What are the benefits of breastfeeding my baby?
There are many benefits to breastfeeding your baby! "Human milk provides the specific nutrients that babies need to grow, both in size and maturity... " (THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, 7th Revised Edition, page 340). Your milk is made to order for your baby. Research points to the significant value to infants, mothers, families and the environment from breastfeeding.
Benefits for Baby
Chapter 18 of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, 7th Revised Edition, "Human Milk for Human Babies ," documents the benefits of breastfeeding such as the antibodies in it to protect the baby from illness. For example, a study in the Philippines showed that, "Deaths from respiratory infections and diarrhea were eight to ten times higher in babies who were artificially fed than in those who were even partiaully breastfed for six months " (THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, 7th Revised Edition, page 350). Breastfed babies have a decreased likelihood for allergies and dental caries. They also benefit from appropriate jaw, teeth and speech development as well as overall facial development. This means that people who were artificially fed may experience more trips to doctors and dentists
Benefits for Mother
Chapter 19 of THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, "How Breastfeeding Affects a Mother," describes some of the physical benefits of breastfeeding for the mother such as reduced rates of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The time saved for mother is immense also. As a breastfeeding mother, you can feed your baby even during stressful times such as when normal supplies of food and water are not available.
Benefits for Employers
Breastfed babies are healthier babies; thus, mothers who are employed outside the home are likely to miss fewer days of work according to a study in the BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, 3rd Revised edition. on page 242, To learn more about working and breastfeeding see our collection of breastfeeding resources.
Benefits for the Environment
The article "A Quick Look at Breastfeeding's Most Revolutionary Year Yet," by Dia Michels describes the environmentally friendly benefits of breastfeeding. Simply put, human milk is delivered without excess packaging or processing and thus contributes to the health of our planet.
Resources for Additional Information:
A variety of benefits to mother and baby articles can be found in our benefits of breastfeeding resource page.
These items are available from the LLLI online store or through your local Leader.
THE WOMANLY ART OF BREASTFEEDING, published by La Leche League International, is the most complete resource available for the breastfeeding mother.
La Leche League International's BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, 3rd Revised Edition, by Nancy Mohrbacher and Julie Stock is a popular resource book that includes up-to-date references, expanded information, and three new chapters. This publication is an indispensable resource for all who counsel breastfeeding mothers.