August 1986

Early Suckling and Prolonged Breast-feeding-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics Magee-Womens Hospital Forbes Avenue and Halket Street Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(8):741. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140220023016

In Reply.—We agree with Dr Richards that early suckling is not necessary for prolonged breast-feeding; she makes it clear that it certainly was not necessary 35 to 40 years ago. We doubt that early suckling in and of itself contributes much, if at all, to prolonged breast-feeding, and we are in the process of testing that notion. We have a hunch that a strong commitment to breast-feeding led the mothers in our series1 to both suckle very early and to breast-feed for a long time. In other words, we suspect that most women who, like Dr Richards, nursed for eight to ten months a generation ago would have elected to suckle shortly after delivery if that option had been open to them.

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