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Aggressive support of breastfeeding is encouraged

Harold Mandel's picture
A mother breastfeeding her baby

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended offering interventions during pregnancy and after birth aimed at support of breastfeeding.


There has been a prevailing opinion that breastfeeding is best for a newborn baby and the mother. It is now suggested that very aggressive measures should be taken to encourage breastfeeding.

It is highly recommended to support breastfeeding

The Journal of the American Medical Association for the media reports it is highly recommended to support breastfeeding by offering interventions during the time of pregnancy and after birth. This recommendation has been made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

The evidence is substantial that breastfeeding gives substantial health benefits for kids. There is also adequate evidence that women gain moderate health benefits from breastfeeding. However there have been significant disparities in the rates of breastfeeding among mothers who are younger and in disadvantaged communities. Furthermore, about 50 percent of all mothers in the United States who initially breastfeed discontinue doing so by 6 months.

Women can be supported to breastfeed prior to and after childbirth

Women can be supported prior to and after childbirth via primary care clinicians with direct interventions or via referral to assist them in making an informed choice about how to best feed their infants. Good interventions include the promotion of the benefits of breastfeeding, offering practical advice and support which is direct on how to best breastfeed, and giving psychological support.

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The interventions which are offered can be considered professional support, peer support, and formal education. The interventions can include the woman’s partner, other members of the family, and friends.

The duration and rates of breastfeeding have been found to be increased with interventions to support breast feeding. Furthermore it has been found that there is good evidence to associate the potential harms of interventions aimed at supporting breastfeeding as being no greater than small.

The autonomy of women should be respected

Clinicians should be advised to respect the autonomy of women and their families to make decisions regarding breastfeeding which fit into their unique situation, values and preferences. Not every woman chooses to breastfeed and not all women are capable of doing so.

This study has been published in the journal JAMA. There has been a decreased risk of a variety of negative health outcomes in infancy and childhood associated with being breastfed. Acute illnesses included in this consideration are asthma, acute otitis media, atopic dermatitis, and gastrointestinal tract infection. Chronic illnesses considered herein are diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.

There are also positive maternal health outcomes with breastfeeding such as a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and maternal breast and ovarian cancer. It certainly appears like a good idea to encourage breastfeeding in the best interests of the health and well being of the baby and mother.