on breastfeeding – which similarly recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life and then continuing to breastfeed while supplementing nutrition with complementary foods for up to two years and beyond.

    Still, it's important to note that breastfeeding isn't an option for everyone – and that many use infant formula or seek out breast milk banks instead, in addition to supplementing their child's nutrition with some solids after six months.

    According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017, about 84% of infants started breastfeeding when they were born. However, around 58% were still breastfeeding at 6 months.

    What are safe substitutes for baby formula? Amid worsening shortage, avoid homemade recipes

    Meek underlined the importance of health care professionals supporting each family's decision and needs.

    "The ultimate decision about how to feed the baby is a family decision and health care providers need to really meet families where they are," Meek said. "We know that not every family is going to be able to do exclusive breastfeeding for six months. We know that not every family is going to continue breastfeeding for up to 24 months... For those families that, either for medical reasons or by choice, decide that breastfeeding isn't right for them, we need to equally support them and not make them feel shamed or bad because they made a different decision."

    More support needed for breastfeeding, 'chestfeeding'

    For parents who can and choose to breastfeed, obstacles from persisting stigma and lack of support, especially in the workplace, continue, the AAP notes.

    In Monday's recommendations, the AAP called for "policies that protect breastfeeding" – including universal paid maternity leave, insurance coverage for breast pumps and lactation support, the right to breastfeed in public, universal break time at workplaces with private locations for expressing milk and on-site child care.

    “The AAP views breastfeeding as a public health imperative and also as an equity issue,” Dr. Lawrence Noble, co-author of the policy statement and technical report, said in a statement. “Pediatricians and other medical professionals can help mothers meet their intended goals for breastfeeding and provide care that is inclusive, equitable, and culturally sensitive.”

    Source : www.usatoday.com

    The New AAP Breastfeeding Recommendations 2022

    The new 2022 AAP breastfeeding recommendations include a call for longer breastfeeding beyond age 2 and for more support for parents.

    AAP now recommends breastfeeding beyond age 2 due to benefits for both baby and mother

    The organization also recognizes that more social support is needed to make that happen.

    By Jessica D'Argenio Waller, MS, CNS, LDN June 28, 2022

    Helena Lopes/Pexels

    For the first time in a decade, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated their guidance on breastfeeding. In a new policy statement, the organization continues to recommend exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months of age (unchanged from their 2012 guidelines), but newly supports continuing to breastfeed for two years or more, “as mutually desired by mother and child.”

    On an empathetic note, AAP also recognizes that more social and workplace support is needed to make that happen—and that pediatricians can play a key role in advocating for better policies for breastfeeding parents.

    ​​“We need societal changes that will help to support this, such as paid leave, more support for breastfeeding in public and child care facilities and workplace support,” says Joan Younger Meek, MD, MS, RD, FAAP, FABM, IBCLC, lead author of the new recommendations, to The New York Times.

    Previous guidelines suggested that breastfeeding should be continued for one year or longer. The new recommendations for longer breastfeeding are in line with those of the American Academy of Family Physicians and Canadian Paediatric Society, and the shift comes as a result of recent evidence showing more benefits from longer breastfeeding not just for the baby—but also for the mother.

    Benefits of breastfeeding longer than 2 years

    “Human milk is all a baby needs for the first six months of life,” says Dr. Meek in a statement. “Breast milk is unique in its nutrients and protective effects, and really quite remarkable when you look at what it does for a child’s developing immune system.”

    But in the second year of a baby’s life, early data show that breast milk continues to be a major source of macronutrients and immunologic factors, helping toddlers’ immune development.

    Children who were breastfed tend to have fewer illnesses in general, including lower rates of ear infections, severe diarrhea, lower respiratory illnesses, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), childhood leukemia, diabetes, obesity, asthma and atopic dermatitis.

    Related: Any amount of breastfeeding for 2 months can cut SIDS risk in half

    Studies also reveal that breastfeeding beyond one year has big benefits for mothers, too, in terms of decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

    “In the medical community, there has often been this tendency to support breastfeeding up until a child’s first birthday,” Dr. Meek said to The Times. “After that, it’s like, ‘Well, there’s no reason to continue breastfeeding.’” The new research proves otherwise.

    Breastfeeding mothers need more support

    Even still, most babies aren’t meeting that initial 6-month goal. According to AAP, more than 80% of U.S. mothers initiate breastfeeding, but by 6 months, 58% are still breastfeeding in combination with formula feeding, and just 25.8% are still exclusively breastfeeding. Only 35% of babies are still breastfed at 1 year.

    It’s clear that more support is desperately needed to help encourage breastfeeding rates by the 6 month mark—and well beyond. That starts with pediatricians, whom the AAP suggests should have “nonjudgmental conversations” with parents about the benefits of breastfeeding, while also acknowledging that exclusive breastfeeding is not always possible for every parent/child dyad.

    Related: AAP releases new 2022 safe sleep guidelines: Here's what parents and caregivers need to know

    Pediatricians are encouraged to support any decision parents make around breastfeeding, as children can thrive on a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding, or solely on formula feeding alone.

    We also can’t ignore the fact that outside of pediatrician support, breastfeeding parents need more workplace flexibility and social support to help meet this milestone.

    In the new policy statement, AAP encourages pediatricians to advocate for parents, supporting universal paid leave, insurance coverage for lactation support, the right to breastfeed in public, remote work and flex-work opportunities, on-site childcare, and the ability to work around a breastfeeding or pumping schedule, all of which are integral to breastfeeding success for working parents.

    Establishing better breastfeeding support in the early months will have major dividends in terms of later breastfeeding success—and both baby and mother’s future health.

    “Breastfeeding can be challenging for new parents, and support from their families, doctors and work places is essential,” Dr. Meek says. “The health benefits are vast and can be viewed as a long-term investment not only in a child’s development, but to public health as a whole.”


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