Friday, May 09, 2008

Recommendations for Duration of Breastfeeding

International agencies and various US health organizations uniformly recommend breastfeeding as the preferred method of infant feeding for the entire first year of life and thereafter as long as is beneficial to the mother–infant dyad.1 and 52 These recommendations are based on knowledge that term infants nursed by nutritionally adequate mothers are provided with sufficient energy and the proper profile of nutrients to support normal growth and development without any additional foods through the first 4 to 6 months of life. After 6 months, complimentary foods are needed to furnish nutrients likely to become limiting. Also, human milk furnishes an array of nonnutrient growth factors, immune factors, hormones, and other bioactive components that can act as biological signals and confer protection against illness in infancy and later in life.20 and 43

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