The AAP and Breastfeeding

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a professional membership organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical sub-specialists and pediatric surgical specialists, recommends breastfeeding your baby. The AAP, along with the World Health Organization (WHO), advocates for children through the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding. The organization maintains a helpful breastfeeding initiative website for parents and health-care professionals at http://www2.aap.org/breastfeeding/.

Why should you try breastfeeding your baby? The benefits of breast milk are indisputable. Mother's milk reduces your baby's risk of disease, infections, and diarrhea. The practice reinforces maternal bonds and also helps moms return to their pre-pregnancy weight because it takes approximately 500 calories to produce breast milk each day, according to the Institute of Medicine. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

From a fiscal standpoint, as Sandra Gordon, a consumer products expert, points out in her book Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear, breastfeeding can literally save parents money. "Breastfeeding is golden for your bottom line, too," writes Gordon. "In fact, aside from buying a breast pump and bottles, both of which are optional if you're breast-feeding exclusively and you're with your baby all the time, it's free."

The AAP and Infant Formula

While breastfeeding is best for babies, not all parents can or choose to breastfeed throughout the first 12 months of life. The AAP says only breast milk or infant formula should be your baby's sole source of nutrition. According to Parents.com, approximately 85 percent of new mothers use infant formula. This is because some women have difficulty nursing or choose formula, while others supplement mother's milk with formula.

Infant formula is a safe alternative to breast milk. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees all manufacturers of infant formulas and makes certain they comply with the nutritional requirements outlined in the federal Infant Formula Act. All infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the same nutrient specifications, which are set at levels to fulfill the nutritional needs of infants.

Bottom line: we believe you should breastfeed and consult with your physician on the right choice for you. After all, it's a parent's choice.