Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding has many benefits for both your child and for you as a mother. Breastfeeding gives your baby the best healthy start possible. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics highly recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of their life. They recommend continuing breastfeeding until the child turns two years old, along with nutritious complementary foods. However, any breastfeeding at all has a big health benefit for your baby.

Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby

  1. Your breastmilk contains antibodies that help babies fight off viruses and bacteria. This is especially important because babies are not born with an immune system – it must develop over time as they are exposed to germs. Research suggests that breastfeeding results in many healthy outcomes for babies, including lowering their risk for certain infections and diseases, including: 
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Ear infections
  • Asthma
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Eczema
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Type 1 and 2 diabetes
  • Childhood obesity
  • Childhood leukemia
  • Celiac Disease
  • Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis 

2. Breastmilk has the right mix of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fat your baby needs to grow and be healthy.

3. Breastmilk is easily digestible for infants – no experimenting to find the right formula. Additionally, the thick milk you will make during pregnancy and just after birth, called colostrum, helps your baby’s digestive system grow in a way that formula cannot. 

4. The physical contact of breastfeeding helps babies to bond to their mothers. It makes them feel safe, secure, and loved. 

Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom

  • Losing weight after childbirth. Breastfeeding burns a significant number of calories and can make it easier for you to return to your pre-pregnancy weight.
  • Lowered risk of breast, ovarian, endometrial, and thyroid cancers.
  • Lowered risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
  • The skin-to-skin contact of breastfeeding helps to boost your oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps you feel calm and has the added benefit of increasing your breast milk flow.
  • Breastfeeding is free and convenient. Breastfed babies are sick less often, which can reduce the time you have to take off work and your healthcare costs. Additionally, when you are breastfeeding, the milk your baby needs is always ready to go when they are hungry.


WIC Breastfeeding Support

American Academy of Pediatrics

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