How long should I breastfeed my baby?

My general response to this question is to set an initial goal of exclusive breastfeeding for your baby’s first six months. This is in keeping with not just the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) but is also consistent with the World Health Organization’s recommendation. All three organizations also recommend consideration of continued breastfeeding for the next 6-18 months with the addition of complementary solid foods. The WHO even recommends continued breastfeeding up to three years of age, if both mother and child elect. I find that sometimes patients are made to feel guilty or unworthy if they discontinue breastfeeding before the initial six-month goal. Often, there are legitimate physical or psychological reasons warranting a change to formula. It’s my role to inquire as to why, assist and provide resources and support if needed, but never to judge. I emphasize that any amount of breastfeeding provides benefit to your baby.

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