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Breastfeeding and its benefits

Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition and important antibodies that protect infants from infection and other diseases, such as:

  • Lower risk of developing sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.
  • Reduced rate of diarrhea.
  • Fewer respiratory tract infections.
  • Lower risk of developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
  • Lower risk of developing childhood leukemia and other diseases.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life, and then, with the addition of complementary solid food feedings, continue to breastfeed for at least a year and into the second year of life and beyond, as long as it is mutually desired by mother and baby. Breastfeeding women also experience health benefits, including reduced rates of ovarian and breast cancer, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes, cardiac problems and hypertension.

While breastfeeding is natural, it does not always come naturally. Both mother and baby need to learn to breastfeed. With the help of our UF Health breastfeeding experts, health care providers and breastfeeding support groups, you and your baby can enjoy the benefits and rewards of breastfeeding.

Baby-Friendly Designation

In 2015, UF Health Shands Children's Hospital was awarded the Baby-Friendly designation by Baby-Friendly USA, a global initiative of the World Health Organization and UNICEF that recognizes birthing facilities that implement policies known to improve breastfeeding outcomes for infants and mothers. These are commonly known as the 1 O Steps to Successful Breastfeeding. Step 10 is specific to outpatient support for breastfeeding mothers for any problems that may occur. Our practices have prioritized the unique needs of breastfeeding families so that services are patient-centered and can also be offered as outreach to families who see other providers.

UF Health Shands Children's Hospital is the only academic-based health facility in the state of Florida, the seventh hospital in the state of Florida and one of the only hospitals in North Central Florida that successfully implemented all of the required standards for this designation.

Breastfeeding support at UF Health Pediatrics

We offer specialty care that is:

  • Family-centered
  • Evidence-based
  • Culturally sensitive
  • Collaborative between your hospital's lactation program and that of your personal health care providers

Our breastfeeding services include assessing, treating and offering advice for the following:

  • Breastfeeding complications
  • Breastfeeding positions
  • Low milk supply
  • Mastitis
  • Maternal chronic and acute illness
  • Oversupply and overactive letdown
  • Sore nipples
  • Yeast infections

We also assess and treat infant problems, such as:

Our locations

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Clinical Trials: Breastfeeding

UF Health research scientists make medicine better every day. They discover new ways to help people by running clinical trials. When you join a clinical trial, you can get advanced medical care. Sometimes years before it's available everywhere. You can also help make medicine better for everyone else. If you'd like to learn more about clinical trials, visit our clinical trials page. Or click one of the links below:


The impact of breastfeeding on the infant microbiome in vaginally and Cesarean delivered offspring from obese and normal weight mothers.

Accepting Candidates
18 Years - 45 Years

Community and Patient Programs: Breastfeeding

Our community and patient programs provide great value to patients, families and loved ones. People can find support, educational materials, expert consultants and more. In most instances, these programs are offered free of charge.

Calendar Events and Lectures: Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Class

The Breastfeeding Class is intended to provide important information about the basics of breastfeeding. Please schedule your childbirth classes so…

Breastfeeding Class

The Breastfeeding Class is intended to provide important information about the basics of breastfeeding. Please schedule your childbirth classes so…

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News and Patient Stories: Breastfeeding

Shakira Henderson named UF College of Nursing dean

October 26, 2023

Shakira Henderson, Ph.D., D.N.P., M.S., M.P.H., EMBA, has been named dean of the University of Florida College of Nursing — the sixth in the college’s 67-year…

College of Nursing, +2 more

Shakira Henderson
More Breastfeeding stories

Latest podcast episodes

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Pacifiers could promote breastfeeding

It’s up there with colic and non-nappers as far as new moms’ worst nightmares: nipple confusion. It can happen when newborns forget how to nurse from the breast if they’re introduced to a pacifier...

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