Weaning: World Health Organization recommendations for weaning

I have heard that the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until the age of two. Is this true?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It is correct that the World Health Organization (WHO) advises breastfeeding to "two years of age or beyond."

WHO's infant feeding recommendation states that infants should be exclusively breastfed (no other drink or food) for the first four to six months of life, while being allowed frequent and unrestricted access to the breast. Beginning around four to six months of age, babies can begin receiving appropriate complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years or beyond. The immunological properties in breastmilk continue to provide both nutrition and protection from illness as long as your baby/child continues to nurse.

Reference: On the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding. "Breastfeeding in the 1990s: A Global Initiative." WHO/UNICEF, Florence, Italy, 1990.

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