The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding an infant exclusively for the first six months of life with breastfeeding continuing for 1 year and beyond with appropriate supplemental foods. This is recommended because breast milk is widely considered to be the best food for human babies. Learning about the benefits and joys of breastfeeding can help you decide if it is right for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding is good for baby!Benefits of Breastfeeding: Babies

Breast milk contains many components that help babies get the best start in life. And in some cases, the longer a baby is breastfed, the greater the benefits! Some benefits of breastfeeding for babies include:

  • Fewer ear infections
  • Less colic, gas, & spitting up—because breast milk is so easily digested
  • Fewer stomach problems or constipation
  • Less risk of pneumonia & respiratory illnesses
  • Less risk of allergies & asthma
  • Less risk of SIDS
  • Less risk of obesity in childhood
  • Less risk of diabetes
  • Better brain development
  • Exposure to a variety of tastes makes it easier to introduce solids later
  • Helps promote proper jaw, tooth, & speech development

Benefits of Breastfeeding: Moms

Moms also see great benefits while breastfeeding their baby. Some of those benefits include:

  • Helps uterus return to normal size after birth and reduces bleeding
  • Helps with weight loss — requires 500 or more calories a day
  • Less risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer
  • Improves bone density
  • Lower cost – breastfeeding moms do not need to buy formula!

Health benefits for both mother and baby are great reasons to breastfeed! However, when asking breastfeeding moms what the best benefit of breastfeeding is, many will say that the bonding time they have with their baby is by far the greatest thing about nursing!

Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding lowers the risk of many medical conditions in both mothers and babies. Infants that are breastfed have been shown to have a lower risk of SIDS, allergies, and diabetes later in life. Moms that breastfeed have a lower risk of developing cancer. Because of these great benefits, your community most likely has breastfeeding support to help you overcome barriers and breastfeed longer. Look for these breastfeeding supporters in your community!

  • The WIC Program – This Department of Health Program provides counseling and advice on breastfeeding. Also supports breastfeeding by supplying women who need to go back to work or school with breast pumps
  • Hospital Lactation Consultants – These breastfeeding supporters can be found in hospital and clinics and will help you with any questions you have after you deliver your baby
  • Breastfeeding Peer Counselors – These women have had experience in breastfeeding and want to see you succeed! They will provide advice and personal experience to help you and your baby get the most out of breastfeeding!
  • La Leche League and other support groups – Support groups are filled with moms like you who either need breastfeeding help or just want to connect with other moms that are breastfeeding. Your local WIC office will have information on breastfeeding support groups in your community.
  • Family and Friends – This group of people is considered one of the most important for breastfeeding success! Find a family member or close friend that has breastfed. More than likely, she will want you to feel the same bonding that she felt with her baby.
  • Moms can find plenty of breastfeeding support online. These sites can help answer your breastfeeding questions and give you some tips:
    La Leche League
    SD WIC
  • Breastfeeding-Friendly Environments Are Good for Business – When businesses support breastfeeding customers and employees – everyone wins. Breastfeeding mothers are more likely to patronize businesses where they feel comfortable nursing. Breastfeeding moms miss work less often, and report higher productivity and job satisfaction. And, businesses with breastfeeding policies have retention rates as high as 94% compared to the national average of only 59%.

Become a Breastfeeding-Friendly Business at

It can be a very powerful feeling to know that you are not alone in wanting to provide the best nutrition and health for your baby. Coming into contact with any of these breastfeeding supporters can give you a helping hand, which will benefit both you and your baby for years to come!