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The Ohio Department of Health recommends breastfeeding for about six months, with the addition of complementary foods, and continued to breastfeeding for one year or longer, as mutually desired by mom and baby.

Breast milk is the optimal source of nutrition for most infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.

Breastfeeding can reduce the risk for some short- and long-term health conditions for both infants and mothers.

Infants who are breastfed have reduced risks of:

  • Asthma
  • Obesity (during childhood)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Ear infections
  • Lower respiratory infections
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) for preterm infants

Breastfeeding can help lower a mother's risk of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer

Breastfeeding also keeps mother and baby close. Physical contact is important to newborns, and it helps them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers also benefit from the closeness and bonding.

If 90% of women breastfed exclusively for six months, the United States would save $13 billion annually from reduced direct medical and indirect costs and the cost of premature death and 911 infant deaths could be prevented each year.*

*Bartick M, Reinhold A. The burden of suboptimal breastfeeding in the United States: a pediatric cost analysis. Pediatrics. 2010;125:e1048-e1056. [PubMed] [Reference list]