Both babies and mothers gain many benefits from breastfeeding. Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. Research indicates that women who breastfeed may have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers.

Benefits for baby include decreased risk of:

  • Ear infections
  • Stomach viruses
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory infections
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Asthma
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Childhood leukemia
  •  Sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in pre-term infants

Important health benefits of breastfeeding and lactation for mothers:

  • decreased postpartum bleeding
  • more rapid uterine contraction to return to normal size
  • decreased menstrual blood loss
  • and increased child spacing attributable to natural infertility while breastfeeding
  • earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight
  • decreased risk of breast cancer
  • decreased risk of ovarian cancer
  • and possibly decreased risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis in the postmenopausal period

The Sullivan County Breastfeeding Coalition has additional information on local support groups on their facebook page.