• Breastfeeding (Policy Statement)

    Breastfeeding is the physiological norm for both parents and their children. Breastmilk offers medical and psychological benefits not available from human milk substitutes. The AAFP recommends that all babies, with rare exceptions, be breastfed and/or receive expressed human milk exclusively for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding should continue with the addition of complementary foods throughout the second half of the first year. Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits, and should continue as long as mutually desired. Family physicians should have the knowledge to promote, protect, and support breastfeeding.

    The AAFP recognizes that the language traditionally used around lactation and parenting is highly gendered and often presupposes a heteronormative, two-parent family structure. Many transmasculine people use the term “chestfeeding” because it is better aligned with their gender identity. The AAFP encourages family physicians to use language that is appropriate for each individual patient and avoid any assumptions about a patient’s gender identity, sexual orientation, partner status, or family makeup when providing lactation support and counseling.(1989) (October 2023 COD)

    Please refer to the AAFP's position paper on Breastfeeding for more information on the family physician's role in supporting breastfeeding. This paper reviews the evidence in support of breastfeeding, recommendations for clinical management of breastfeeding, the use of formula in breastfeeding infants, and resources for promoting a breastfeeding friendly office.