Benefits of Breastfeeding for Both Mom and Baby

February 8th, 2024 | 8:49 am


Breastfeeding is strongly advised for mothers to ensure the health of their child as well as their own. Breastfeeding is a natural way for moms to nurture their newborns. It has numerous advantages for the child and the mother. With this natural and inborn practice, both the mother and the child experience numerous benefits, ranging from a healthier immune system to improved emotional well-being. Given the numerous advantages of breastfeeding, the World Health Organisation (WHO) even advises mothers to continue doing so until their children are two years old. 

Breastfeeding has a number of health benefits for both the mother and her child. In this blog, we have discussed how breastfeeding can benefit both mom and baby. 

Benefits for Baby

Breastfeeding offers several advantages for a newborn, including immunity to diseases and prevention of chronic disorders. Here’s how it can benefit the baby:

Optimal Nutrition 

Breast milk is a powerhouse of nutrients specifically tailored to meet the evolving needs of a growing infant. It contains the perfect blend of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates, ensuring that the baby receives optimal nutrition during the crucial developmental stages.Especially during the first month of life, breast milk composition varies based on the baby’s evolving demands. In the early postpartum period, your breasts secrete a thick, yellowish fluid known as colostrum, which is rich in healthy components, low in sugar, and abundant in protein.

Immune System Boost

Antibodies found in breast milk help in your baby’s defence against germs and viruses, which is especially important during those fragile early months. This is especially true for the first milk, colostrum. High concentrations of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and numerous other antibodies are seen in colostrum. You begin to produce antibodies when you are exposed to germs or viruses, and these antibodies end up in the milk.  Babies are not protected against antibodies by formula. Several studies indicate that infants who are not breastfed are more susceptible to infections, pneumonia, and diarrhoea.

Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

Breastfeeding has been linked to a decreased risk of various chronic diseases later in life. Infants who are breastfed are less likely to develop conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and asthma. The protective properties of breast milk extend beyond infancy, providing a foundation for a healthier future.

Cognitive Development and IQ Boost

Studies have consistently shown that breastfeeding is associated with improved cognitive development in infants. The essential fatty acids present in breast milk, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), play a crucial role in brain development. Breastfed babies have been observed to have higher IQ scores, suggesting that the nutrients in breast milk contribute to the formation of neural connections and cognitive abilities. Research shows that infants who are breastfed score higher on IQ tests and are less likely to experience behavioural issues or learning challenges when they become older. Preterm infants, who are more likely to experience developmental problems, experience the most noticeable consequences of being breastfed. 

Digestive Health and Reduced Incidence of Infections

Breast milk has probiotics and prebiotics that help babies’ digestive systems stay healthy by encouraging the growth of good bacteria in their stomachs. In addition, the antibodies found in breast milk shield the infant against a variety of diseases, such as gastrointestinal and respiratory ailments. Because the baby’s immune system is still growing during the first several months of life, this natural defence mechanism is very important.

Helps Maintain Baby’s Ideal Weight

Breastfeeding encourages weight gain in a healthy way and reduces childhood obesity. A baby’s risk of becoming overweight is lower if they were breastfed for more than four months. Different gut bacteria may develop as a result. Babies who are breastfed have greater concentrations of good gut flora, which may have an impact on fat accumulation. Compared to formula-fed newborns, breastfed babies also have higher levels of leptin in their bodies, an essential hormone for controlling hunger and fat accumulation. 

Benefits for Mom

Postpartum Recovery and Weight Loss

Breastfeeding helps moms heal after giving birth, which is a huge advantage. The hormone oxytocin, which aids in the uterus’s return to its pre-pregnancy size, is released when a baby is breastfed. Breastfeeding also burns calories, helps in weight reduction and makes it easier for moms to get back in shape after giving birth. In comparison to women who are not nursing, you will probably notice an increase in fat burning after three months of breastfeeding.

Reduced Risk of Diseases

Breastfeeding is said to protect the new mother against cancer and a number of other illnesses over the long run. An ovarian and breast cancer risk reduction is correlated with the duration of a woman’s breastfeeding. Women who breastfeed experience a reduced risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. The hormonal changes that occur during lactation contribute to a lower lifetime exposure to oestrogen, a factor associated with a decreased risk of these types of cancer. The longer a woman breastfeeds, the more pronounced the protective effect.

Natural Contraception and Family Planning

The term “lactational amenorrhoea” refers to the natural contraceptive effect of nursing. The chance of conception might decrease by ovulation suppression caused by the hormonal changes brought on by nursing. In the first six months, exclusive breastfeeding can act as a natural form of contraception for some women, albeit it’s not a 100% effective method.

Emotional Well-being 

Just as breastfeeding nurtures emotional well-being in the baby, it also has positive effects on the mother. The release of oxytocin during breastfeeding promotes feelings of love, affection, and bonding. Several women experience postpartum depression (PPD) after their child is born. Compared to moms who wean their children early or choose not to breastfeed, women who breastfeed appear to have a lower risk of postpartum depression.

But individuals who suffer from postpartum depression soon after giving birth are also more likely to struggle to nurse their babies and to do so for a shorter period of time. Inform your doctor right once if you experience any PPD symptoms.

Breastfeeding Stimulates Uterine Contractions

Your uterus expands tremendously throughout pregnancy, taking up nearly the whole area of your belly and growing from the size of a pear. Your uterus undergoes an involution process after birth, which aids in its growth back to its pre-delivery size. This process is propelled in part by the hormone oxytocin, which rises during pregnancy. During labour, your body releases large levels of oxytocin to aid in infant delivery and lessen bleeding. While nursing, oxytocin levels also rise. It helps in the uterus’s restoration to its pre-bleeding state by promoting uterine contractions and decreasing bleeding.

Medical Considerations Regarding Breastfeeding

While the benefits of breastfeeding are extensive, it is essential to acknowledge that breastfeeding may not be suitable for everyone. Certain medical conditions, medications, or personal circumstances can impact a mother’s ability to breastfeed, including: 

  • If you are HIV positive, your baby may get the infection from breast milk.
  • Breastfeeding is dangerous if you have active, untreated tuberculosis.
  • Breastfeeding is not advised during cancer treatment.
  • It is dangerous to breastfeed when using illicit substances like cocaine or marijuana.
  • Prescription drugs for conditions like Parkinson’s disease or migraines can sometimes be dangerous.

Should you be on any prescription medications, speak with your doctor prior to nursing. They will advise you according to the medications you take.


Breastfeeding has several benefits for mother and the baby, and also helps establish a bond between the mother and her child. Its benefits involve influencing the mental, emotional, and physical facets of wellbeing. Breastfeeding creates the foundation for a lifetime of health and connection because of its exceptional nutritional value and ability to strengthen emotional bonds. 

Giggles Hospital, a renowned healthcare institution committed to maternal and child health, recognizes the pivotal role of breastfeeding in promoting the well-being of both mothers and babies. Consult the skilled doctors at Giggles Hospital for the best advice on breastfeeding and your health and that of your children. With their experience, you and your child will get the attention and assistance you need.