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How long should I breastfeed my baby?

Eating & Nutrition   |   Age: 11 weeks 2 days


How long should I breastfeed my baby?

Like so many questions about your baby, the answer depends on what’s right for you and your family. Whether you’re staying home with your baby or going back to work at the end of your maternity leave, the length of the leave, and whether you’re comfortable pumping and storing milk for later when you’re at work are all factors which may influence your decision. Here are a few others:

  • The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that in order for your baby to get the most health benefits from your breast milk, she should be nourished exclusively through breastfeeding for the first six months of her life.
  • After the first six months, both organizations recommend starting to introduce solid foods, but as a supplement to breast milk, not a replacement.
  • General medical opinion says that while exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months is ideal, you should continue to feed your baby both solid food and breast milk for as long as the combination is right for both of you.
  • Some studies suggest that longer-term breastfeeding could provide a certain amount of protection for you as well, against breast cancer.
  • And remember, if for whatever reason you aren’t able to continue breastfeeding for as long as these recommendations suggest, any amount of time spent breastfeeding has a positive impact on your baby’s health and immune system!

When it comes down to it, the most important things to do when trying to figure out how long to breastfeed are to check with the doctor to make sure your baby is getting the right nutrition, and to do what works the best for your family. After all, no one knows your baby as well as you do!


Sources

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