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The Advantages of Breastfeeding

Updated on August 20, 2018

Advantages of breastfeeding for the baby

Breastfeeding has many advantages that makes it the ideal option for infant feeding. The mother's breast milk is the ideal source of nutrition for babies in the first months of life. All nutrients that the baby needs are available in breast milk in both adequate amounts and optimum concetrations for absorbtion and metabolism.

Breast milk contains all the nutrients the baby needs and is adequate to supply all the baby needs during the first 6 months, that's why exclusive breastfeeding is recommeded during this time. It also contains growth factors that the baby needs as well as substances and nutrients that promote the development of the baby's retina and nervous system.

Human breast milk is the best for nutrition and contains all the minerals, immunoglobulins (antibodies), cells and enzymes needed by the infant. Even with the low amounts of iron in breast milk, it's very easy to be digested and thus more suitable for the baby "in medical terms: more bioavailable"

So, let's the summarize the advantages of breastfeeding and breast milk:

  • It's natural and of suitable temprature. Containing all the nutrients needed by the baby in the ideal concentrations for digestion and absorbtion.
  • Breast milk have antimicrobial properties as it contains antibodies, cells (as lymphocytes), lyzozymess and antiviral substances like interferone.
  • It's safer than animal milk as it doesn't cause gastroenteritis and can prevent inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).
  • Reduced risk of respiratory diseases and diarrhea.
  • It's protein is very easy to be digested.
  • Doesn't cause allergy and can reduce the incidence of atopy.
  • Contains long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for the development of both the retina and the nervous system of the newborn.
  • Low salt content (safer on the kineys).
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus.
  • Breastfeeding builds a strong bond between the baby and the mother.

Advantages of breastfeeding for the mother

  • Breast milk is also beneficial for the mother as it helps better involution of the uterus. Suckling stimulates the secretion of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for uterine invlution.
  • It's the cheapest milk and it needs no effort in preparing.
  • Cancer breast and ovarian cancers are less in breastfeeding moms.
  • Breastfeeding is a natural contraceptive way.
  • Breastfeeding also has a great psychological effect and emotional satisfaction for both the mother and the baby, it gives the mother a sense of confidence in herself that she is capable of feeding and taking care of her beloved one.

Disadvantages of breastfeeding:

The disadvantages are minimal compared to all other types of milk and formulas. However, the amount breast milk can't be calculated, this is a problem in some situations when the doctor needs to know the volume of fluids that the baby is receiving.

Infected mothers (with HIV or hepatitis, for example) can infect their babies. Also drugs taken by the moher are excreted in breast milk (such as antithyroids, laxatives, alcohol and caffeine) thus, it can have a harmful effect on the baby.

Also, prolonged breastfeeding for more than 6 months ALONE without introducing complementary foods can cause some types of nutritional deficiencies. Breast milk is perfectly enough during the first 6 months of age, but as the child grows older, breast milk alone can't satisfy all his needs.


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    • profile image

      sonum bhatti 

      7 years ago

      i am a student of nursing this article is really v.helpful in our studnts studies and its a v good information..

    • Mezo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Egypt

      thanks a lot, I'm glad you liked it, in fact I'm not a father (not even married) but I'm a medical student and this falls into my study. :).

    • umiyarni profile image


      9 years ago

      Hello Mezo, I have already post my new hub about Tips Breastfeeding, based on my experience breastfeed. I really appreciate you as man(or father?) has concern about breastfeeding.

    • Mezo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Egypt

      thnx a lot :)

    • MommyMarissa profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub!!! Very good information!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Breastfeeding can be a form of contraceptive for about six months or earlier if you breastfeed exclusively, no formula, no breastmilk from a bottle and no solid foods. Once you introduce anything other than breastmilk from the breast your chances of becoming pregnant are higher.


    • Mezo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Egypt

      thnx a lot for your comment. cbris52 :)

    • cbris52 profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm also a strong believer in breast feeding! Very valuable information for new moms.

