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U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

Primary Care Interventions to Promote Breastfeeding

Clinical Summary of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation

This document is a summary of the 2008 recommendation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on counseling to promote breastfeeding.

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Population Pregnant Women New Mothers The Mother's Partner,
Other Family Members,
and Friends
Infants and Young Children
Recommendation Promote and support breastfeeding
Grade: B recommendation

Benefits of Breastfeeding


Less likelihood of breast and ovarian cancer


Fewer ear infections, lower-respiratory-tract infections, and gastrointestinal infections

Young Children

Less likelihood of asthma, type 2 diabetes, and obesity
Interventions to Promote Breastfeeding

Interventions to promote and support breastfeeding have been found to increase the rates of initiation, duration, and exclusivity of breastfeeding. Consider multiple strategies, including:

  • Formal breastfeeding education for mothers and families
  • Direct support of mothers during breastfeeding
  • Training of primary care staff about breastfeeding and techniques for breastfeeding support
  • Peer support

Interventions that include both prenatal and postnatal components may be most effective at increasing breastfeeding duration.

In rare circumstances, for example for mothers with HIV and infants with galactosemia, breastfeeding is not recommended. Interventions to promote breastfeeding should empower individuals to make informed choices supported by the best available evidence.


System-level interventions with senior leadership support may be more likely to be sustained over time.

For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making this recommendation, the full recommendation statement, and supporting documents please go to: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org.

Disclaimer: Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Copyright and Source Information

This document is in the public domain within the United States.

Requests for linking or to incorporate content in electronic resources should be sent via the USPSTF contact form.

AHRQ Publication No. 09-05126-EF-3
Current as of October 2008

Internet Citation:

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Primary Care Interventions to Promote Breastfeeding: Clinical Summary. AHRQ Publication No. 09-05126-EF-3, October 2008. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf08/breastfeeding/brfeedsum.htm


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