Many mothers who breastfeed have some ups and downs at the start, and sometimes even after they get going. Don’t give up unless you really want to; there is plenty of help available and most problems can be overcome.
Breastfeeding can be a special time for both mother and baby and it is good for the health of babies. Breast milk meets all the baby's nutritional requirements from birth to around 6 months. It is specially made for the baby and there are many nutrients in breast milk that are good for the baby but that are not found in formula milk.
- Breast milk is safe for babies, and easily digested.
- It contains all the food and drink a baby needs for the first 6 months of life.
- Together with other foods, it is very good for the next 6 months and into the second year.
- It is always ready when the baby needs it.
- A breastfed baby is less likely to get infections, allergies and many other diseases.
- Breastfeeding helps with development of the jaw.
- The baby may grow and develop better.
- Breastfeeding reduces the risk of obesity in later life.
Breastfeeding is good for you too
- It does not cost anything and does not take time to prepare.
- It may be a way you and your baby can feel close to each other and help you develop a bond with your baby.
- It helps your body return to normal more quickly after the birth.
- It may give protection against some diseases (such as cancer of the breast or ovaries).
Breastfeeding help and support
Breastfeeding support and advice can be sought from other mothers and from a range of health professionals, including midwives, baby health nurses, Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellors, lactation consultants and doctors.
Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA)
The Australian Breastfeeding Association offers mother-to-mother support and encouragement to breastfeed. The association also provides counselling from trained ABA counsellors, a newsletter, a library and other activities. ABA support is available in all states and territories of Australia.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association website is a good source of useful hints and information. One feature is information for fathers. It provides an email counselling service and links to other breastfeeding sites.
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Last reviewed: September 2020