There is nothing you can do for your child in his/her whole life that will affect them both emotionally and physically as profoundly as breastfeeding. It is also important for your own body and affects a surprising number of health issues. Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside family foods for the first two years, or for as long as you and your baby want, will help them grow and develop healthily. Breast milk adapts as your baby grows to meet your baby's changing needs.
Babies who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from:
- Gastro-intestinal Infection
- Respiratory Infections
- Necrotising Enterocolitis
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Ear Infections
- Alergic Disorders (eg. Eczema and Wheezing)
- Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
- Childhood Leukaemia.
- Breastfed babies may have better:
- Neurological Development.
Breastfeeding and making breast milk also has health benefits for you. The more you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.
Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Osteoporosis (weak bones)
- Cardiovascular disease
Information on breastfeeding support groups.
National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0212 (9.30am-9.30pm)
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 0844 412 2949 (open 9.30am-10.30pm)
La Leche League 0845 120 2918 (24 hours)
National Childbirth Trust 0300 330 0771 (8am-10pm)