Breastfeeding Duration

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Story Updated: Apr 16, 2013

Breastfeeding is best...that's the advice most new moms get from their doctors and it's supported by strong research on the health benefits.

But now a new study out of Canada suggests there may be an issue to look out for if you breastfeed more than 12 months.

Parents of healthy children ages 1 to 6 were recruited during routine doctor visits between December 2008 and July 2011. In all, 1647 kids were included.

The team asked the mothers about their breastfeeding history then cross-referenced that information with lab tests that measured iron levels in their baby's blood.

While the average breastfeeding duration was 10 months, 27-percent of participants breastfed for more than a year.

The startling find...when breastfeeding continued past the 12 month mark, the risk of iron deficiency went up... nearly doubling.

Iron is important to a child's brain and neurological development.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors conduct risk assessments for iron deficiency anemia.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.

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