News release: Surgeon General releases breastfeeding statement -- October 2000

A Blueprint for Action on Breast-feeding, released by the Surgeon General and endorsed by 23 professional and medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the US Breastfeeding Committee, is the first national, comprehensive plan to promote breastfeeding in the US. The statement aims to address the low breastfeeding rates in the US where only 29 per cent still breastfeed at 6 months and only 45 per cent of African-American women initiate breastfeeding.

The statement recognizes breastfeeding as being "one of the most important contributors to infant health" and recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed during the first 4 to 6 months of life, preferably for a full six months (our emphasis) and then continue through the first year of life".

The objective is to raise breastfeeding rates in the early postpartum period to 75 per cent by the year 2010 through a number of action steps for the health care system, families, communities, researchers, and the workplace. The statement also recommends that health care professionals who provide maternal and child care be trained in the basics of lactation and breastfeeding.

The full text of the Blueprint can be found on the website for the National Women's Health Information Center:

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