Health benefits of breastfeeding babies

Date published: 02 August 2019

Breastfeeding has many important health benefits for both mother and baby. Any period of breastfeeding, however short, will benefit your baby. People are being asked to show support for mums who breastfeed.

Support for breastfeeding mums

Breastfeeding isn’t just a one-person task. It’s the mums who feed, but when fathers, partners, families, workplaces, and communities show their support, mothers are more likely to start breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding for longer.

That support includes:

  • encouraging a partner, friend, sister, or daughter who is feeding
  • bringing them a drink
  • preparing meals
  • doing housework
  • protecting them from others’ negativity towards breastfeeding 

These things all mean a lot to a mum who can then get on with feeding their baby.

Benefits of breastfeeding

From the moment a mother starts to breastfeed, both baby and mum will begin to feel the benefits to their health and well-being.

Antibodies in breast milk help protect babies from infection and other illnesses including:

  • stomach infections, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • ear and chest infections
  • kidney infections
  • asthma
  • eczema
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • childhood diabetes
  • childhood obesity

Mums who breastfeed are at a statistically lower risk of developing:

  • breast cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • osteoporosis (bone thinning)
  • type 2 diabetes

You can find out more on the breastfeeding page.

Breastfeeding in public

For many mums, getting started isn’t easy and that’s why support is crucial. 

This includes making mums feel more comfortable about feeding in public, as this is something that many mums are apprehensive about.

A mum breastfeeding is normal, no matter where it happens, and is not something a mum needs to say sorry for.

The 'Breastfeeding Welcome Here' scheme aims to help mums feel more comfortable about feeding their baby in public.

There are now more than 800 businesses, council facilities, and popular local attractions signed up to the scheme. They display a sticker and certificate in their premises to let mums know that they are welcome to feed in all areas and will not be asked to stop breastfeeding.

Staff are also made aware that they are to be supportive of mothers on the premises.

You can find a list and map of 'Breastfeeding Welcome Here' places, along with other advice about breastfeeding, on the Breastfed Babies website.

More useful links

Share this page


Your comments are anonymous and can’t be responded to - if you would like a reply, use the feedback form.

Your comments
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum. Don't include personal or financial information.