Breastfeeding is the process of a woman feeding an infant or young
child with milk from her breasts, usually directly from the nipples.
Babies have a sucking urge that enables them to take in the milk,
provided there is a good 'latch' (ie correct orientation between
the woman and the baby), a normal frenulum, and a milk supply.
Breast milk has been shown to be best for feeding a child (assuming
the mother does not have any serious transmissible infections.)
Some mothers do not breastfeed their children, either for personal
or medical reasons. Some diseases, such as HIV and HTLV-1, may be
passed through the breast milk, and may therefore preclude breastfeeding
in some cases. Some medicines may also transfer through breast milk.
However, most medicines are transferred in very small amounts and
are considered safe to take during breastfeeding. Therefore most
women are not precluded from breastfeeding, and most doctors and
governments promote the practice. Still, many medications are labelled
as unsafe for use while breastfeeding, and the breastfeeding mother
and her physician must carefully weigh the risks and benefits.
Many governmental strategies and international initiatives have
promoted breastfeeding as the best method of feeding a child in
his or her first year and beyond. So do the World Health Organization
(WHO), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and many