Breastfeeding – continued breastfeeding
Breastfeeding continues to make an important nutritional contribution well beyond the first year of life as a significant energy source and by providing key nutrients to the growing infant. Dehydration may also be prevented among those recovering from infections.
The impact of continued breastfeeding on infant growth, risk of childhood chronic illnesses and obesity, and improved cognitive outcomes, remains inconclusive. WHO is conducting a systematic review on the short-term and long-term benefits of continued breastfeeding. Thus far, the available evidence suggests breastfeeding may also have long-term benefits such as reducing the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
WHO recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or more.
Guiding principles for the complementary feeding of the breastfed child
Complementary feeding of infants in developing countries: a review of current scientific knowledge
WHO Expert Consultation on Complementary Feeding
- Interventions in the workplace to support breastfeeding for women in employment
- Support for healthy breastfeeding mothers with healthy term babies