The benefits of breastfeeding


Breastfeeding gives your baby the best start in life. It provides him/her with important nutritional and immune factors, as well as a feeling of closeness and well-being.

Also see: Breastfeeding? What to eat and not to eat

Benefits for your baby

  • Your breast milk is specially designed for your baby and contains everything needed for healthy growth in the first 6 months.
  • It contains antibodies and immune factors, which are passed from you to your baby to help fight infection. Colostrum, which is produced in the first 2-4 days, is high in proteins, rich in antibodies and is easily digested.

The 100% Breastfed campaign videos were created by Digital Medic South Africa, an initiative of the Stanford Centre for Health Education and the Stanford School of Medicine. 

  • Breast milk is easier to digest than formula milk for your baby, decreasing the incidence of constipation, stomach upset and diarrhoea. A breastfed baby’s nappies are more pleasant to change!
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop gastroenteritis and ear infections.
  • Other proven or compelling benefits include better brain development, a lower risk of allergy in those with a family history and possibly, protection against diabetes. Breastfed babies may also have lower blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol and a lower chance of becoming obese later in life.

What's been the best and hardest thing about breastfeeding? Tell us by emailing to and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

Benefits for you

  • Breastfeeding brings you close to your new baby and gives you quiet times in the day and night to get to know each other.
  • It can be a very satisfying experience for both of you.
  • Breastfeeding helps your womb to contract and gets you back into shape more quickly, as the extra fat stored in your body during the pregnancy is converted to energy to help produce breast milk.
  • Women who breastfeed are at a lower risk of ovarian cancer, breast cancer and osteoporosis in later life.
  • Breast milk is very convenient; it is sterile, always available wherever you are and at the correct temperature, even in the middle of the night. It is also free. You may experience some discomfort when you start to breastfeed, and breastfed babies require more frequent feeds because breast milk is quicker to digest. Newborn babies are very demanding!

Once breastfeeding is established you may want to express your breast milk on occasion so that your partner, family or friends can help. 

What's been the best and hardest thing about breastfeeding? Tell us by emailing to and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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