Breastfeeding

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An infant breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is when a mother feeds her babies with her breasts. The baby puts its mouth on to their mother's nipple and sucks the milk out. Another common way to breastfeed is using a breast pump. It is a machine used to pump the milk out of the breast so the child can drink it later.

Babies have a reflex to suck everything that is put in their mouth. Most babies do not need infant formula milk (powder milk) or solid food for six months or more.

Breast milk is the best thing for babies, but there are some exceptions: when the mother takes drugs, is infected with tuberculosis, or has AIDS. Breastfeeding allows babies to grow up healthy and makes cheaper feeding and health care. In both developing and developed countries, feeding powder milk leads to more deaths from diarrhoea. Experts agree that breastfeeding is the best drink for a baby, but do not all agree about how long mothers should breastfeed, and about how safe powder milk is.