Breastfeeding: Health benefits for you and your baby

Feeding your child with your breastmilk can provide more benefits than just convenience. It can actually introduce a wealth of health benefits for you and your baby. Here’s just a few to consider…

For mums:

  • Reduced risk of breast cancer: The risk of breast cancer is reduced by 4.3% for every 12 months of breastfeeding, this is in addition to the 7.0% decrease in risk observed for each birth.
  • Lower risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer: Breastfeeding also lowers a woman’s risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis: Breastfeeding increases bone density in women, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes: Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduced risk of postpartum depression: Breastfeeding can help promote hormonal balance and reduce the risk of postpartum depression.
  • Better mental health: Because of the secure attachment formed with your infants while you breastfeed, women who breastfeed exclusively often report better mental health outcomes and lower rates of anxiety and depression.
  • Cost-effective: Breastfeeding is a natural, cost-effective source of nutrition for infants and does not require the purchase of formula or supplies.
  • Convenient: Breastfeeding is a convenient way to feed a baby, as mothers do not need to worry about preparing formula or sterilising bottles in the middle night.

The benefits don’t stop there and breastfeeding also has many health benefits for babies, which is why it is recommended by Oldham’s healthcare professionals as the best source of nutrition for babies.

Here are some health benefits breastfed babies enjoy:

  • Better nutrition: Breast milk is a complete food for babies and provides all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for growth and development.
  • Reduces the risk of infections: Breast milk contains antibodies and other components that help protect babies from infections such as ear infections, meningitis, diarrhoea, respiratory infections, and urinary tract infections.
  • Reduces the risk of allergies and asthma: Breastfeeding can reduce the risk of developing allergies and asthma later in life.
  • Strengthens the immune system: Breast milk is loaded with immune-boosting factors like probiotics, which can help build a stronger immune system and lessen the risk of developing chronic health problems.
  • Promotes better brain development: Breast milk contains long-chain fatty acids that promote better brain development, improving the cognitive and visual function of infants.
  • Decreases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): Breastfeeding has been associated with a lower risk of SIDS. Breastfeeding and SIDS – website
  • Promotes healthy weight: Breastfed babies are less likely to be overweight or obese in childhood and later life.
  • Promotes bonding and emotional development: Skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding helps promote bonding between mother and baby.

Breastfeeding benefits go beyond nutrition, including reducing the risk of infections, allergies and asthma, SIDS, maintaining healthy weight, promoting brain and emotional development and promoting bonding between mother and baby.