9 Ways Breastfeeding Helps Baby and You

Mar 15, 2023


You've heard it before: “Breast is best.” But did you know breastfeeding has health benefits for moms too? If you decide to breastfeed your baby — and the choice is up to you — you may want to know more about the benefits for both of you.

But first, it's important to know the current breastfeeding recommendations. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that you:

  • Feed your baby only breastmilk for six months.
  • Keep breastfeeding until about 12 months after you start to give your baby solid food.
  • Continue breastfeeding for as long as you and your baby want to.

Benefits for you and baby

Now, about those breastfeeding benefits.

Benefit #1: Breast milk is nutritious

Talk about a superfood! Breast milk has all the calories and nutrients your baby needs to grow healthy and strong.

Benefit #2: Breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome

SIDS is the sudden and unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old. No one knows exactly why, but breastfeeding may reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 64%.

Benefit #3: Your baby might get sick less often

Breastfed babies tend to have fewer ear infections, respiratory infections and diarrhea. You pass some of your infection-fighting antibodies to your baby in your breast milk.

Benefit #4: Your baby may develop fewer illnesses later on

These include asthma, diabetes and obesity.

Benefit #5: You get protection from some diseases too

These include lower risk for high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancers.

Benefit #6: You and your baby will bond better

The closeness you feel when you hold your baby to your breast helps create an emotional connection. This also releases a hormone called oxytocin that helps you feel calm.

Benefit #7: Breastfeeding helps with childbirth recovery

It causes your uterus to tighten and tone faster. And it may help you shed pregnancy pounds faster.

Benefit #8: You’ll save money

Breastmilk is free, saving the expense of formula.

Benefit #9: You’ll save time and hassles

You don't have to carry bottles around or spend time mixing and heating formula.

Natural, but new

Though breastfeeding is natural, it can be tricky at first. If you’re pregnant and planning to breastfeed, consider signing up for our online Understanding Breastfeeding class.

Once baby arrives, our team supports breastfeeding during your stay at our Family Birth Place by helping you:

  • Feed baby as soon as possible.
  • Recognize when your baby is hungry.
  • Learn about latch and positioning.
  • Avoid pacifiers and bottles at first.
  • Schedule time with a lactation consultant.

Learn more about breastfeeding support and lactation consolations offered at the Family Birth Place.

Additional sources: Office on Women's Health; U.S. Department of Agriculture

Tags: Maternity