Breast-feeding: A commentary by the espghan Committee on Nutrition

Carlo Agostoni, Christian Braegger, Tamas Decsi, Sanja Kolacek, Berthold Koletzko, Kim Fleischer Michaelsen, Walter Mihatsch, Luis A. Moreno, John Puntis, Raanan Shamir, Hania Szajewska, Dominique Turck*, Johannes Van Goudoever

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This medical position article by the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition summarises the current status of breast-feeding practice, the present knowledge on the composition of human milk, advisable duration of exclusive and partial breast-feeding, growth of the breast-fed infant, health benefits associated with breastfeeding, nutritional supplementation for breast-fed infants, and contraindications to breast-feeding. This article emphasises the important role of paediatricians in the implementation of health policies devised to promote breast-feeding. The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Committee on Nutrition recognises breast-feeding as the natural and advisable way of supporting the healthy growth and development of young children. This article delineates the health benefits of breast-feeding, reduced risk of infectious diarrhoea and acute otitis media being the best documented. Exclusive breast-feeding for around 6 months is a desirable goal, but partial breast-feeding as well as breast-feeding for shorter periods of time are also valuable. Continuation of breastfeeding after the introduction of complementary feeding is encouraged as long as mutually desired by mother and child. The role of health care workers, including paediatricians, is to protect, promote, and support breast-feeding. Health care workers should be trained in breast-feeding issues and counselling, and they should encourage practices that do not undermine breast-feeding. Societal standards and legal regulations that facilitate breast-feeding should be promoted, such as providing maternity leave for at least 6 months and protecting working mothers. JPGN 49:112-125, 2009.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-125
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Keywords

  • Breast milk
  • Breastfeeding
  • Health benefits
  • Public health

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