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LLLI Center for Breastfeeding Information

Journal Abstract of the Month for February 2005


"Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk"

Author: American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Section on Breastfeeding

Pediatrics 2005 February; 115(2):496-506.

This 2005 Policy Statement by the Section on Breastfeeding of the AAP replaces their 1997 statement. Because considerable advances have occurred since 1997 in the scientific knowledge of the benefits and management of breastfeeding this new statement was issued. It lists many known and new benefits of breastfeeding to the infant, mother and community; and it gives recommendations to guide health care professionals in assisting mothers with initiation and maintenance of breastfeeding. In addition to the long list of child and mother benefits that are referenced in the article, it states that these benefits include the potential for decreased annual health care costs of $3.6 billion in the US. Below are some of the highlights of this Statement.

  • New information about reduced HIV transmission, with exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3-6 months after birth from a study in Africa, was introduced.
  • Breastfeeding is not contraindicated by mothers who have been exposed to low-level environmental chemical agents.
  • Some previous contraindications were lifted.
  • Health care professionals should recommend breastfeeding education for both parents.
  • Skin-to-skin contact is to be encouraged.
  • Because certain maternal medications used at birth can alter the baby's alertness, and some babies may need assistance with latch-on, doctors may want to minimize or modify the course of these drugs.
  • Pacifiers are best avoided during the initiation of breastfeeding.
  • Babies should be seen by knowledgeable, experienced health care professionals at 3-5 days and at 2-3 weeks, as these are critical periods.
  • Breastfeeding during painful procedures provides analgesia to infants.
  • There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychological or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer.
  • Mother and baby should sleep in proximity to each other to facilitate easier breastfeeding.
  • When mother or baby is hospitalized every effort should be made to maintain breastfeeding.
  • Health care professionals are encouraged to become knowledgeable and skilled in the physiology and current clinical management of breastfeeding, and to encourage the development of breastfeeding and lactation curriculums in medical schools.
  • Adoptive mothers should be counseled about induced lactation.
  • Health care professionals are also encouraged to work collaboratively with the obstetric and dental communities, and work actively toward eliminating hospital policies that discourage breastfeeding such as infant formula discharge packs. They should be familiar with local breastfeeding resources such as lay support groups.
  • Employers should be encouraged to provide appropriate facilities to breastfeeding mothers.
  • The courts should be encouraged to ensure continued breastfeeding in separation and custody proceedings and continue legislation to support the nursing mother.

Health care professionals should enthusiastically promote, support and protect breastfeeding because breastfeeding ensures the best possible health outcomes.

This paper is being categorized with the following KEYWORDS:
Statements, Advantages, Management.

This article is available at:;115/2/496

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