Optimizing Support for Breastfeeding as Part of Obstetric Practice
By American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Obstetric Practice
Although most women in the United States initiate breastfeeding, more than one half wean earlier than they desire. As reproductive health experts and advocates for women’s health who work in conjunction with other obstetric and pediatric health care providers, obstetrician–gynecologists are uniquely positioned to enable women to achieve their infant feeding goals. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding as complementary foods are introduced through the infant’s first year of life, or longer as mutually desired by the woman and her infant. Because lactation is an integral part of reproductive physiology, all obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should develop and maintain knowledge and skills in anticipatory guidance, physical assessment and support for normal breastfeeding physiology, and management of common complications of lactation. Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should support each woman’s informed decision about whether to initiate or continue breastfeeding, recognizing that she is uniquely qualified to decide whether exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding, or formula feeding is optimal for her and her infant. Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should support women in integrating breastfeeding into their daily lives in the community and in the workplace. The offices of obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should be a resource for breastfeeding women through the infant’s first year of life, and for those who continue beyond the first year.
November 15, 2017
'Optimizing Support for Breastfeeding as Part of Obstetric Practice' (2016). Obstetrics And Gynecology: Vol. 127, pp. e86-e92. Available online: https://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Optimizing-Support-for-Breastfeeding-as-Part-of-Obstetric-Practice