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Why is breastfeeding good for your baby?

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

Breast milk is the best food for babies in the first year of life. It helps them grow healthy and strong and protects them from infections and illness. For example:

  • Breast milk has hormones and the right amount of protein, sugar, fat and most vitamins to help your baby grow and develop.

  • Breast milk has antibodies that help protect your baby from many illnesses. Antibodies are cells in the body that fight off infection. Breastfed babies have fewer health problems than babies who aren’t breastfed. For example, breastfed babies don’t have as many ear, lung or urinary tract infections. And later in life they’re less likely to be overweight or have asthma, certain cancers and diabetes (having too much sugar in the blood).

  • Breast milk has fatty acids, like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), that may help your baby’s brain and eyes develop.

  • Breastfeeding can reduce your baby’s risk for sudden infant death syndrome (also called SIDS). SIDS is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old.

  • Breast milk is easy to digest. A breastfed baby may have less gas and belly pain than a baby who is fed formula. Formula is a man-made product that you buy and feed your baby.

  • Breast milk changes as your baby grows so he gets exactly what he needs at the right time. For example, for the first few days after giving birth, your breasts make a thick, sticky, early form of breast milk called colostrum. Colostrum has nutrients and antibodies that your baby needs in the first few days of life. It changes to breast milk in 3 to 4 days.

  • Breast milk is always ready when your baby wants to eat. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you make.

In the United States, most new moms (about 80 percent) start breastfeeding. More than half (about 58 percent) of moms breastfeed for 6 months. About one-third of new moms (36 percent) breastfeed for 12 months.

Reference list:

Why is breastfeeding good for your baby? . Available at:,for%20at%20least%206%20months.

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