Breastfeeding is the feeding of an infant or young child with breast milk directly from female human breasts (i.e., via lactation) rather than using infant formula. Babies have a sucking reflex that enables them to suck and swallow milk. Experts recommend that children be breastfed within one hour of birth, exclusively breastfed for the first six months, and then breastfed until age two with age-appropriate, nutritionally adequate and safe complementary foods. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for the U.S. that after 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding, babies should continue to breastfeed "for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby". Inadequate nutrition is an underlying cause of the deaths of more than 2.6 million children and over 100,000 mothers every year. Some working mothers express milk to be used while their child is being cared for by others.
Breastfeeding was the rule in ancient times up to recent human history, and babies were carried with the mother and fed as required. With 18th and 19th century industrialization in the Western world, mothers in many urban centers began dispensing with breastfeeding due to their work requirements. Breastfeeding declined significantly from 1900 to 1960, due to increasingly negative social attitudes towards the practice and the development of infant formula. Under modern health care, human breast milk is considered the healthiest form of milk for babies. From the 1960s onwards, breastfeeding experienced a revival which continues to the 2000s, though some negative attitudes towards the practice still remain.