Breastfeeding: Common Questions and Answers

Katie L Westerfield, Kristen Koenig, Robert Oh
American Family Physician 2018 September 15, 98 (6): 368-373
All major health organizations recommend breastfeeding as the optimal source of infant nutrition, with exclusive breastfeeding recommended for the first six months of life. After six months, complementary foods may be introduced. Most organizations recommend breastfeeding for at least one year, and the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of two years. Maternal benefits of breastfeeding include decreased risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, postpartum depression, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Infants who are breastfed have a decreased risk of atopic dermatitis and gastroenteritis, and have a higher IQ later in life. Additional benefits in infants have been noted in observational studies. Clinicians can support postdischarge breastfeeding by assessing milk production and milk transfer; evaluating an infant's latch to the breast; identifying maternal and infant anatomic variations that can lead to pain and poor infant weight gain; knowing the indications for frenotomy; and treating common breastfeeding-related infections, dermatologic conditions, engorgement, and vasospasm. The best way to assess milk supply is by monitoring infant weight and stool output during wellness visits. Proper positioning improves latch and reduces nipple pain. Frenotomy is controversial but may reduce pain in the short term. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends primary care interventions to support breastfeeding and improve breastfeeding rates and duration.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"