US breast-feeding guidelines slightly changed to support those women who can’t breastfeed.

ABC NEWS reports, a panel of experts, who are funded and appointed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, recommended eight years ago that physicians “promote and support” breast-feeding among their patients. The latest update sees a slight change with only “support” recommended in the guidelines.

The new guidelines still wholeheartedly recommend breast-feeding as the best choice for mothers and children but, as one of the authors explained, the change is meant to relieve pressure on women who cannot breast-feed, or make an informed choice not to do so.

“We felt that ‘supporting’ really emphasised that it’s about making sure that women have what they need when they make that choice,” Dr. Maureen Phipps said.

Dr. Karen Duncan, a New York obstetrician-gynecologist, explained that some women have a lot of trouble breast-feeding, or cannot breast-feed because they are taking certain medications. So, in her view, the rewording was a “positive step” to help alleviate some of the stigma those women might feel.

“We don’t want to shame or pressure women into doing something they are unable to do,” she said. “We do think breast-feeding is the best but we need to be understanding that there are many circumstances that go into a woman’s decision about how to feed her baby.”

The Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy

The 2013 NHMRC Infant Feeding Guidelines state, Information for Health Workers provides guidance for Australian health workers on interpreting the World Health Organization’s International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

This includes advice that Australian health workers should:
•promote optimal infant feeding by promoting breastfeeding,
•provide information about infant formula when required and support families who are using infant formula

The aim of the Strategy is to contribute to improving the health, nutrition and wellbeing of infants and young children, and the health and wellbeing of mothers, by protecting, promoting, supporting and monitoring breastfeeding.

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for babies to 6 months of age, and thereafter for breastfeeding to continue alongside suitable complementary foods for up to 2 years and beyond.

The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends exclusive breastfeeding for around 6 months and then for breastfeeding to continue alongside complementary food until 12 months of age and beyond, for as long as the mother and child desire.

I like that the US are being more inclusive and less overbearing. It makes sense, and sounds far more encouraging in my opinion.

What do you think?

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  • I think that Breast Feeding should be supported and I am a big advocate. I also think women should be fully informed of all their options and educated on what can affect a woman’s ability to breastfeed.


  • I like the bit about “informed choice” – that’s important.


  • I think it’s great that they are supported if they can’t or choose not to. Although i know a lot of mums who don’t even give it a go or think that it’s gross. I think those mothers need more information on breastfeeding as it is such a wonderful experience if you can do it :)


  • I have been very fortunate that I could successfully breastfeed. Unfortunately there are those that struggle and there is a lot of pressure on them to breastfeed.


  • I know fo 2 Mothers (1 personally) whose milk had practically no nourishment in it with them eating a very healthy diet themselves


  • I am a breast feeding advocate and I was very lucky that breastfeeding was easy and natural for me. Others do not find this the case. As mothers i would hope we support each other to do what is best for us with our babies.
    Thoroughly support the rewrite to the guidelines.


  • My son and daughter in law have just had their first child. They received so many conflicting advice from health nurses, they became extremely confused as to what was best. They tried all that was recommended and now use the one that suited them best


  • Such a sensible approach that acknowledges all mums


  • I was willing but unable to breastfeed. I think these changes will help women who cannot breastfeed feel a little less pressure.


  • Support is the key thing here-no matter how the child is fed.


  • I think this is great, I was lucky that I could breastfeed all four of my children but having a more inclusive model to help support mothers who cannot for whatever reason is very important. All mothers need to be supported regardless of what method is chosen.


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