Benefits of Breastmilk
Breastfeeding is considered the best way to feed your baby for many reasons.
Breastfeeding is best for babies and has many benefits, such as protecting your baby from infection while their immune system develops. It is important that you eat a healthy, balanced diet in preparation for and during breastfeeding. Infant formula is designed to replace breast milk when an infant is not breastfed. Combining breast and bottle feeding in your baby’s first weeks of life may reduce your supply of breast milk, and reversing a decision not to breastfeed is difficult. The social and financial implications of using infant formula should be considered when choosing a method of feeding. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when preparing and using infant formula, including proper sterilisation of bottles and using boiled water. Improper use of an infant formula may make your baby ill. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health care professional for advice about feeding your baby.
Breast milk not only gives your baby the best start in life, it meets their changing nutritional needs as they grow and develop. There are a number of reasons breastfeeding is best for your baby and for you.
Benefits of breastfeeding
Optimal nutrition: During their first year, babies grow faster than at any other time during their lives. Your breast milk is designed to support this rapid growth and is constantly changing to meet your baby’s nutritional needs.
Immunity: When your baby enters the world, their immune systems are not fully developed and ready to protect their little bodies. Breast milk contains many immune factors that help protect your baby against infection while their immune systems mature.
Stimulating the senses: The close contact that your baby experiences from breastfeeding, stimulates your baby's senses of touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste.
How long should I breastfeed for?
Breastfeeding is considered the best nutrition for your baby and will meet all of your baby’s nutritional needs exclusively for the first six months of life. When solids are introduced at around six months, breastfeeding is recommended to continue until around 12 months of age and beyond. How long you breastfeed for is a decision that you and your baby make, based on your personal circumstances. If your child is no longer breastfed at any stage, it’s important to ensure that they are getting the nutrition they need to support healthy growth and development.
Always talk with your doctor, midwife or health care professional for advice about feeding your baby and any concerns you may have.
For more information or advice about breastfeeding, visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association at https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au