11 Benefits of Breastfeeding

11 Benefits of Breastfeeding

It's well documented that breastmilk is a great source of nutrition for baby but what other benefits are there for mum and baby?

For mum

  • Research has shown that breastfeeding decreases breast cancer risk and may decrease the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer
  • It is reported that breastfeeding can burn up to 500 extra calories a day!
  • Breastmilk is free and it saves time - there's no need to wait for water to reach the right temperature or worry about sterilising bottles
  • Breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin which is often referred to as the 'love' or 'happy' hormone as well as prolactin. Both hormones are known to help with relaxation and reduce stress
  • Breastfeeding delays the return of periods for some women (though it is worth being aware that even if your period hasn't returned it doesn't mean that you might not get pregnant, breastfeeding isn't a reliable form of contraception)

For baby

  • Have a lower risk of obesity and Type 1 and 2 diabetes
  • Have a reduced risk of getting sick and developing allergies
  • Contains antibodies to support their immune system to protect them from infection. Breast-fed babies have fewer infections and get better more quickly than formula-fed babies. However, breastfeeding cannot protect your baby from serious, life-threatening infections like polio, diphtheria or measles
  • Are less likely to develop the likes of gastroenteritis and ear infections
  • Have optimal oral development because of the way their jaw moves while feeding (and the nutrients within breastmilk decrease the risk of tooth decay)
  • May have a reduced risk of obesity
For more information about the benefits of breastfeeding and to learn more about myths surrounding breastfeeding there is a useful resource on the NHS website.We've also got a helpful article on the many ways breastfeeding can help if baby gets sick.