Why breastfeeding is good for mom and baby

Most healthcare professionals recommend that you exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first six months of their life – longer if you can. That’s because breast milk contains all the nutrition a baby needs, but there are many additional benefits of breastfeeding, for both mom and baby.

Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother

  • Menstruation can deplete the iron levels in your body. If a woman is breastfeeding, her period (menstruation) often returns later so she is less likely to suffer from iron deficiency postpartum.
  • Breastfeeding decreases bleeding after birth and can help your uterus shrink back to the same size it was before pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding burns 2 500 kilojoules a day – about the same number you’d burn during an hour of walking upstairs – so many women lose weight while breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeeding can decrease a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast, uterine and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, stroke and high blood pressure.
  • When you breastfeed, your body produces the hormone oxytocin, which helps you feel relaxed and encourages bonding with your baby.


Benefits of breastfeeding for the baby

  • Breastfeeding helps babies relax and creates a stronger bond between mom and child.
  • A child’s risk of getting a cold, flu or ear infection is lower if they are breastfed.
  • If a baby has been breastfed, their immune system is usually stronger than babies who haven’t received breast milk, and they are less likely to suffer with allergies and asthma later in life.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from Diabetes Type 1 or childhood obesity.

For expert advice on breastfeeding please visit La Leche League