For years, physicians have recognized breastfeeding as the preferred method of feeding infants for at least one year because of the numerous health benefits it provides both baby and mother. Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has revised its guidance recommending that mothers breastfeed their child until age 2 or beyond, as long as mutually desired by both mother and baby.
“Breastfeeding is convenient, comforting and boosts your child’s immune system, providing protection against illness and conditions like allergies and asthma,” says Jolie Maehrer, RN, lactation consultant, Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN).
Maehrer adds that while breastfeeding is encouraged at LVHN, all mothers are supported however they choose to feed their baby and will be taught safe formula preparation if a mother is choosing to formula feed. “Our goal is that new mothers make an informed decision about their feeding goals. Our hospital policies support prenatal education on the benefits of breastfeeding.”
According to Maehrer, discussions about breastfeeding begin early during prenatal care. She notes that providers discuss the multiple benefits of breastfeeding to make sure that mothers are aware of the option.