Benefits of Breastfeeding

Greater Shepparton’s Best Start Breastfeeding Workgroup are working to increase the number of babies in Greater Shepparton who get off to a great start in life because their mothers choose to breastfeed.

Unfortunately, the breastfeeding rates in Greater Shepparton are currently lower than the state average. There can be many reasons for this and although natural, breastfeeding may not always be easy and many women experience difficulties, especially early on. It is important for women to understand that this is normal and to seek assistance and support.

The natural choice for babies

Breast milk contains all the nutrition your baby needs for up to the first 6 months of life and is associated with higher IQs and reduced risks of obesity later in life. It also has the added benefits of reducing your baby’s risk of illness, infections, allergy and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and promotes optimal development of the jaw, speech and eyesight.

The natural choice for mums and dads

Aside from the convenience of breastfeeding, it promotes the return of a mother’s body to her pre-pregnancy state sooner and assists in losing those excess kilos!

Long-term it may reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, osteoporosis and heart disease. Perhaps most important of all is the special bond that breastfeeding develops between mother and child.

And dad’s – that doesn’t mean you miss out! Bathing, cuddling, playing and yes, even nappy changing are all important ways to get to know your baby and to play an active role in their life. Don’t underestimate the importance of your encouragement and support – women are 10 times more likely to breastfeeding if their partner is supportive.

The natural choice for the environment

Breast milk is always ready at just the right temperature – cutting the costs associated with bottle feeding your child makes leaving home to get out and about with your baby a lot easier.

The saving is not just at the hip pocket – the environment benefits of breastfeeding are also great. Breastfeeding saves food resources, fuel, water and energy. No packaging, no bottles, no teats, no chemicals are required.

This article was prepared by members of the Greater Shepparton Best Start Breastfeeding Workgroup.

For more information about the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as the answers to most of your breastfeeding questions, please visit the Australian Breastfeeding Association website.