Breastfeeding: The best start for your baby
Research into early life shows that breastfeeding your baby and making sure they get the right nutrition in the early years, can have a huge impact on their health not only when they are little but for their whole life.
There is nothing quite like breastmilk for your baby. It gives your baby the most perfect start. It’s like nature’s own way of nourishing and protecting them. Breastmilk is unique in that it is designed to change to meet your baby’s every need.
Benefits for baby:
- Breastmilk contains essential hormones, enzymes and antibodies, which no formula can replicate, they are important for your baby’s development now and later.
- It also helps to protect your baby from certain illnesses – breastfed babies have less tummy infections (e.g. vomiting and diarrhoea), less chest and ear infections and are less prone to constipation
- In the long term, breastfed babies are also less likely to become overweight/obese and to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Breastmilk gives your baby all the food and drink your baby needs in their first six months, and you can continue breastfeeding, as weaning time comes around and for up to two years and beyond.
It not only provides many benefits for baby, but it also provides benefits for you.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for Mum:
- Mums that breastfeed have a lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer
- Breastfeeding naturally burns up to 500 calories per day
Every single drop of breastmilk you give is good for your baby’s health and makes a difference. The longer that you can breastfeed, equally comes the greater protection for your baby.
While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, it is a skill that you will both learn over your baby’s first days and weeks. Do seek out the right help, support and information while you are pregnant to help you get off to a great start and wonderful journey ahead.
Combination feeding and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breast milk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health visitor for advice about feeding your baby. If you use baby formula, you should follow manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully.
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Questions about feeding and nutrition?
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Breastfeeding is best for babies and provides many benefits. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, you eat a varied, balanced diet. Combined breast and bottle feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of your own breastmilk, and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. The social and financial implications of using an infant formula should be considered. Improper use of an infant formula or inappropriate foods or feeding methods may present a health hazard. If you use an infant formula, you should follow manufacturer’s instructions for use carefully – failure to follow the instructions may make your baby ill. Always consult your doctor, midwife or health visitor for advice about feeding your baby.