How Long Should A Mother Breastfeed ?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months after a baby is born.  However, breastfeeding should continue at least for the first year.

Breastfeeding has long been known to offer benefits to babies and mothers.

Benefits for the babies:

  • Developing a stronger immune system
  • Obtaining a well-balanced diet

Benefits to mothers who breastfeed for a year include a:

  • Lower risk of breast cancer
  • Lower risk of ovarian cancer
  • Lower risk of high blood pressure
  • Lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lower risk of developing diabetes

Weaning a baby off breastfeeding usually begins when other types of food are introduced into the diet. The WHO and AAP recommend that this occur at the six month mark. A baby who is starting to eat solid food may not require as much breastmilk for nutrition. It is best to slowly wean a baby off of breastmilk instead of stopping suddenly.

There is no evidence to indicate that long term breastfeeding can be harmful to a baby’s or mother’s health.

Ultimately the decision for how long to breastfeed will be up to the mom and her baby. Speak to your baby’s pediatrician for their guidance on the recommendations. If you would like to schedule an appointment with a pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.