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HealthInfo Canterbury

Why breastfeed?

Breast milk provides the best food for babies as they grow, and is the only food and drink they need for the first six months of their life. Even after six months, you can continue breastfeeding your baby while introducing other foods.

Colostrum, which is the first milk you produce after birth, is the perfect food for your newborn. You make just a small amount of it, but it contains lots of antibodies, which help to protect your baby from infections, and prebiotics, which help your baby have healthy gut bacteria.

Why is breastfeeding so good?

Breastfeeding1Breastfeeding has many important benefits for mothers and for babies. For mothers it:

For babies, breast milk:

Preparing to breastfeed

You can do several things while you're pregnant and straight after your baby is born to get ready to breastfeed.

There are some common problems women can have with breastfeeding. But if you run into any difficulties, your midwife can support you and help you to overcome them.

On the next page: Starting to breastfeed

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Canterbury Breastfeeding Advocacy co-ordinator. Last reviewed February 2018.

Sources

Page reference: 416863

Review key: HIBRF-24381