Benefits of breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding offers many benefits for both mother and baby. It provides all the nutrition your baby needs during their first six months of life and gives them a healthy start that will last a lifetime. It also helps to create a loving bond.

For babies:

  • Breast milk provides nutrients to help with the development of their eyes, brain and other body systems1.
  • The act of breastfeeding assists with jaw development1.
  • Breast milk contains antibodies and other factors that offer protection while their immune system is still developing1.
  • Breast milk helps protect against many common health problems including allergies, middle‐ear and gastrointestinal ailments, eczema and weight issues, both in childhood and later in life2.

The first milk in a mother’s breasts is colostrum, which is very rich in protein and antibodies that help give a baby a great start to life. This is gradually replaced by mature breast milk a few days after birth. Breast milk contains the perfect combination of protein, fats, nutrients and carbohydrates as well as antibodies, enzymes and hormones, which make it preferable to formula milk. In addition to providing your baby nourishment, breastfeeding has numerous benefits for mothers including:

  • Reduces the risk of health conditions such as osteoporosis2
  • Helps the uterus return to its pre‐pregnancy size2
  • Has cost benefits.
  • Is convenient and always available.
  • Boosts oxytocin levels, a hormone that has calming effects for the mother and also helps breast milk to flow3.

Breastfeeding does not always come easily and can be a learning process for both mother and baby. If you’re worried that you’re not producing enough milk to support your baby’s needs, consider the herb fenugreek which helps support healthy milk flow.

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Published November 26, 2014
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