J Midwifery Womens Health 2007;52:549–555
Lactation is an ancient process that predates placental gestation. It represents the normal and expected way to feed infants and young children, yet continues to suffer from cultural and commercial barriers that make it difficult for mothers to adhere to the medical recommendation to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, and to continue breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for 1 year and beyond.
Infant feeding through the ages has been subject to shifting attitudes toward the mother/child relationship, the understanding (or misunderstanding) of the process of lactation and the composition of human milk, and the escalating acceptance of the use of human milk substitutes.
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