Support mothers who decide not to breastfeed, say new US guidelines

Support mothers who decide not to breastfeed, say new US guidelines

The decision to not breastfeed must be an informed one and one that must be taken after careful deliberation

New guidelines released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) on Monday (January 25) recommend that doctors and healthcare professionals must support the decision of those mothers who do not wish to breastfeed, The Globe And Mail reports.

According to the guidelines, babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life, however if a woman chooses not to, doctors and healthcare professional must respect her decision, ACOG says.

“Our obligation is to make sure she has the information to make an informed decision, " the report quotes Dr. Alison Stuebe, medical director of lactation services at University of North Carolina Health Care.

ACOG's earlier guidelines centred around helping women so they could choose breastfeeding. While the new guidelines emphasize on these points, they also recommend that a mother is the best person to decide whether or not she should breastfeed her baby. However, the decision to not breastfeed must be an informed one and one that must be taken after careful deliberation as mother's milk is the ideal food for infants till they are at least 6 months old.

Let us see some of the benefits of breastfeeding:

  1. Breast milk has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, proteins, and fats—all that your baby needs to grow.
  2. Colostrum or the yellowish first milk provides important immune protection to an infant when he is first exposed to the micro-organisms in the environment.
  3. Breastmilk is light and therefore, can be easily digested than infant formula.
  4. Research shows that women who breastfeed their babies are less likely to develop breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

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Written by

Avinash Iyer