The World Health Organization recommends that infants
should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months
of life. Breastfeeding should continue for at least 2
years with weaning foods added at 6 months of age. A
weaning diet should consist of:
- a staple (a complex carbohydrate) such as cereals, roots, or tubers,
- an energy rich supplement (fats, oils and sugars),
- protein rich supplements (legumes, animal products, meat, eggs), and
- vitamin and mineral rich foods (fruits and vegetables)
- these complementary foods should be low cost and prepared locally
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding
for at least 12 months and as long thereafter as mutually desired.
Supplemental foods should be added at 6 months of age
AAP Breastfeeding, 2012
In 1989, The World Health Organization (WHO) developed the
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.
Every facility providing maternity services and care for newborn
- Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated
to all health care staff.
- Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
- Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of
- Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth.
- Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they
should be separated from their infants.
- Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk
unless medically indicated.
- Practice rooming in:
Allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
- Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
- Give no artificial teats or pacifiers, also called dummies or soothers to
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer
mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
"We need to remind mothers that breastfeeding remains the most powerful
prevention against both malnutrition and infectious diseases."
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General,
World Health Organization;
August 10, 1998