National Breastfeeding Month: New recommendations from AAP
August is National Breastfeeding Month, an annual opportunity to bring attention to initiatives in our community that promote best practices for optimal health for families of infants. Globally, the first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week. This year’s theme is “Step Up for Breastfeeding." Why does it matter?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated the Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk Policy, reinforcing previous recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of a child’s life and extending through 2 years of age. The recommendations arise from the ever-mounting evidence of the improved health outcomes both infants and their mothers experience that have been linked to breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is known to reduce some chronic and acute pediatric issues, including:
- Ear infections
- Infectious diarrhea
- Respiratory illness
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Childhood leukemia
- Type 1 diabetes
- Allergic skin conditions
The benefits women experience when they breastfeed are known to reduce rates of:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer
There is a significant opportunity to make an impact in public health through improving breastfeeding rates. UF Health has answered the challenge to improve breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity.