Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Baby

Font Size

Surprises in New Breastfeeding Guidelines

Adoption, Custody Cases, Culture, and Workplace Issues Addressed
WebMD Health News

Feb. 7, 2005 -- Updated breastfeeding guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have some new additions that may come as a surprise. The guidelines appear in February's issue of Pediatrics.

The guidelines include information on mother and infant sleeping close together, breastfeeding during custody battles, and breastfeeding for moms who adopt.

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is still strongly recommended. The AAP also encourages continued breastfeeding for the next six months and even longer as long as it is mutually desired by mother and child. All breastfeeding moms are encouraged to sleep in close proximity to their newborns. This helps make breastfeeding easier and more convenient.

Breastfeeding isn't always easy or convenient, but when possible, it's optimal for babies and mothers alike. For babies, studies have suggested that breastfeeding can reduce the risk and severity of many infections and may cut risk of sudden infant death syndrome. It reduces the rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, and other health problems later in life.

For mothers, breastfeeding can reduce uterine bleeding after delivery and may lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as possibly lowering the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause. Breastfeeding is also a valuable chance for mothers and babies to bond.

But the new guidelines don't just list breastfeeding's health benefits. The AAP also takes a stand on social trends and issues that can affect breastfeeding.

Ruth Lawrence, MD, a University of Rochester professor of pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology who worked on the committee that wrote the guidelines, says a lot of thought went into the recommendations.

The AAP "does not take these statements lightly," she tells WebMD.

Doctors should tell women who want to adopt about breastfeeding options, says the AAP. "There are lactation consultants that would be able to support the [adopting] woman," says Lawrence.

Her advice for adopting moms: "Start with getting a good pump that pumps both breasts simultaneously."

Doctors might also recommend medications or hormones, says Lawrence. "If a woman has never been pregnant, then hormones are more likely to be needed. If she has had a previous pregnancy, the breasts are primed a little, naturally. If she has had her own children and nursed them, the breast will respond promptly, within a couple of weeks. So each woman has to be managed individually, based on her own history. But [breastfeeding is] possible and worthwhile for women who adopt."

Baby's First Year Newsletter

Because every week matters, get expert advice and facts on what to expect in your baby's first year.

Today on WebMD

mother on phone holding baby
When you should call 911.
parents and baby
Unexpected ways your life will change.
baby acne
What’s normal – and what’s not.
baby asleep on moms shoulder
Help your baby get the sleep he needs.

mother holding baby at night
mother with sick child
Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
Track Your Babys Vaccines
Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
Woman holding feet up to camera
Father kissing newborn baby
baby gear slideshow