Over the past decades, evidence for the health advantages of breastfeeding and recommendations for practice have continued to increase. WHO can now say with full confidence that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood. On a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the recommended way of feeding infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.
Studies indicate that breastfeeding helps improve mothers' health, as well as their children's. A woman grows both physically and emotionally from the relationship she forms with her baby. Just as a woman's breast milk is designed specifically to nourish the body of an infant, the production and delivery of this milk aids her own health.
All A-Z health topics. View all pages in this section. When you breastfeed, you give your baby a healthy start that lasts a lifetime.
Breastfeeding offers advantages for children that cannot be duplicated by any other form of feeding. The benefits of breastfeeding begin from the first moments after childbirth and last for many years after breastfeeding ends. Toddler Health.
Jump to navigation. Your breastmilk is the only food specifically designed for your baby. As well as having all the nutrients your baby needs to grow and develop, human milk has very special ingredients such as antibodies, hormones and stem cells to help protect your baby now and in the future.
Research shows that breastfeeding offers many health benefits for infants and mothers, as well as potential economic and environmental benefits for communities. Breastfeeding provides essential nutrition. Research also shows that very early skin-to-skin contact and suckling may have physical and emotional benefits.
Back to Your pregnancy and baby guide. It's never too early to start thinking about how you're going to feed your baby. But you do not have to make up your mind until your baby is born.
Breast milk provides abundant and easily absorbed nutritional components, antioxidants, enzymes, immune properties, and live antibodies from mother. These antibodies enter her milk to help protect her baby from illness. Breast milk also contains substances that naturally soothe infants.
This includes the nutrition a baby receives during this period which can have a resounding impact. The most complete form of nutrition for infants, breast milk, offers a range of benefits for health, growth, immunity, and development. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months and even up to two years and beyond because of the long-lasting benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby.
Breast milk is the best food for your baby, and the many advantages of breastfeeding mean your baby benefits from your milk in lots of other important ways too. As well as nourishing him, breast milk protects your baby. Breast milk is full of live ingredientsincluding stem cells, white blood cells and beneficial bacteria, 2 as well as other bioactive components, such as antibodies, enzymes and hormones, 3 which all help fight infection, prevent disease, and contribute to normal healthy development.