Why Should You Breastfeed Your Baby?
Best for Baby
A mother's milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar,
water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth and development. Most
babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula. Breast milk
has agents (called
antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and
viruses and to help them fight off infection and disease. Human milk straight
from the breast is always sterile.
More detail on benefits for baby.
Best for Mom
Breastfeeding saves times and money. You do not have to
purchase, measure, and mix formula, and there are no bottles to warm in the
middle of the night. Breastfeeding also helps a mother bond with her baby.
Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure,
warm and comforted. Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the
pounds gained from pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its
original size more quickly and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after
giving birth. Breastfeeding also may lower the risk of breast and ovarian
More detail on benefits for mom.
The U.S. Surgeon General Recommends
The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that babies be fed with
breast milk only, no formula, for the first 6 months of life. It is better to
breastfeed for 6 months and best to breastfeed for 12 months, or for as long as
you and your baby wish. Solid foods can be introduced when the baby is 6 months
old, while you continue to breastfeed.
for the HHS Blueprint for Action on Breastfeeding (PDF file, 439 Kb)