The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age. According to pediatrician Dr. Stephen Lee at Utah Valley Pediatrics, benefits for mothers include decreasing the risk of maternal ovarian cancer, breast cancer and the development of Type 2 diabetes. Benefits for babies include decreased respiratory/GI infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and is associated with improved neurocognitive development.
With the right support, an estimated 95 percent of women can successfully breastfeed. If you encounter difficulty feeding, speak with your pediatrician or contact an IBCLC certified lactation specialist. After all, there are a variety of reasons a mother may not be able to directly breastfeed, in which case pumping breastmilk and offering by bottle is a great option. Unless medically warranted, supplementation with formula should be avoided as it decreases the duration of breastfeeding.
Note: Frustrated mamas should never feel bad about themselves, though, if they can’t breastfeed. The whole “breast is best” argument is never true if it’s not the best choice for the mom and her family.