Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby

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Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby

Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby

Breastfeeding can help protect your baby from infections and diseases and can also have long-term benefits lasting into adulthood.

Breastfeeding your baby may reduce their risk of:

  • infections, diarrhoea and vomiting
  • obesity, type and cardiovascular disease in adulthood

There is also some limited evidence that breastfeeding may reduce risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and childhood leukaemia.

Health benefits of breastfeeding for you

Breast feeding has health benefits for mothers too. Reviews of the evidence suggest that breastfeeding reduces the risk of:

  • breast and ovarian cancers
  • obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Scientists have calculated that your body may need 500 extra calories a day for milk production when babies are exclusively breastfed. However, it has since been suggested by research that this figure is too high, and around 330 calories a day is more likely. For some women, the additional energy needed for breastfeeding may help towards returning to their pre-pregnancy weight.

Information reviewed November 2016

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