Importance of

For the baby

For the mother

For society

Breastfeeding gives babies the best start for a healthy life and has benefits for the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies.

Breastfeeding also has economic benefits for the whole family and society.

Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until babies are around six months of age,

in addition to continued breastfeeding to 12 months and beyond, for as long as mother and child desire.

Benefits of breastfeeding

for the baby Babies who are fed breastmilk have a lower risk of: – Gastrointestinal infections (e.g. diarrhoea and vomiting) – Atopic disease (including eczema and asthma) – Middle ear infections – Urinary tract infections – Respiratory infections – Obesity in childhood and later life

– Type 1 and 2 diabetes in childhood or later life – Some childhood cancers – Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed babies are also less likely to be hospitalised for illnesses and infections.

Growth and development

Breastmilk contains important components to protect and build the baby’s immature immune system.  Breastmilk is more easily digested than infant formulas, and changes from feed to feed to suit each baby’s unique needs, making it the ideal food to promote healthy growth and development.

Psychological benefits

The close interaction and frequent skin-to-skin contact during breastfeeding can enhance bonding and emotional attachment between mother and baby.

For the mother

Research shows that breastfeeding has significant health benefits for mothers.  Breastfeeding: – Assists the uterus to return to its pre-pregnant state faster – Can help women to lose weight after baby’s birth

– May reduce the risk of mothers with gestational diabetes developing type 2 diabetes – Reduces the risk of ovarian cancer and pre-menopausal breast cancer – May reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

For society

Environmentally friendly

Breastmilk has no waste products and leaves no carbon footprint.


Breastmilk does not cost money, and the decreased risk of illness results in reduced hospital admissions and healthcare costs.


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Queensland Health. Published 2019.