Breastfeeding is a normal part of mothers and babies being together. It is what nature intended for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding isn’t just about the milk though. Breastfeeding helps to build a bond that can last a lifetime!
Pediatricians recommend that babies be fed only breast milk for the first 6 months of life. Solid foods should be fed at about 6 months and breastfeeding should continue until the baby is at least 1 year of age or older.
In the United States, it is recommended that women with HIV or AIDS not breastfeed, as the virus can be passed to their baby through breast milk. If you do not know your HIV status, please ask your health care provider for an HIV test.
When the normal breastfeeding relationship does not take place, health problems can occur. Babies who are not breastfed and women who do not breastfeed can have more health problems. Here are just a few of the possible problems that can occur:
- Infants who are not breastfed are at higher risk of obesity, diabetes, asthma, and ear infections. These infants also may have more learning problems. These problems can occur during childhood and/or adulthood.
- Mothers who don’t breastfeed have higher stress levels and are more likely to be overweight. They also are at higher risk of breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer; type 2 diabetes; osteoporosis; and rheumatoid arthritis.
For more information, Visit FloridaHealth's Breastfeeding webpage.