The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Benefits of Breastfeeding for Baby:

  • Best food, full of all the nutrients required for your baby’s growth. The nutrients change in breast milk as the baby grows – ensuring all necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals are available.
  • Breast milk is full of antibodies that protect your baby from bacteria and viruses. This protection lasts beyond your baby’s breastfeeding stage.
  • Breast milk provides a lining on the stomach – less bacteria can invade the stomach – lower incidence of stomach problems.
  • Breastfed babies have a lower incidence of colic.
  • Promotes better brain development.
  • Natural antibiotics present in breast milk help to protect against ear and chest infections.
  • Protects from obesity as breast milk provides the right amount of protein and fat necessary for growth.
  • Breast milk tastes better. Certain foods can flavour your milk, such as garlic.
  • Breast milk is a natural pain reliever. A study in a neonatal unit showed that breastfeeding babies during procedures was as beneficial as administering pain relief.
  • Studies also show less incidence of breastfed babies post immunisations.
  • Breast milk is always fresh, no preparation needed and always at the correct temperature.
  • Colostrum is the first milk. It is full of proteins and antibodies. It is very valuable, and every drop counts. It will coat the stomach lining and prevent harmful bacteria attaching.

Long-Term Benefits:

  • A study shows that breastfed babies are less likely to be obese or overweight in later life.
  • Breastfeeding is associated with reduced blood pressure and cholesterol in later life.
  • Decreased risk of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
  • A study of 17,000 children from birth to 6 years of age identified higher IQ scores in breastfed babies.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of Coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • One month of exclusive breastfeeding conferred protection against allergic food intolerance and respiratory allergens, such as asthma. Protection was evident in children up to 17 years of age.
  • Research has shown breastfed babies have a lower incidence of eczema and childhood allergies.
  • Breastfed babies are sick less often, therefore less GP fees, and less time off work for parents.

The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. But remember, every breastfeed makes a difference to your baby’s health and well-being.

Benefits to Mom:

  • Helps to control bleeding post birth.
  • Quicker weight loss post birth – burning up to 500 calories a day.
  • Promotes closeness and bonding with your baby.
  • Promotes a feeling of relaxation – a special time sitting down feeding, watching daytime TV!
  • Lower incidence of postnatal depression.
  • A study shows a 20% reduction in risk of breast cancer in women who breastfed in comparison to those who had not.
  • In 4-6 weeks, breastfeeding becomes very easy and natural.
  • Very rewarding.
  • Studies show the longer you breastfeed, the more protection from ovarian and breast cancer.
  • Saves time on bottle preparation, sterilising.
  • Money saving – formula feeding can cost up to €1500 per year.
  • Eco friendly as no waste.