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Breastfeeding Benefits for Baby and Mom

Contributors: Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN

Published: April 12, 2018

Reviewed: June 02, 2020

breastfeeding basics
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Parents of newborns are faced with an abundance of decisions for raising a happy, healthy child. One of the first and most important is the decision to provide the best nutrition for their child.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months to provide optimal nutrition and health protection, and breastfeeding with complementary foods from 6 months until at least 12 months of age.

In addition to providing the best nutrition, breastfeeding provides a unique and emotional connection between mother and baby. Plus, it decreases your baby's risk of ear infections, respiratory illnesses, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity and hypertension. Breastfeeding also provides mom with benefits including aiding weight loss after delivery, and reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

While breastfeeding isn't always possible for every mother and baby, the potential benefits make it worth discussing with your health care provider and a registered dietitian nutritionist.

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