Breastfeeding promotion is a movement that came about in the twentieth century in response to high rates of bottle-feeding among mothers, and in recognition of the many health benefits to both mothers and children that breastfeeding offers. While infant formula had been introduced in developed countries in the 1920s as a healthy way to feed one’s children, the emergence of research on health benefits of breastfeeding precipitated the beginning of the breastfeeding promotion movement in the United States
Breastfeeding offers many benefits to your baby. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients to help your infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect your infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections. It may also help your health. Certain types of cancer may occur less often in mothers who have breastfed their babies.
Women who don’t have health problems should try to give their babies breast milk for at least the first six months of life. There are some cases when it’s better not to breastfeed. If you have HIV or active tuberculosis, you should not breastfeed because you could give the infection to your baby. Certain medicines, illegal drugs, and alcohol can also pass through the breast milk and cause harm to your baby.
If you are having problems with breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant.