There’s nothing more healthy and natural for your baby than breastfeeding – and it’s free. But it’s not always easy.
Sometimes breastfeeding can be harder than new mums expect. It is worth persevering with, however, as it is the best start you can give your baby.
Benefits for baby
- Breastmilk is easily digested, always fresh and immediately available.
- Breastmilk not only has protective antibodies but also helps baby grow and develop at its own pace.
- Breastfeeding and breastmilk help protect baby from chest, ear and urine infections, meningitis and infectious diseases.
- Breastfeeding decreases the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI).
- Breastfeeding and breastmilk may protect baby from chronic tummy problems and some childhood cancers. There is also evidence of a reduced risk of allergies, eczema and asthma.
- Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of obesity and may help reduce the risk of diabetes in baby’s later life.
Benefits for mothers
- Breastfeeding can help mothers recover from birth.
- Skin-to-skin contact is a wonderful way to start intimately connecting with your baby and a great boost to initiate breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer in mothers.
- Breastfeeding mothers may have a reduced risk of ovarian cancer, osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life.
- Breastfeeding may help mum to lose the weight gained through pregnancy.
Mums wanting to talk to other mums about breastfeeding can join the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page – facebook.com/breastfeedingnz. Information, including where to go for help and support, is also available on the website breastfeeding.org.nz