By breastfeeding, you will be providing your baby with the best food for healthy growth. Breast milk has the right amount of protein, sugar, fat, and most vitamins a baby needs with all nutrients in the perfect balance. Some benefits come from the nutrients in the milk and others from baby nursing at the breast. The American Academy of Pediatrics and many other experts recommend breastfeeding as the only food for the first 6 months, then to continue breastfeeding along with other foods until at least a year.
There are many benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and the mother, and these increase if baby is nursed at least 12 months.
Benefits for the baby:
- Early development of the infant immune system
- Decrease in ear and many other infections
- Decreased risk of diarrhea
- Decreased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Less likely to be hospitalized due to serious illness
- Strengthens connection with mother
- Nursing at the breast promotes good jaw development and growth of straight and healthy teeth
- Breast milk is always ready when baby wants to eat
Benefits for the mother:
- Uterus returns to normal quicker and helps stop bleeding after birth
- Burns more calories – return to pre-pregnancy weight more quickly
- May reduce risk of diabetes, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer
- Lowers risk of osteoporosis – protects against bone fractures in older age
- Strengthens connection with baby
- Saves hundreds of dollars
- Saves time
Benefits for the baby later in life:
- Less childhood obesity
- Studies show higher IQ, higher earning potential, and better eyesight
- On average, more mature, assertive, and secure with themselves as they develop
Contact your midwife or lactation consultant for more information.