A: Any amount of breastfeeding is better than none, so even if a mom only nurses for a short time, it is still beneficial to her and her baby.
The recommendations are for exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and breastfeeding with complementary foods up to 12 months, because research shows the health benefits created for both the baby and mother from breastfeeding continue as long they are nursing. It can be daunting, however, for a mom who is just starting out with breastfeeding to think about nursing for six months. However, I urge moms to take it one feeding at a time, and seek the assistance of a personal lactation professional in her community. Once she and her baby have gotten the hang of it, the feeling of being overwhelmed tends to subside greatly, and for many is replaced with an amazing and positive experience.
There is no “shortest amount of time to breastfeed,” but breastfeeding is recommended even if for a short time.
Gina Ciagne is a Certified Lactation Consultatnt and Director of Professional relations for Lansinoh.