AAP Now Supports Continued Breastfeeding For 2 Years Or MoreThe American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its guidance on breastfeeding. Here's what you need to know.by Judy Santiago Aladin .
As a mom who has been breastfeeding her child for almost three years now, I could say that our journey is both beautiful and challenging. While I believe my breastmilk continues to give the nutrition that my child needs, it takes a lot of support and determination to do it successfully.
That's why when experts express their support to mothers who continue to nurse their children after two years, it is a validation that the journey - though sometimes exhausting - is worthwhile.
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its policy on breastfeeding, to align more closely with the World Health Organization.
Initially, the AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months.
On June 27, they released an update on their breastfeeding recommendation that they now "support continued breastfeeding after solid foods are introduced as long as the mother and the baby desire, for 2 years and beyond."
In their statement published on their website, the AAP said, "The United States has high goals to increase the number of babies receiving only breastmilk up to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding as part of their diet after that."
To be more specific, here are AAP's breastfeeding recommendations:
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- The AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding your baby for about the first 6 months. There is no need to give your baby infant formula or other sources of nutrition.
- Beyond 6 months, we recommend continued breastfeeding along with adding nutritious complementary foods. Your baby does not need any infant or toddler formula.
'Breastfeeding benefits mom and baby'
The group of pediatricians emphasizes the benefits of breastfeeding both for the mothers and their babies. "Breastfeeding can reduce by up to 64% the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and up to 40% overall infant deaths."
Experts say that breastfeeding can also help protect your baby against diseases, such as lower respiratory tract infections and severe or persistent diarrhea, asthma, eczema, Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, obesity, type 1 and 2 diabetes, leukemia, oral malocclusion and dental caries. A recent UK study has found that continued breastfeeding can increase a child's IQ.
The AAP stresses the importance of nutrition during your baby's first 1,000 days. They said that breastmilk is perfectly formulated for your baby's brain development and long-term health.
As for the update in their recommendation, AAP said that there are continued benefits from breastfeeding beyond 1 year, and up to 2 years especially for the mother's health. This includes protection against diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancers of the breast and ovaries. It can also lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Read the full statement of AAP here.
'Don't shame moms who can't breastfeed'
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, "We know that any breastfeeding is better than none... and the longer the total duration of breastfeeding the better."ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
Meek and the AAP also acknowledged that some parents are unable to breastfeed or prefer not to - and so they are urging the pediatricians to support them in their 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.
She adds, "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."
In the US, it has been reported that there has been a shortage of formula milk, due to the effects of pandemic and a recent recall.
In the Philippines, support for breastfeeding moms from health professionals as well as from their peers and employers is needed.
While the Milk Code is in place to ensure that moms are encouraged to breastfeed and has everything she needs to breastfeed her baby successfully, there are other factors that affect a mom's decision. These include lack of access to lactation experts and lack of awareness and support.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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