New breastfeeding guidelines suggest that mothers nurse their children for at least two years.
The American Academy of Pediatrics typically recommends breastfeeding for at least the first six months of infants’ lives. However, their new report published on Monday extended the nursing period to 24 months or longer and suggested solid foods incorporated into the diet as well.
Dr. Joan Younger Meek, who spearheaded the report, pointed out the various benefits of breastfeeding, including decreased risk of SIDS, ear infections, asthma, and other conditions. Mothers also benefit from breastfeeding, as it reduces the risk of different cancers, type 2 diabetes, and more.
However, while breastfeeding for as long as possible is a great idea, several factors can prevent mothers from doing so. This includes “workplace barriers,” with many jobs unwilling to provide designated spaces for mothers to pump their breast milk.
“Not everyone can breastfeed or continue breastfeeding for as long as desired for various reasons, including workplace barriers. Families deserve nonjudgmental support, information, and help to guide them in feeding their infant,” Dr. Meek shared in a statement.
Despite the hurdles, Dr. Meek said that “any breastfeeding is better than none,” encouraging mothers to try as much as they can to provide the natural supplements.
This report comes amid a national baby formula crisis, which has led many mothers to revisit breastfeeding or purchase breast milk from donors.