The medical, emotional and economic benefits of breastfeeding are significant, and recognized by a growing number of medical organizations, as well as hospitals that have been designated as "Baby Friendly" because of practices that support optimal breastfeeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)—which recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the baby's first six months—supports those efforts.
In a new clinical report in the May 2017 issue of Pediatrics, the AAP is publishing new recommendations to help pediatricians make their office settings as supportive as possible to breastfeeding mothers.
The report, "The Breastfeeding-Friendly Pediatric Office Practice" (published online April 17), recommends pediatricians develop an office policy that encourages breastfeeding through various means, including providing a lactation room with supplies for employees and patients who breastfeed or need to express breast milk.
The report recommends that an office policy is developed to outline steps on how to support breastfeeding, including staff training on how to provide help and resources to patients. The report recommends that breastfeeding is allowed and encouraged in waiting rooms and that any other barriers to breastfeeding are removed.
The benefits of breastfeeding include decreased risk of lower respiratory infections, gastroenteritis and otitis media. Breastfeeding also reduces risks of sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, asthma, certain childhood cancers, diabetes and postneonatal death.