The decision to breastfeed has a wide array of benefits for both mom and baby.
Breastfeeding provides warmth and closeness, and the physical contact helps create a special bond between you and your newborn. In addition, research shows that breastfeeding and breast milk can lead to better health for mothers and their children.
Benefits for babies
- Breast milk is easier for your baby to digest.
- It doesn’t need to be prepared.
- It’s always available.
- It has all the nutrients, calories and fluids your baby needs to be healthy.
- It has growth factors that ensure the best development of your baby’s organs.
- It has many substances that formulas don’t have that protect your baby from diseases and infections. In fact, breastfed babies are less likely to have:
- Ear infections.
- Pneumonia, wheezing and bronchiolitis.
- Other bacterial and viral infections, such as meningitis.
- Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help to protect against obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, eczema, colitis and some cancers.
Benefits for mothers
- Breastfeeding releases hormones in your body that promote mothering behavior.
- It returns your uterus to the size it was before pregnancy more quickly.
- It burns more calories, which may help you lose the weight you gained during pregnancy.
- It delays the return of your menstrual period to help keep iron in your body.
- It provides contraception, but only if these three conditions are met:
- You are exclusively breastfeeding and not giving your baby any other supplements.
- It is within the first six months after birth.
- Your period has not returned.
- It reduces your risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
- It keeps your bones strong, which helps protect against bone fractures in older age.
UK HealthCare is Baby-Friendly
At UK HealthCare, we’re committed to ensuring a happy, healthy start for newborns and their mothers. In fact, we’re a Baby-Friendly USA® hospital, which is a prestigious acknowledgment of the top-notch care that we provide.
Baby-Friendly USA is a global initiative sponsored by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The initiative encourages hospitals to provide breastfeeding mothers with information, confidence, support and skills necessary to initiate and continue breastfeeding.
Find out more about the Baby-Friendly initiative.