Most pediatricians are knowledgeable about the advantages of breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of an infant’s life. These benefits in developed countries include a reduction in the incidence of infectious disease (in particular, diarrhea, otitis media, upper respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections), provision of complete nutrition that sustains adequate growth and hydration of the infant in the first 6 months of life, prevention of disease and allergy, improved child spacing, and psychosocial benefits.

Despite our understanding of the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, a number of studies have found that health-care providers represent one of the major barriers to successful breastfeeding. In 1993, United States statistics revealed breastfeeding initiation rates of 55.9%. At 6 months postpartum,continuation rates for breastfeeding were only 19%. One might ask, “How can so few women breastfeed when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)recommends that all infants be breastfed exclusively...

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