Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/16/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The Committees on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society have strongly recommended breastfeeding for fullterm infants (1,2). Human milk is recommended as the exclusive nutrient source for feeding fullterm infants during the first 6 months after birth and should be continued, with the addition of solid foods, at least through hthe first 12 months (1). The recommendation for human milk feeding arises because of its acknowledged benefits with respect to infant nutrition, gastrointestinal function, host defense, and psychological well-being. It is important to note that favorable outcomes of breastfeeding are reported both for infants and mothers. The unique species specificity of human milk should be considered in any discussion of the merits of breastfeeding. The incidence of breastfeeding in the United States increased during the 1970s and peaked in the mid-1980s. Nationwide figures for 1983 indicated that 62% %of women chose to breast feed their newborns (3). Recent data suggest that rates of initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding are increasing (4). To meet the challenge imposed by this increased awareness, pediatricians must expand their knowledge base to understand the reasons for breastfeeding as well as the potential difficulties that may be encountered, and the solutions to those difficulties (5). The following chapter will describe the reasons behind the recommendations for the exclusive use of human milk and current management issues in the breastfed infant.