Recommendations and Benefits
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeedingalert icon for about 6 months, and then continuing breastfeeding while introducing complementary foodsalert icon until your child is 12 months old or older. This provides your child with ideal nutrition and supports growth and development. You can read the full recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatricsexternal icon.
Vitamins & Minerals
Breastfed babies need additional vitamin D and iron. Although breast milk is an excellent source of the nutrition your baby needs, he or she will need to get extra vitamin D (beginning at birth) and iron (beginning at 4 months) from supplements. Learn more at Vitamins & Minerals.
Breastfeeding is good for both you and your baby. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most babies. As your baby grows, your breast milk will change to meet his or her nutritional needs. Breastfeeding can also help protect you and your baby against some short- and long-term illnesses and diseases.
Benefits to Baby
Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of:
- Type 1 diabetes.
- Severe lower respiratory disease.
- Acute otitis media (ear infections).
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea/vomiting).
- Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) for preterm infantsexternal icon.
Benefits to Mother
Mothers who breastfeed their babies have a lower risk of:
- Breast cancer.
- Ovarian cancer.
- Type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure.