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Breastfeeding Advocacy

In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) convened an expert panel to review the scientific evidence and discuss the potential use of the new WHO growth charts in clinical settings in the United States. The expert panel agreed that breastfeeding is the optimal form of infant feeding. They also agreed that using the WHO growth charts for children aged birth to younger than 2 years, which are based on breastfed infants as the standard, helps to support current infant-feeding recommendations in the United States.

U.S. Breastfeeding Goals

Exclusive breastfeeding of infants for about 6 months and continued breastfeeding for at least 12 months is a goal for mothers and their healthy infants to achieve.

The AAP recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months, with exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months.1 Other major health professional organizations agree with this recommendation for most infants in the United States. Examples of these organizations include the American Academy of Family Physicians,2 the American Dietetic Association,3 and the American Public Health Association.4

AAP supports the position that breastfeeding ensures the best possible health, as well as the best developmental and psychosocial outcomes for the infant. Exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for about the first 6 months of life.1


1American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy Statement. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics. 2012:129(3):e827-e841.

2American Academy of Family Physicians. Breastfeeding (Policy Statement). Accessed November 23, 2012.

3James DC, Lessen R; American Dietetic Association. Position of the American Dietetic Association: promoting and supporting breastfeeding. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109(11):1926-1942. Accessed November 23, 2012.

4American Public Health Association. A Call to Action on Breastfeeding: A Fundamental Public Health Issue. Policy Date 11/6/2007. Policy No.200714. Policy Statement Database. Accessed June 6, 2015.