Benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby. When you choose to breastfeed, you’re choosing to make an investment in your baby’s mental, physical and emotional health as well as your own. Breastfeeding allows you to provide the food that’s perfect for your baby. Your milk already contains almost all of the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs to keep him satisfied and healthy (a daily supplement of 400 IU of vitamin D is recommended for breastfed babies).
Here are just some of the reasons why breastfeeding is better for you and your baby:
Good for baby
- May reduce risk of becoming overweight or obese later in life
- May increase protection against many illnesses and infections
- May increase protection against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Helps prevent constipation
- Decreases the risk of digestive diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and colitis
- Promotes proper jaw and tooth development
- Promotes healthy brain development
- May reduce the risk of allergies
Good for you
- Helps your uterus to return to its normal size after birth
- Helps to control bleeding after birth
- Helps to protect against breasts and ovarian cancer
- Helps protect against osteoporosis
- Helps you return to a healthy body weight after birth
- Slows down the return of your period
Good for baby and you
- Builds healthy relationships for life
- Promotes skin-to-skin closeness and touching with baby
- Promotes bonding between you and your baby
- Satisfies both you and your baby’s emotional needs
Convenient and environmentally friendly
- Always fresh, available at anytime and at the right temperature
- Saves money as infant formula can be expensive (see Breastfeeding section)
- Saves time—no need to prepare formula or bottles
- Environmentally-friendly —no formula and bottle packages to throw out
Health Canada recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. At about 6 months you can start introducing solid foods (“complementary foods”), while continuing to breastfeed for up to 2 years and beyond.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has a variety of FREE services that offer help and support while you’re breastfeeding.
For more information, call 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120. You can also drop in to any of our Watch Me Grow centres, for free consultations with a Public Health Nurse, access to immunizations and weigh-ins, and the opportunity to meet and share with other parents of children 0 to 6 years of age.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is committed to supporting the parent’s decision on their feeding choice. If you have made an informed decision not to breastfeed, click here.