WHO Technical Report Series Series 1005

The Optimal Duration of Exclusive Breastfeeding

A Systematic Review

December 2002
More details
  • Publisher
    World Health Organization
  • Published
    15th December 2002
  • ISBN 9789241595643
  • Language English
  • Pages 50 pp.
  • Size 8.25" x 11.75"

The longstanding debate over the optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding has centered on the so-called "weanling's dilemma" in developing countries: the choice between the known protective effect of exclusive breastfeeding against infectious morbidity and the (theoretical) insufficiency of breast milk alone to satisfy the infant's energy and micronutrient requirements beyond 4 months of age.

The primary objective of this review is to assess the effects on child health, growth, and development, and on maternal health, of exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months vs exclusive breastfeeding for 3-4 months with mixed breastfeeding (introduction of complementary liquid or solid foods with continued breastfeeding) thereafter through 6 months.

Department of Child and Adolescent Health

Department of Child and Adolescent Health