New recommendations advise breastfeeding up to or beyond 2 years

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its recommendations for breastfeeding. It’s now suggesting breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months, and continuing for two years or beyond.

They’re also hoping to erase the stigma for mothers who choose to breastfeed into toddlerhood.

”We want moms to continue breastfeeding ‘til they’re six months, start adding solid foods then continue on ‘til their baby is two years old. Some moms breastfeed longer, but the baby and the mom will reap the benefits for as long as she breastfeeds,” said Therese Deroche with the Children’s Clinic of Southwest Louisiana.

Deroche says benefits of breastfeeding include fewer ear infections and respiratory illnesses and countless immunological benefits - just to name a few.

“There are a lot of benefits for mom too, she will have a lower blood pressure just by breastfeeding, it’s very calming for her to breastfeed, and she will have decrease in breast cancer and ovarian cancer,” she said.

Deroche said she’s hoping these updated recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics will help reduce stigma for parents who choose to continue breastfeeding up to, or even after a child is two years old.

“It encourages the mom to know that breastfeeding is best and to know that her milk will provide all of the nutrients that the baby needs and through toddlerhood there’s no reason to use any formula,” said Deroche.

“Those older babies aren’t breastfeeding very often, so they shouldn’t be concerned about the public opinion. Most moms are not gonna bring their moms in public places and breastfeed openly, usually those babies are feeding by cup and those moms are pumping and putting their breast milk in a cup,” said Deroche.

She says ultimately, the entire family needs to be a part of deciding the best course of action for them.

“I always encourage them to do what’s best for their family, you want dad to be supportive, the whole unity of the family, the grandparents, whoever is keeping the baby when mom goes to work - you want them all to be on the same page,” said Deroche.

Deroche says she knows breastfeeding can be difficult, or even impossible for some mothers. She says that’s when speaking to a pediatrician, or lactation specialist can be helpful.

There is also a breastmilk donation center right here in Lake Charles. Pink and Blue Avenue is set up as a donation site, and then the milk is shipped off to New Orleans where is it used in hospitals across the state, mostly for NICU babies.

If you’re interested, you can CLICK HERE to learn more, and to see if you are eligible to donate.

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