Breastfeeding Community

Health Benefits of Breastfeeding

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
04/02/14  11:43 PM PST
Benefits of Breastfeeding

In addition to the joyful bonding that occurs with breastfeeding, the health benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby are well-documented. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months
  • Continued breastfeeding as foods are introduced
  • Continued breastfeeding for 1 year or longer (up to mom and baby)


Benefits for You:

Breastfeeding can improve your postpartum experience and reduce your risk for disease.

  • More rapid return of uterus to pre-birth size
  • Decreased postpartum blood loss
  • Increase loss of baby weight (with 6 months of exclusive breastfeeding)
  • Reduced risk of:
    • Postpartum depression
    • Type 2 Diabetes
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Breast and ovarian cancers


Benefits for Your Baby:

Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk for developing many chronic conditions.

Condition Estimated Risk Reduction With Breastfeeding for Any Length of Time
Otitis Media (Ear Infections) 23%
Upper Respiratory Tract Infections 72%
Gastrointestinal Tract Infections 64%
Necrotizing Enterocolitis 58%
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome 36%
Allergic Disease 27-42%
Celiac Disease 52%
Obesity 15-30%
Diabetes 30%


For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding:

American Academy of Pediatrics Breastfeeding Initiatives


Source: Section on Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics. 2012;129(3):e827


This information is for educational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a physician or other health care professional. If you have questions about your health or your baby’s health, please contact your health care provider.


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