    • Mezo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Egypt

      Yes, it is so true, Lamme. Breastfeeding is supposed to be a contraception method (theoretically true) but nothing is absolute in human physiology and in medicine, sometimes it just can't prevent pregnancy. Even pills can't sometimes.

      Thanks a lot for the comment.

    • Lamme profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent hub. I know that a lot of people consider breast feeding a form of contraception, but it's not foolproof :) I got pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding my oldest. It happens more often than people realize.

    • Mezo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Egypt

      Hi there, Lisa....I respect your opinion and that this doesn't impress you ot seem astonishing to you, but it is astonishing for many other people, you can read books written by great pediatricians and nutritionists and they all will tell you it is the best feed for infants

      "How can there be benefits to doing what is normal"..Of course there can be! If the other options are dangerous, breasteeding is sure to be benificial!

      if a mother asked a doctor this question: Which is the best for my baby during the first year:

      -breast milk

      -animal milk

      -formula milk

      Definitely his answer would be "Brestfeeding is the BEST of the three"...that's is just a fact...I didn't start this article with "Breast milk is one of the miracles that God.......etc"...I just said the facts that you can read in any book on infant feeding and nutrition...

      The facts are: cow milk, for example: Contains higher content of Calcium than human milk (4 times higher) and much more phosphorus than human milk (6 folds!)...But the Calcium:Phosphorus ratio in cow milk is not suitable for digestion by infants..

      While in breast milk the ratio is 2:1 which is the ideal ratio for digestion and absorbtion in a percise way...This is amazing for those doctors who found all these facts and you can disagree with them if you want...

      For me, I just see it as facts, and I think how amazing normal things are, is relative....You said we were meant to breath oxygen, okay, we have legs "natural/normal legs" and nothing amazing about that...but for someone who lost his legs....well out "normal" legs look like amazing for him, and of course better than an artificial one!

      About formula milk it's not bad in all fact it is needed in many times and situations, can be fortified and adjusted to meet the baby needs..but this needs work...while breast milk is suitable just as it is,

      There are formulas for each stage of age (follow on formula) e.g. Bebelac1 in the first 6 months , then Bebelac2 and so on.....Breast milk in each stage is specifically suitable for this age! Much easier and "better"!...if you just see it as normal it is okay!

      The list you have written can be titled "Disadvantages of formula feeding", I chose to name it "Advantages of breastfeeding" andI don't see anything wrong with that

      thanks for sharing your opinion

      Kind regards

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I don't really see how there can be benefits to breastfeeding in all honesty. A baby is biologically programmed to drink human milk from it's mother, just like it is to breathe air in and out, just like a cow expects to receive cows milk. How can there be benefits to doing what is normal? Why are we elevating normal to something "best"? If formula isn't as good as this norm, why don't we just say so instead of pretending breastmilk is something astonishingly magical?

      There are no benefits, but only risks to not giving a human infant milk of their own species.

      So back to your summary of "benefits of breastfeeding". If we make the same list, taking breastmilk as the normal food it would read:

      •Formula isn't natural or of suitable temperature without heating. Doesn't contain all the nutrients needed by the baby in the ideal concentrations for digestion and absorbtion.

      •Formula doesn't have antimicrobial properties or contain antibodies, cells (as lymphocytes), lyzozymess and antiviral substances like interferone.

      • Formula is riskier than human milk as it can cause astroenteritis inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).

      • Formula increases risk of respiratory diseases and diarrhea.

      •The protein in formula is very difficult to digest.

      • Formula may cause allergy and can increase the incidence of atopy.

      • Formula doesn't contains long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are essential for the development of both the retina and the nervous system of the newborn.

      • Formula has a higher salt content (less safe on the kineys).

      • Formula increases the risk of diabetes mellitus.

      • Breastfeeding builds a normal bond between the baby and the mother.

      Reads quite differently now huh?

      Watch your language:

    • Mezo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Egypt

      thanks a lot for sopping by :)

    • klllj0ylife profile image


      10 years ago from Michigan, USA

      I enoyed reading this article. I am a strong believer in nursing children.


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