Mother's Milk for the First Year

Health benefits of breastfeeding are related to how long a mother breastfeeds her baby. Although any amount of breastfeeding is better than none at all, long term breastfeeding reaps long term rewards.

Some health benefits of breastfeeding are:

  • Breastfeeding for a few weeks provides protection from illness while the infant is nursing.
  • Breastfeeding for a few months provides protection from illness and less allergies.
  • Breastfeeding for a year or more decreases incidence of allergies, obesity and diabetes.
  • These are health benefits which can last a lifetime!
Mother breastfeeding
Breastfeeding for a few weeks is Good.
Mother breastfeeding
Breastfeeding for a few months is Better.
Mother breastfeeding
Breastfeeding for a year is Best!

The benefits of breastfeeding also depend on whether the mother fully or partially breastfeeds.

  • Supplementing with formula reduces the amount of breast milk an infant receives.
  • The more formula a mom gives, the less breast milk her infant receives.  This results in fewer health benefits and more health risks. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants receive mother's milk only (no supplemental formula) for the first 6 months and to continue breastfeeding (along with introduction of solids) for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as desired by mother and child.