Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mother and Baby

Breastfeeding provides nutrition to your baby, but did you know it also can make a difference to mothers too?

First feed
Benefit for baby: Helps to stabilise the baby’s blood sugars and protect the baby’s gut from infection
Benefit for mother: Opportunity for 1st skin to skin cuddle and help with bonding

First Day
Benefit for baby: Antibodies in the mother’s colostrum provides natural immunity from infections
Benefit for mother: Helps the womb to contract to a normal size

2-3 Days
Benefit for baby: Sticky black meconium is cleared more easily from the baby’s bowel
Benefit for mother: Instant relief for hot, swollen, and often painful breasts when your milk comes in

1 Week
Benefit for baby: Transition in to the world outside the womb is easier
Benefit for mother: Frequent feeds mean a chance to sit / lay down and allow time to get to know your baby

2 Weeks
Benefit for baby: Food / drink always at the right temperature and available when the baby requires it
Benefit for mother: Hormones released help you sleep better at night

4 Weeks
Benefit for baby: For premature babies, lowers the risk of heart disease later on in life
Benefit for mother: Saves sterilising / making up bottle feeds

6 Weeks
Benefit for baby: Less chance of chest infections now and up to 7 years old
Benefit for mother: Breastfeeding should be easier by now, and you can go out on outings without bottle feeding equipment

2 Months
Benefit for baby: Lower risk of food allergy at 3 yrs old (If breastfeed only)
Benefit for mother: Reduced risk of Ovarian cancer later on in life

3 Months
Benefit for baby: Less likely to suffer with diarrhoea or need to be hospitalised with gastroenteritis
Benefit for mother: Fewer trips to GP, as baby often less ill

4 Months
Benefit for baby: Lower risk of developing athsma or eczema
Benefit for mother: Feeling of achievement for being solely responsible for your baby’s nutrition

5 Months
Benefit for baby: Less likely to suffer cot death, and lower risk of Urinary tract infections (UTi’s)
Benefit for mother: A way to help you reconnect with your baby if you have to go back to work

6 Months
Benefit for baby: Lower risk of ear infections
Benefit for mother: Lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future

1 Year
Benefit for baby: Lower risk of becoming overweight in later life, low risk of developing heart disease as a adult
Benefit for mother: No need to buy formula at all – saving a whopping £450 (approx) this year

2 Years+
Benefit for baby: Likely to have a higher than average score in IQ tests
Benefit for mother: Fewer trips to the dentist when the baby is a teenager, risk of breast cancer reduced by 8%

Source: NCT ‘Reasons to be Proud’

by Michelle, mum to Joshua, Alexa and Nathan

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