Breastfeeding Recommendations From the AAP
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated their 1997 policy on breastfeeding. The new policy reflects new research and findings in the last several years regarding breastfeeding and the benefits of breastfeeding your baby.
Studies show that infants who are breastfed have a smaller number of instances of diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis. It is also possible that breastfeeding helps offer your baby protection against SIDS, diabetes, obesity and asthma later in life. Likewise, breastfeeding also has benefits for mom including reducing the possibility of ovarian and breast cancer, and possibly a decreased risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis in the postmenopausal period.
The policy recommendations include:
- Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.
- Mother and infant should sleep in proximity to each other to facilitate breastfeeding;Â
- Self-examination of mother’s breasts for lumps is recommended throughout lactation, not just after weaning;Â
- Support efforts of parents and the courts to ensure continuation of breastfeeding in cases of separation, custody and visitation;Â
- Pediatricians should counsel adoptive mothers on the benefits of induced lactation through hormonal therapy or mechanical stimulation.
- Recognize and work with cultural diversity in breastfeeding practices
- A pediatrician or other knowledgeable and experienced health care professional should evaluate a newborn breastfed infant at 3 to 5 days of age and again at 2 to 3 weeks of age to be sure the infant is feeding and growing well.
It is important to establish a good breastfeeding relationship with your baby from day one and to continue to breastfeed for as long as possible. The large majority of experts today agree that breastfeeding your baby is best for the first year and that the longer you breastfeed your baby the more your baby will benefit for it. If you are having trouble breastfeeding your baby you can contact a member of the La Leche League for support, or ask someone in the hospital after you deliver.
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