The amazing benefits of breastfeeding

Understanding the importance of breastfeeding is key to setting your personal goals. Breast milk is what babies are meant to eat. It’s a natural source of nutrition and provides the healthiest start for an infant, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months (although any amount of time you breastfeed is beneficial) and say it’s an investment in the short- and long-term health of your baby, as opposed to just a lifestyle choice.

Breast milk contains all the necessary vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life. The nutritional makeup of your breast milk will actually change to meet your baby’s changing needs. But the benefits of breastfeeding extend beyond basic nutrition for your baby and are also not limited to just mom and baby.

Here are some of the amazing benefits of breastfeeding:

Benefits of breastfeeding for Baby

  • Breastfed babies have fewer episodes of infections and illnesses.
  • It can reduce the chance of developing chronic disease later in life, such as diabetes and asthma.
  • Breast milk is full of antibodies and nutrients that help the immune system and digestive tract.
  • It can help brain and eye development.
  • It increases bonding and helps baby form a secure attachment with mom.

Benefits for Mom

  • It reduces the risk of developing cervical and breast cancers.
  • It saves money! You already have all the milk you need to feed your baby.
  • Breastfeeding helps the uterus shrink back to pre-pregnancy size and many moms find it easier to return to pre-baby weight.
  • It releases hormones in your body that make you feel relaxed and closer with your baby.
  • It’s an easy way to feed on the go! It’s always at the perfect temperature and ready to go when baby is hungry.

Benefits for Family

  • It saves money! You already have all the milk you need to feed your baby.
  • Breastfeeding allows the family to bond. Spouses can be an important part of breastfeeding by rocking and burping the baby and making sure mom is nourished too!

Benefits for the Community

  • Breastfeeding is environmentally friendly since it really is all natural! It saves water, it doesn’t use energy for manufacturing, and it also doesn’t pollute the environment with garbage or pollution from manufacturing facilities.
  • Breastfed babies are at a lower risk for obesity and chronic illness, which can help create an overall healthier community!

For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding we recommend reading the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk.

Breastfeeding Resources

AAMC offers several breastfeeding support classes, all of which have gone virtual due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. See a complete schedule here.

Breastfeeding Warm Line: Anne Arundel Medical Center’s lactation staff is available to answer any questions you might have about breastfeeding. You can reach our consultants seven days a week via our Warm Line at 443-481-6977. Simply leave a message and they’ll return your call between 9 am and 4 pm the same day. You can also e-mail our lactation staff anytime at

Find a Lactation Consultant: A board-certified lactation consultant can help address your breastfeeding concerns or challenges. You can find one in your area through the United States Lactation Consultant Association directory.

AAMC Smart Parents: Join our Facebook community focused on the journey of parenthood. This is a safe, non-judgmental group to ask questions and get answers from local moms and dads, and AAMC experts.

Originally published April 14, 2016. Last updated July 31, 2020.

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