Nature designed human milk for human babies; it provides infants with the best source of nourishment for healthy growth and development. Breastfeeding is initiated by more than 8-% of women in the United States, making it a cultural norm. There are both state and federal laws protecting a woman's right to breastfeed, to breastfeed in public, and to express breastmilk in the workplace.
Breastfeeding is associated with decreased risk for infant morbidity and mortality as well as maternal morbidity. The benefits do not end when breastfeeding does but can extend into and after toddlerhood.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Along with breastfeeding, complimentary appropriate foods should be introduced around six months of age. In 2022, the AAP endorsed a new policy for continued breastfeeding until two years of age or longer as desired by mother and child. The decision to breastfeed is an important one. New mothers and new parents should feel comfortable seeking help and finding sources of peer and professional support. The free Arkansas Breastfeeding Help Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call to speak to a certified lactation consultant at 800-445-6175. The lactation consultant can help new moms, pregnant women, and health care providers with information about common breastfeeding concerns. The Arkansas Breastfeeding Help Line is sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Health and Baptist Health.
Increasing breastfeeding rates is a national priority, and improvement to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding continues to be a need in Arkansas. AFMC is working with the Arkansas Department of Human Services to promote best practices for increasing breastfeeding success as part of our larger effort to improve maternal and child health statewide.
Breastfeeding Promotion: Physicians’ Office Strategies for Success
Breastfeeding Promotion: Inpatient Strategies for Success
Reviewed and Revised March 2023