Breastfeeding is "best-feeding," and whenever possible, recommended over formula. There are well-known health benefits for infants and mothers alike. Early benefits for infants include: reduced gastro-intestinal, respiratory, urinary tract, and middle-ear infections, as well as a reduction in skin allergies. Breastfeeding also offers protection against diseases such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity, in addition to being associated with higher IQ scores. Breastfeeding mothers experience a lower incidence of breast and ovarian cancers, obesity, and post-partum depression. They also experience the added benefit of accelerated, natural, post-partum weight loss.
At Pediatric Associates of Alexandria, we recognize these health benefits. We strive to promote, support, and protect our breastfeeding infants and their mothers. The American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization recommend infants to be fed exclusively on breast milk until 6 months of age, and as a supplement to solid foods through 12 months of age.
While breastfeeding is the optimal and ideal nutrition for infant feeding, it is a skill that mother and baby will learn together within the first few weeks of life. Mothers with known or prior risk-factors such as breast surgery and pregnancy-induced hypertension, or those experiencing a challenging breastfeeding situation, may benefit from face-to-face lactation support services.