Home Emergencies: preparadness and reponse Injury prevention Child protection HIV and AIDS Malaria Hygiene Coughs, colds and more serious illnesses Diarrhoea Immunization Nutrition and growth Breastfeeding Child development and early learning Safe motherhood and newborn health Timing births
Facts for Life

Breastfeeding

Supporting Information

4.

Breastfeeding helps protect babies and young children against dangerous illnesses. It also creates a special bond between mother and child.

Breastmilk is a baby's 'first immunization'. It helps to protect against diarrhoea, ear and chest infections, and other health problems. The protection is greatest when breastmilk alone is given for the first six months and when breastfeeding continues along with other foods well into the second year and beyond. No other milks, foods or supplements can provide the protection of breastmilk.

Breastfeeding helps a mother and baby form a close, loving relationship – a process called bonding. The close contact and attention help infants feel secure and loved, which is important for their growth and development.

The father and other family members can help by encouraging the mother to rest quietly while she breastfeeds the baby. They can also make sure the mother has enough nutritious food and help with household tasks and caring for older children.