Research on Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding, sometimes called "nursing," can be a convenient and inexpensive way for a mother to feed her child. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Policy Statement on Breast-feeding, women who don't have health problems, like HIV, should exclusively breast-feed their infants for at least the first six months of life. AAP suggests that women try to breast-feed for the first 12 months of life because of the benefits to both mother and baby.

If a mother stops breast-feeding before the child is a year old, then she should feed her infant iron-fortified, commercially available formula. Health care providers advise women not to give their infants cow's milk until the child is at least a year old.

Breast-feeding offers many benefits to the baby. For instance, breast milk provides the right balance of nutrients to help an infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect an infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections, such as diarrhea and certain lung infections.