Benefits of breastfeeding
It's never too early to start thinking about how you're going to feed your baby. But you don't have to make up your mind until your baby is born.
In the Africa, more than 73% of mothers start breastfeeding. These are some of the reasons why:
1) Your breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby.
2) Breast milk protects your baby from infections and diseases.
3) Breastfeeding provides health benefits for you as a mother
4) Breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it
5) Breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby
6) Formula milk doesn't provide the same protection from illness and doesn't give you any health benefits.
Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby
Breastfeeding has long-term benefits for your baby, lasting right into adulthood.
Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.
Breastfeeding reduces your baby's risk of:
A) infections, with fewer visits to hospital as a result
B) diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result
C) sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
D) childhood leukaemia
E) type 2 diabetes
G) cardiovascular disease in adulthood
Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life.
After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside family foods for as long as you and your baby want will help them grow and develop healthily.
Breast milk adapts as your baby grows to meet your baby's changing needs.
Health benefits of breastfeeding for you
Breastfeeding and making breast milk also has health benefits for you. The more you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.
Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:
1) breast cancer
2) ovarian cancer
3) osteoporosis (weak bones)
4) cardiovascular disease