Health & Spirit

Only breastfeeding or formula for six months: Why is it so hard?

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

Breastfeeding moms have been harassed for feeding an infant in museums, on planes or trains and in shops and restaurants. One was even arrested last year for breastfeeding in a secluded section of a Walmart in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Such disapproval of public breastfeeding makes is easy to understand why so few women continue exclusively breastfeeding an infant for the first six months as recommended by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In fact, only 51 percent of moms are breastfeeding at all by the time their baby is 6 months old -- and fewer maintain an infant on ONLY breast milk or formula for that long.

New data gathered from 2009-2014 finds that only 32.5 percent of babies in the U.S. were introduced to complementary foods (including cow's milk, juice, sugar water, baby food, water) at 6 months, when it's recommended. Around 16 percent got such food before 4 months; almost 39 percent at 4 to 5 months.

To make it possible for you to continue feeding your baby only breastmilk or formula for the first six months:

--Develop strategies for pumping: Employers are required to provide a private, clean space to do so.

--After a few months, consider using formula to complement breast milk when heading into potentially difficult situations.

--Ask your doctor when it's time to add complementary foods, and what they should be.


At least the Pope gets it: He just issued a statement declaring that women are welcome to breastfeed during church services in the Sistine Chapel. Hallelujah!


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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