Breastfeeding Benefits Both Baby and Mom

What to know

Breastfeeding has health benefits for both babies and mothers. Breast milk provides a baby with ideal nutrition and supports growth and development. Breastfeeding can also help protect baby and mom against certain illnesses and diseases.

Woman breastfeeding while sitting in a wicker seat.

Five great benefits of breastfeeding


Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most babies. As the baby grows, the mother's breast milk will change to meet the baby's nutritional needs.


Breastfeeding can help protect babies against some short- and long-term illnesses and diseases. Breastfed babies have a lower risk of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed babies are also less likely to have ear infections and stomach bugs.


Breast milk shares antibodies from the mother with her baby. These antibodies help babies develop a strong immune system and protect them from illnesses.


Mothers can breastfeed anytime and anywhere. Mothers can feed their babies on the go without worrying about having to mix formula or prepare bottles. When traveling, breastfeeding can also provide a source of comfort for babies whose normal routine is disrupted.

Mother's Health

Breastfeeding has health benefits for the mother too! Breastfeeding can reduce the mother's risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months is recommended. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends continued breastfeeding while introducing appropriate complementary foods until children are 12 months old or older.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization also recommend exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, with continued breastfeeding along with introducing appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years of age or longer.