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Nutrition: Breastfeeding

Mother on bed is breastfeeding baby

Research shows that there is no better food than human milk for the baby’s first year of life. Breastfeeding provides many health, nutritional, economic, and emotional benefits to the lactating person and the baby.

There are also benefits to the community, workplace, and the environment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes breastfeeding as the ideal method of feeding and nurturing infants. Breastfeeding is key in achieving optimal infant and child health, growth, and development. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • That infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.
  • Continued breastfeeding, with the gradual addition of appropriate foods, for as long as mother and child desire, for two years or beyond.

Healthy People 2030

Healthy People 2030 is a government initiative that sets measurable goals to improve the health and well-being of people across the country. This includes the following breastfeeding goals:

  • Increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed exclusively through age 6 months. (MICH-15)
  • Increase the proportion of infants who are breastfed at 1 year. (MICH-16)

Related efforts

The Division of Public Health supports lactation and human milk feeding through a variety of programs. Visit the Chronic Disease Prevention Program's Breastfeeding Initiatives page and the Maternal and Child Health Program page for more information.

More general breastfeeding information and Breastfeeding Month proclamations can be found on the Breastfeeding Resources page.

Questions? Email us at

Note on inclusive language

We recognize that not all people use the term “breastfeeding.” Chestfeeding and bodyfeeding are other ways to describe the feeding of human milk to a child, whether directly from an individual or from those who exclusively pump their milk or use a supplemental nursing system. While our resources may occasionally use the term “breastfeeding” and “mothers,” we intend for this information to be inclusive of all families.

Last revised January 10, 2024