Many people are aware that there are guidelines for breastfeeding—but what may be less known is that the guidelines are set and revised by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in conjunction with The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP). Currently, ACOG and AAP recommend only breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of life, and breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of solid foods up through 12 months. This pattern can be continued until mutually beneficial for mother and baby to discontinue.
Historically, some stigmas were attached to breastfeeding, particularly in public, and this prompted fewer women to breastfeed in the mid-20th century. However, a resurgence in popularity due to continued education regarding breastfeeding benefits began in about 1960 and has continued to the present time. Societal perceptions and the legal climate have changed over time to make breastfeeding easier and more acceptable. For example, it is now legal to breastfeed in public in all 50 states in the US. Understanding the benefits has aided in making breastfeeding the preferred method of feeding newborns in the US.
These benefits include:
- Breast milk includes all vital nutrients and vitamins required for the first 6 months of life
- Babies who breastfeed for the first 6 months of life have less ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and diarrhea
- Breastfeeding lowers incidence of allergies and asthma
- Breastfeeding helps shrink the mother’s uterus post-partum
- Breastfeeding can reduce stress and chances for postpartum depression
The above are just a handful of the benefits breastfeeding provides. Learn more about the other benefits in this post, “The 111 Benefits of Breastfeeding — For Babies, Moms & Everyone Else“. Or, view the full infographic at the bottom of this page.
According to the CDC Report Card, in 2012, 77% of mothers in the US started out breastfeeding their newborns, but 47% were still breastfeeding at 6 months, and even fewer at 12 months. These statistics illustrate that overall mothers have the intention of breastfeeding according to the guidelines, but for whatever reason it is difficult to initiate or continue. It is a natural process, but does not always happen so naturally. Sometimes it really takes work to initiate or continue breastfeeding. This is where lactation specialists can really help.
At Nurse Registry, we are able to provide help to mothers and their newborns. Learn more by visiting our page on Postpartum and Neonatal Care.
Learn more about the incredible benefits of breastfeeding your baby at Mom Loves Best