Skip main navigation
Featured Expert Blog

How Breastfeeding Benefits Both You and Your Baby

While not all mothers choose or are able to breastfeed, it’s an important part of your child’s development and health, especially during the early weeks when your breast milk helps build up your baby’s immunity. In fact, the thick yellow first breast milk a mother produces after pregnancy, called colostrum, is known as ‘liquid gold’ because it’s so rich in nutrients and antibodies that help protect your baby.  

Not only does your breast milk naturally provide your child with all nourishment she needs in the right amounts, but it also changes as she grows. By the third or fifth day after birth, colostrum transforms into what is called mature milk, which is thinner than colostrum and has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby develop properly.

Breast milk also has many other benefits:

* It’s easy to digest. Babies need time to adjust to the proteins in bottled formula, which are made from cow’s milk. Breast milk is less likely to cause diarrhea, constipation or any other stomach issues.

* It’s affordable and convenient. Breast milk is readily available in women who can produce it. Though some mothers have difficulty making enough of it due to breast surgery or, in some cases, the shape and size of their nipples.

* It reduces your risk of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

* It can help your body get back to normal faster. Nursing speeds up the process of your uterus returning to its normal size. It can also help you lose the weight gained during pregnancy. (Breastfeeding burns about an additional 500 calories a day.)

* It helps keep your baby free of disease. Bottled formula doesn’t provide the same protection against illness as breast milk does. According to, formula-fed babies have a higher risk of infections, asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Once you decide whether breastfeeding is the right option for you and your baby, the next step is figuring out how often you should feed and for how long. Many health professionals recommend simply feeding your baby when she appears hungry. During the first few weeks, she will probably need to feed more frequently—about every 2 to 3 hours. One convenience of breastfeeding is that your baby will take as much as she needs from your breast, so you don’t have to keep track of how much or how long you feed.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should breastfeed your baby for a minimum of 12 months, while the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until your child reaches 2 years of age or older. However, many women can’t follow these guidelines due to work or other limiting circumstances. If breastfeeding is no longer an option, bottled formula is a safe alternative, as long as you keep feeding equipment sterile. Some mothers also choose to use a breast pump to express milk into bottles while they are away.

Breast milk supports optimal growth and development for about six months after your child is born, and according to the AAP, water, juice and other foods are usually unnecessary. However, breast milk should still be given to your baby after she starts consuming solid foods and other fluids as a healthy supplement to her diet.

Do you plan to breastfeed your baby? Why or why not? Please share your comments!

8 Comments Post a Comment
by KittyJean, Nov 05, 2013
No....there is always a chance of something I'm not safe of passing through to my baby...

by Telearrow, Nov 07, 2013
Yes...I have a 10 month old that is breast fed.

by 3erskines, Dec 28, 2013
Yes I am currently breastfeeding/pumping milk for my baby. He is now 9 months old and my goal is to keep giving him breastmilk until he is 1 year old.

by TyreeL, Dec 31, 2013
Yes I am currently breastfeeding my one month old and plan to continue!

by 5789love, Jan 17, 2014
Breast feeding was an only option for me, it is the best thing you can do for baby and for your self, many benefits for mom and baby! It is what was intended for an human infant, cows milk is intended for calfs which manufactured formula is based off of. Human milk for human brain development.

by rayvenstarr, Mar 15, 2014
I will be breast feeding my daughter, she will hopefully be born March 20th as I'm being induced due to complications

by Butterfly2007, Apr 08, 2014
I am currently breastfeeding my 14 1/2 month twins. Still going strong! Due to my health issues I may not be able to go the full 2 years I wanted to go, but I would be happy with 18 months of nursing. :)

by Keith Eddleman, M.D.Blank, Apr 08, 2014
18 months with twins is amazing.  Congrats!

Post a Comment
Diabetes Rewards Promo
Popular Resources
image description
Refill Prescriptions
Refill a prescription from your history. We'll have it ready or shipped FREE.
image description
Walgreens Mobile App
Refill your prescriptions‚ anytime, anywhere‚ with our app.
image description
Prescription Refill Reminders
Set up to receive timely refill reminders via text or email.
image description
Immunization Services
Get the whole family immunized with CDC-recommended vaccines.
image description
Health Test Services
Identify your risk for heart disease, diabetes and more with a health test.
image description
Caregiver Services
Get prescription and home care resource support for your loved ones.
Weight Tracker
Track your weight over time
Start Tracking Now
Recent Discussions
I want to get pregnant 9 hours by Lovecristal Hi I want to get pregnant and I weigh 230.. my husband on th...
mensuration cycle 21 minutes by chandanshilpi My wife have strong stomachache and backache on the first da...
I dont have a period for 6days my regular days only 4-5days 52 minutes by kiara_22 I am takin Fertilaid now my period started on April 18`14 no...
Ovulation Tracker
Tracker period and fertile windows
Start Tracking Now
Ask an Expert

The contents of this website ("Site") such as text, graphics, images, and other material contained on the Site ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Walgreens does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by the Site or other users to the Site is solely at your own risk.

The opinions expressed on this Site in user-generated Content areas including but not limited to: Expert Blog; Communities; and Ask an Expert Forum are solely those of the relevant user, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. Walgreens does not review user-generated Content for accuracy, and user-generated Content does not represent the opinion of Walgreens. User-generated Content may contain information about treatments or uses of drugs or products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.