A Healthy Start

There has been much publicity lately about the fact that nursing provides the very healthiest start for your newborn baby. In fact, deciding to nurse is one of the most important decisions about motherhood you will make. This is because the impact of your choice of nutrition can affect everything from how well your baby thrives in infancy to how much he or she weighs later in life.

While these benefits that nursing will give to your newborn will likely be covered in childbirth classes and in the hospital immediately after labor, you might also be interested to know about the advantages that a nursing mother might expect to receive in return as well from the experience.

The Benefits of Nursing

Here is an overview of the benefits of nursing for both baby and for you.

For baby:

  • Breastmilk is easier to digest than formula.
  • Nursing can be a great way to help your baby to bond with you more quickly.
  • Breastmilk provides important immunity that can help protect your baby from many illnesses and even from certain forms of disease.
  • It also has nutrients and growth factors to help your baby get a healthy start from the very first day.
  • Breastfeeding it thought to offer protective benefits for babies, such as lowering risk of diseases like diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and certain cancers.
  • It has also been shown to reduce your baby's risk of obesity in the future.

For You:

  • Breastfeeding can help some women lose their pregnancy weight faster, since you burn extra calories when you nurse.
  • It also helps the uterus to shrink back to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly.
  • Nursing has been found to releases hormones that help you bond with your baby.
  • It can delay your period, which helps your body retain iron.
  • It can also be good for your bones and help you prevent fractures as you get older.
  • Finally, the benefits of nursing also include reducing your risk of breast and uterine cancers.

Additional Benefits

In addition to these and many other advantages that nursing offers for you and your baby, there are other benefits you can expect as well. For instance, from an economical standpoint, breastfeeding can be cost-effective and convenient; since it saves the time and money you would otherwise need to spend on buying formula. Furthermore, from an ecological standpoint, nursing avoids the packaging and waste that comes with using bottles and formulas.

Well Worth the Effort

Some mothers and babies take to breastfeeding right away, while others may need some assistance getting started. Most hospitals offer lactation consultants that can work with you to ensure your newborn is latching on correctly so he or she can get the nutrients and other health benefits needed for a healthy start. Your pediatrician or OB/GYN may also be able to connect with you groups of breastfeeding mothers if you desire, or can help you find additional support or resources that are available in your community.

Even if it takes some extra work, you may find that once you get the hang of nursing, you and your baby will enjoy the closeness it promotes and all of the benefits it brings to you both.


American Academy of Pediatrics



Le Leche League International


US Department of Health and Human Services, Women'sHealth.Gov