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Healthline Connects

Breastfeeding is Best

World Breastfeeding Week: There’s nothing more important for newborns, infants and toddlers than providing ideal nutrition that contributes to their healthy growth and development. There is strong and growing evidence that breastfeeding offers natural health benefits to both mother and child. Breastfeeding reduces incidence and severity of infectious diseases by providing live antibodies delivered in breast milk as a protection. It also promotes sensory and cognitive development. Some recent studies have shown that the woman who breast feed have a lower incidence of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum stress.

Ever since the Innocenti Declaration was produced and adopted by participants at the WHO/UNICEF policymakers' meeting on “Breastfeeding in the 1990s”, there has been a world-wide initiative to promote breastfeeding. In observance of this global initiative La Leche League and other organizations in over 120 countries will celebrate World Breastfeeding Week to promote and advance the breastfeeding movement. The U.S. government recently spent $2 million on an ad campaign to promote breastfeeding.

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months as the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed their infants unless there are some contraindications such as infants with classic galactosemia; mothers who have active untreated tuberculosis disease, mothers who are receiving diagnostic or therapeutic radioactive isotopes or have had exposure to radioactive materials; mothers who are receiving antimetabolites or chemotherapeutic agents or a small number of other medications until they clear the milk; mothers who are using drugs of abuse; and mothers who have herpes simplex lesions on a breast. In the United States, mothers who are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have been advised not to breastfeed their infants.
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