What I like the most about the new breastfeeding policy released by the American Academy of Pediatrics this week is that it continues to promote that breastfeeding should be considered a public health issue and not a lifestyle choice. This is very important in light of all the recent high profile cases related to a woman's right to breastfeed her baby.

When will others get it through their thick heads that breastfeeding is the most natural—not to mention healthy—way for a mother to both feed and nurture her child? Evidence of the beneficial effects of breastfeeding are readily available everywhere. In fact, if you don't believe me, all you have to do is just look at breastfed babies, like my own who, with some exceptions, I'd say are remarkably healthy. I'm 100% convinced that breastfeeding them is the reason why.

Read more in ¿Qué más?: Breastfeeding was better for me and my baby

The policy also reaffirms the AAP's recommendation that babies should be exclusively breastfed for at least six months, at which time their mom's milk can be complemented with other foods. The statement, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, is mostly aimed at pediatricians, but it can also be used to guide hospitals and businesses as to the importance of breastfeeding. Everybody should be involved in supporting breastfeeding moms, especially those who are having trouble or first-time moms who have no clue what's going on.

Like I was when I had my first child. Way before Vanessa was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed her. She latched on fairly quickly and easily a little bit after we met each other and things seemed to be going well. But a couple of months into her life, things got complicated and I felt like she wasn't getting enough milk. She was always fussy and breastfeeding was no longer as enjoyable for either of us as it'd been at the beginning. To make a long story short, her pediatrician suggested that I start introducing formula and alternate both methods to feed her. I was resistant, but when my daughter turned 4, I caved in.

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We did that for another month before I basically started running out of milk. Since she wasn't breastfeeding as much, my milk production got lower and lower. Eventually, it was gone. We barely made it to 5 months and I was very sad. I had tried my best, but I should have looked for more support. All moms should have access to that.

The story was a bit different with my son. I breastfed him exclusively for almost 9 months, when I went back to work and started introducing formula. I'm not really sure what was different, me, him or both, but it definitely helped that I had already done it before.

Did you breastfeed your babies? For how long? How was that experience?

Image via HoboMama/flickr

About the author

Roxana A. Soto is Features Editor for MamásLatinas. She's a bilingual and bicultural journalist born in Peru and raised in Mexico, Argentina, South Africa and Miami. She's also mom to a girl in 3rd grade and a boy in Kinder. She loves books, languages, traveling and good food – especially when cooked by someone else.

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i agree that breast feeding is natural and important. Making a baby is natural too, but I don't want to see it displayed without any regard to modesty or consideration of others around who may not be as open to displays of flesh-nourishing or not-as you. Please feed you baby! It's wonderful and loving. But can you also please be a little bit discreet? I don't want to banish you to a bathroom or empty corner, but if you have a baby, you have a blanket. Just drape it over and keep your very personal and beautiful experience with your child just that: personal.
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In general, I'd say it does depned greatly on the culture and the family in question. Because of the oversexualization in the US, I think past 5 is heebie-jeebie (well, and the only mom I've ever met who was nursing a 5yo was offering it out of a weird bribery/codepnedency/guilt thing, as in stop that now and I'll let you nurse and anytime that child had a tantrum she'd drop everything, including the younger one, to nurse), though I would definitely see exceptions for special needs kids.So my guidelines are the age of modesty (the true one, not the one 2yos sometimes go through), the age when the family feels it's inappropriate to bathe with an opposite sex child, and the age when it's no longer ok to take your opposite sex child into the public restroom with you (I'm starting to feel that now with my 5yo though letting him in the men's room alone is another set of heebie-jeebies). Nursing may not be sexual, but as the child grows and begins to become more aware of their sexual feelings, I do see potential for potential (lacking a better word) confusion in a society where breasts are highly sexualized.In other words, when there's lingerie marketed at 8yos who watch the Disney Channel, nursing an 8yo is definitely heebie-jeebie material. Nursing to puberty? I can't even comprehend. Not to say I'm judging, just that it's beyond anything I can relate to.
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