Breastfeeding is endorsed by major health organizations as the optimal form of infant nutrition. It also has multiple health benefits for both mother and infant. Because it is beneficial to health, breastfeeding is halachically recommended. Breastfeeding can also postpone the return of menstruation after childbirth, and has a degree of contraceptive effect. Although the Hebrew term meineket literally means "a breastfeeding woman," the halachic category of meineket is based solely on a woman's postpartum state and includes any woman within the first 24 months after childbirth, irrespective of her method of infant feeding, and excludes all women after this time, even if still breastfeeding.
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