Human Growth and Development

Birth and Lactation

What are the benefits of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding provides benefits to both the baby and the mother. A major benefit to the baby is that breast milk supplies the correct amount of nutrients as the baby grows from an infant to a healthy toddler. The nutrients in breast milk also protect the infant from certain childhood illnesses. Finally, recent research has shown that breast milk contains certain fatty acids (building blocks) that help the infant’s brain develop.

In the early days following childbirth, the mother’s body releases a hormone that makes her uterus contract and get smaller in response to the baby’s sucking. Breastfeeding also provides many emotional benefits between mother and child and encourages maternal-infant bonding.


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