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Breastfeeding: Exclusive Breastfeeding

Definition of Exclusive Breastfeeding

Exclusive breastfeeding for optimal growth, development and health of infants (World Health Organization, WHO)

Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the mother and infant. Breast milk contains all the nutrients an infant needs in the first six months of life. Breastfeeding protects against diarrhoea and common childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, and may also have longer-term health benefits for the mother and child, such as reducing the risk of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence.

Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk. No other liquids or solids are given – not even water – with the exception of oral rehydration solution, or drops/syrups of vitamins, minerals or medicines.


WHO recommendations

Infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.

Thereafter, to meet their evolving nutritional requirements, infants should receive nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods, while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond.

From PubMed, Exclusive Breastfeeding


Complementary medicine products used in pregnancy and lactation and an examination of the information sources accessed pertaining to maternal health literacy: a systematic review of qualitative studies.


Barnes LAJ, Barclay L, McCaffery K, Aslani P.


BMC Complement Altern Med. 2018 Jul 31;18(1):229. doi: 10.1186/s12906-018-2283-9. Review.


PMID: 30064415 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article


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