SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is updating its breastfeeding recommendations to support moms who choose to breastfeed for up to two years instead of six months.

However, the change isn’t a suggestion or something that should scare moms. St. Joseph’s Health Lactation Consultant Teri Smithers says it’s more of a move to change the stigma.

84% of American moms breastfeed and initiate breastfeeding in the first days of life. By the time a baby is six months old that stat drops down to 25% of babies are exclusively breastfed. The discrepancy in that statistic really shows us that moms aren’t getting the support they need.

Teri Smithers

She believes the new guidance is a public health call to support moms, like Central New York mom of two, Tracy Cook.

Cook spent countless stressful and sleepless nights trying to get her first baby to latch.

“You kind of get this voice in your head that’s like, your body is supposed to do this so why isn’t my body doing this.”

Tracy Cook

Cook turned to Smithers, who gave her the support she needed.

“Once it clicks, you’re like: OK I got this, I feel better now,” said Cook.

Smithers was in Cook’s corner early in the morning, late at night, always a text or phone call away.

After finding her footing with her first, Cook says she now has the confidence to help her second baby thrive.

Even though the AAP is now supporting moms who decide to breastfeed for up to two years, Cook knows it’s not forced and she’s not setting that as her standard.

“If we go two years, we go two years. I’ll let her stop whenever she decides to, just like my first,” Cook said.

With the tools she learned before, Cook is now supporting her baby’s needs the way Smithers supported hers.

If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, it’s important you reach out to your doctor.