Why is breastfeeding important?


posted on: December 6th, 2018

Breastfeeding (also called nursing) is the normal way in which mothers provide their babies with the nutrients they need to grow. Most women choose to breastfeed, as there are many benefits of feeding a baby this way.


A mother’s breast milk is the perfect food for a baby. It naturally contains all of the nutrients a newborn needs to survive and grow, and it has special properties that protect the baby from infections and diseases. It is also less likely to make the baby sick or give them diarrhoea, and has long term benefits such as making the infant less likely to suffer cardiovascular (heart) disease in adulthood. For this reason, it is recommended that babies are given nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months of their life, and continue to have some breast milk for up to 2 years (or longer).

As the baby grows, the mother’s milk changes to meet their infant’s changing needs. Even when babies can start to eat solid foods at around 6 months, it is important that they also have breast milk as part of their diet. It provides them with the balance of nutrients they need and studies have shown that it can also help them digest solid foods. Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect, so mothers should to try to breastfeed infants as much as possible.


Breastfeeding is a natural way for mothers to feed their newborns. It can help mothers to build a strong emotional bond with their infant, and is a readily available food source for their newborn. It also has many health benefits to the mother, such as reducing the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones) and cardiovascular (heart) disease. The more a woman breastfeeds, the greater the health benefits to her.


Some mothers do not breastfeed because they do not know how important breast milk is, or they feel unable to produce enough milk or breastfeed without pain. If a mother is finding it difficult to breastfeed, it may be because the baby is not attached to the breast properly. Almost all women are physically able to breastfeed, and it should not be painful, so if you are having trouble with breastfeeding your child you should talk to your midwife or nurse and they will help you fix the problem.

Share Article

Join the conversation


Related articles

Health & Medicine

David Miliband on the International Rescue Committee and..

David Milliband is the CEO of the International Rescue Committee, which is a humanitarian organisation…

Read more
Health & Medicine

Vaccines and the fight against Ebola

VACCINES AND THE FIGHT AGAINST EBOLA In March 2014, West Africa experienced the largest outbreak…

Read more
Health & Medicine

A vaccine success story: Polio

WHAT IS POLIO? Polio is a virus that can cause permanent paralysis. It mainly affects…

Read more
Health & Medicine

The Measles Outbreak in Africa

THE MEASLES EPIDEMIC IN AFRICA In Africa, eight times as many people caught measles in…

Read more
Health & Medicine

The Costs of Vaccine Refusal

THE COST OF VACCINE REFUSAL Vaccines are a scientifically-proven way of preventing disease. However, many…

Read more

We think you are enjoying this, sign up for our newsletter!

Sign up