There are multiple benefits of breastfeeding, for both mother and infant. Breastfeeding may decrease a baby’s risk of infection, and promotes bonding between mother and baby. Breastfeeding can also decrease a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer. And it’s free. There are financial benefits to breastfeeding over the use of formula.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months of a baby’s life, followed by a combination of breastfeeding and complementary foods until the baby is at least 1 year old. The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first 6 months, and continuing breastfeeding (with other complementary foods) to 2 years of age or even beyond. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), through its Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, strongly supports the use of breastfeeding as part of its overall effort to improve public health in the U.S.