Women should discuss their desire and plans to breastfeed with clinicians, family and friends, employers, or child care providers.
Breastfeeding is one of the most effective steps a mother can take to protect the health of her baby and World Breastfeeding Week, is being held August 1-7, 2014.
The success rate among mothers who want to breastfeed can be greatly improved through active support from their families, friends, communities, clinicians, health care leaders, employers, and policymakers. Given the importance of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of mothers and children, it is critical that we take action across the country to support breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding for at least the first year as solid foods are introduced. However, many mothers in the US are not able to meet these recommendations. Data from the 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card show that in 2011, 79 percent of newborn infants started breastfeeding, 49 percent were still breastfeeding at six months and 27 percent were still breastfeeding at twelve months.
Professional breastfeeding support is an integral part of the system that can help mothers start and continue breastfeeding. Professional breastfeeding experts support breastfeeding when they assist mothers, create and administer breastfeeding programs, and educate other health professionals about breastfeeding.
Women should be encouraged to discuss with others their desire and plans to breastfeed, whether such persons are clinicians, family and friends, employers, or child care providers. When a woman has decided she wants to breastfeed, discussing her plans with her clinician during prenatal care and again when she is in the hospital or birth center for childbirth will enable her clinician to give her the type of information and assistance she needs to be successful.
Her partner and the baby’s grandmothers also play critical support roles when it comes to breastfeeding, both with regard to assisting in decision making about how the baby is fed and in providing support for breastfeeding after the baby is born.