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What is Exclusive Breastfeeding?

What is Exclusive Breastfeeding?


It’s all they need……really! (1)

Exclusive breastfeeding is what it sounds like.   From the moment your baby is born, “you give your newborn only colostrum/breastmilk and no other liquids or solids” (2) (formula, glucose water, infant cereal, or foods).

The baby’s doctor may prescribe specific vitamins, minerals, or possibly even medication-does that interfere with my desire to exclusively breastfeed?  The answer to that question is NO, unless you are mixing the prescribed medication with formula or glucose water etc.  The solution is to use expressed breastmilk. 

If I want to give expressed colostrum/breastmilk in a bottle instead of the baby suckling at the breast for whatever reason, or if circumstances that my baby needs donor human milk in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, does that mean that I am not exclusively breastfeeding?  There are many reasons why a mother may choose or need to feed her baby this way, but this still means that she is still only providing human milk.  “While breastfeeding is the goal for optimal health, it is recognized that human milk provided indirectly is still superior to alternatives”. (2) 


1. Handout from Kaiser Permanente:  Got Colostrum

2.  USBC:  Implementing The Joint Commission Perinatal Care Core Measure on Exclusive Breast Milk Feeding.