The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirmed its position that women should breast feed for at least a year to get the best health benefits for their babies.
The group said in a paper published in the March issue of Pediatrics that women should breast feed exclusively for six months and compliment breast milk with food for another six months.
Breast feeding promotes both health benefits and bonding between mother and baby, the academy said.
Research has found that breastfeeding helps protect against respiratory illnesses, ear infections, asthma and other allergies, the academy said. Breastfed babies are also less likely to become obese as adults.
But breastfeeding may not be as easy as it looks. While 75 percent of moms nationwide initiate breastfeeding, many don’t continue for the full year. Babies may not latch properly or mothers may find it hard to balance pumping and work, among other reasons.