Breastfeeding Your Baby
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed your baby. Breast milk provides all the nutrition your baby needs. It has hundreds of antibodies, enzymes, and other factors that will protect your baby from infections and disease. Breast milk is easy for your baby to digest, always at the right temperature, easy to provide, always handy, changes as your baby grows, and is free. Breast milk and breastfeeding help every part of your baby’s development.
Why is it important to breastfeed my baby?
Babies who are breastfed have lower rates of:
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Type 1 diabetes
- childhood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma
- pneumonia and other respiratory infections
- coughs and colds
- gastrointestinal illnesses
- vomiting, diarrhea, constipation
- urinary tract infections
- ear infections that can damage hearing
- Chrohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis
- Celiac disease
- heart disease and liver disease in adulthood
Health Canada, The World Health Organization, UNICEF, and many other national and international organizations recommend that no other foods besides breast milk be given to your baby until six months of age. They also recommend that you continue to breastfeed after you start giving your baby solid foods at six months.
It is recommended that you breastfeed for two years or longer.
What are the benefits for the mother?
Breastfeeding is good for women because it:
- helps you return more quickly to your pre‑pregnancy weight
- gives you stronger bones later in life
- helps you bond more closely to your baby
- helps your body heal after the baby’s birth
- lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and diabetes