Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby. It provides all the nutrition your baby needs during the first six months of life, satisfies their hunger and thirst at the same time. It also helps to create a loving bond between you and your baby.
Breast milk has a number of health benefits for your baby:
• It helps develop the eyes and brain and other body systems.
• The act of breastfeeding helps with jaw development.
• It may help reduce the risk or severity of certain infections, diseases and allergies, not only during infancy, but during childhood and later in life.
• It reduces the risk of obesity in childhood and later in life.
• It contains a range of factors that protect your baby while their immune system is still developing.
Breastfeeding also has many benefits for mothers. Not only is it convenient, cheap, and always available, it also:
• reduces the risk of haemorrhage immediately after delivery
• reduces your risk of breast and ovarian cancer
• prolongs the amount of time before you get your period again.
You can usually start breastfeeding within the first hour or so of your baby’s birth.
The first milk in your breasts is called colostrum. This milk is quite thick and may be yellowish in colour. It’s very rich in protein and antibodies that will help give your baby a great start in life. Mature breast milk gradually replaces the colostrum in the first few days after birth.
Sources: Australian Breastfeeding Association - Breastfeeding FAQs, Low supply, Attachment to the breast http://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/breastfeeding-your-baby