Breastfeeding Overview

Breast feeding helps protect children from illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia, and if breastfeeding is not continued through infancy, these illnesses may lead to death. However, only about 2 in 3 infants are exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months. A rate that has not improved in more than 20 years.

Breastmilk is the ideal food for infants. It’s safe, clean and contains antibodies which protect the baby from illness. It provides energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first month of life and continues to provide up to half or more of the child’s nutritional needs in the second half of the first year and up to one third of those needs during the second year of life.

Breastfeeding is good for children. It reduces the likelihood that they will be overweight and obese and lessens their chances of getting diabetes in later life. Women who breastfeed have a reduced chance of breast and ovarian cancer later in life.

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