Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Feeding your baby nothing but breast milk is recommended for around the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop.
Benefits to Baby:
Breastfeeding is good for babies. Breastfed babies have:
- less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
- fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result
- less chance of being constipated
- less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
- less chance of developing eczema
Benefits to Mum:
Breastfeeding is good for mums too. Breastfeeding your baby:
- reduces your risk of developing ovarian cancer and breast cancer
- helps protect you from developing osteoporosis (weak bones later in life)
- lowers your risk of obesity, it helps you to lose weight
- helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnant size
- lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease
- reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits. Breast milk adapts to meet your baby's changing needs.
Every woman has to learn how to feed her baby. The health professionals involved in your care (midwives, health visiting staff etc) have all been specially trained to support you in this. Also there are some resources and links to further information listed below which you may find helpful.
In fact, it’s never too early to start thinking about how you're going to feed your baby.
Today, most women in England are choosing to breastfeed.
- Breast milk is the only natural food designed for your baby.
- Breastfeeding protects your baby from infections and diseases.
- Breast milk provides health benefits for your baby.
- Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mum.
- It’s free.
- It’s available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed.
- It’s the right temperature.
- It can build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby.
- It can give you a great sense of achievement.