The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention, has updated its recommendations from 2003.

Their review of the medical literature reveals the benefits of breastfeeding.

Benefits for the infant.

  • Fewer ear infections, lower respiratory tract infections, and gastrointestinal infections
  • Less risk of asthma, type 2 diabetes, and obesity

Benefits for women

  • Lower rates of breast and ovarian cancer


  • No study has focused on direct harm associated with breastfeeding.
  • The USPSTF believes the risk of harm associated with the methods used to promote breastfeeding is small.

The bottom line?
The USPSTF review of the literature can be found here.

In 2005, 73% of new mothers in the US initiated breastfeeding: 39% breastfed their children for at least 6 months and 20% for 12 months.

14% of infants were exclusively breastfed for their first 6 months, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the US Surgeon General.

More information on breastfeeding, worldwide, is available at the

10/21/08 11:17 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.