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 ingredients , including 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. Babies who are breastfed exclusively for their first six months are less likely to suffer from diarrhoea and sickness, gastroenteritis, colds and flu, ear and chest infections and thrush. In fact, studies have shown that breastfeeding reduces crying and provides relief when babies are having vaccinations.
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. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission.
The AAP outlines 15 recommended breastfeeding practices and a number of statements on the role of pediatricians in promoting and protecting breastfeeding. Among other things, they recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mutually desired. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and breastfeeding with complementary foods for at least 12 months is the ideal feeding pattern for infants.
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.