Breastfeeding

Importance of Breastfeeding

There is nothing you can do for your child in his/her whole life that will affect them both emotionally and physically as profoundly as breastfeeding. It is also important for your own body and affects a surprising number of health issues

The key health benefits of breastfeeding are summarised below:

Babies who breastfeed are less likely to suffer from:

  • Gastro-intestinal Infection
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Necrotising Enterocolitis
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Ear Infections
  • Alergic Disorders (eg. Eczema and Wheezing)
  • Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Childhood Leukaemia.

Breastfed babies may have better:

  • Neurological Development.

More research is needed, but breastfeeding may also provide protection for the infant against:

  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Acute Appendicitis
  • Tonsillectomy

And for the mother, protection against:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Women who have breastfed are at lower risk of:

  • Breast Cancer 
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Hip Fractures and Low Bone Density

Click here to access information on breastfeeding support groups.

Information from The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative and "The womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by La Leche League International.