The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding gives your new baby the very best start. It supplies nutrition, comfort, and love. Experts agree: Breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for babies during the first year of life and beyond. It’s healthy for Mom, too. Breastfeeding may be challenging at first. But with support, you and your baby can succeed together. Mother breastfeeding infant.

 

Healthiest for Baby

Breastmilk is the ideal food for babies. It has all the nutrients your little one needs to grow healthy and strong. Here are some of the many benefits for your baby:

  • Breastfeeding provides contact that babies love. Frequent skin-to-skin time with Mom is calming and comforting.

  • Breastmilk is full of antibodies. These are substances that help your baby fight infection. Breastmilk reduces your baby's risk of respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and diarrhea.

  • Breastfeeding reduces your baby’s risk of allergies, colds, and many other diseases.

  • Breastmilk changes as your baby grows, meeting her changing needs.

  • Breastmilk is easy for your baby to digest.

  • Breastmilk contains DHA, a fat that is good for your baby’s developing brain and eyes.

  • Breastmilk decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Healthiest for Mom

For many women, breastfeeding is an amazing experience. It creates a strong bond between mother and baby. Other benefits for Mom include:

  • You can feel proud knowing that your baby is growing healthy and strong because of your milk.

  • Breastmilk is convenient. It’s free, clean, and always the right temperature.

  • Breastfeeding burns calories. This can help you lose pregnancy weight faster.

  • Breastfeeding releases hormones that contract the uterus. This helps the uterus return to its normal size after childbirth.

  • Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of ovarian and breast cancers.

There are many people who can help you learn to breastfeed. A lactation consultant is a healthcare provider specially trained to help breastfeeding moms. Your nurse, obstetrician, pediatrician, or family practice doctor can also help you learn about breastfeeding.

Online Medical Reviewer: Amsley-Camp, Kim, CNM, MS
Online Medical Reviewer: Gillman, Diana, MD
Last Review Date: 10/7/2011
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