Position of the American Dietetic Association: breaking the barriers to breastfeeding

J Am Diet Assoc. 2001 Oct;101(10):1213-20. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8223(01)00298-x.


It is the position of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) that broad-based efforts are needed to break the barriers to breastfeeding initiation and duration. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and breastfeeding with complementary foods for at least 12 months is the ideal feeding pattern for infants. Increases in initiation and duration are needed to realize the health, nutritional, immunological, psychological, economical, and environmental benefits of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding initiation rates have increased, but cultural barriers to breastfeeding, especially against breastfeeding for 6 months and longer, still exist. Gaps in rates of breastfeeding based on age, race, and socioeconomic status remain. Children benefit from the biologically unique properties of human milk including protection from illness with resulting economic benefits. Mother's benefits include reduced rates of premenopausal breast and ovarian cancers. Appropriate lactation management is a critical component of successful breastfeeding for healthy women. Lactation support and management is even more important in women and children with special needs caused by physical or developmental disability, disease, or limited resources. Dietetics professionals have a responsibility to support breastfeeding through appropriate education and training, advocacy, and legislative action; through collaboration with other professional groups; and through research to eliminate the barriers to breastfeeding.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Breast Feeding* / psychology
  • Breast Feeding* / statistics & numerical data
  • Dietetics*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Care
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant Welfare
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactation / immunology
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Lactation / psychology*
  • Mothers / education
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Societies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States