Research shows that breast milk is best for your baby—and breastfeeding is healthy for you, too. Your milk contains the perfect balance of nutrients in a form most easily digested by your growing baby.
Additionally, the antibodies in your breast milk help protect your baby from illness. UNICEF and the World Health Organization recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and continue for 12 months or as long as the mother and baby choose.
Breastfeeding provides a bonding experience for you and your baby, helps your uterus return to its normal size more quickly, and is more convenient and economical than using formula.
Your baby’s first food is colostrum. Colostrum is a yellow to clear liquid that your breasts produce before your milk comes in. It provides your baby with essential nutrients and infection-fighting antibodies.
Other benefits of colostrum include:
- High levels of protein
- Easily digestible
- Helps to loosen excess mucus in your baby after birth
- Serves as a natural laxative to help clear your baby’s intestinal tract
- Provides protection from illness due to antibodies and passive immunities
- Coats your baby’s stomach and intestines to protect against stomach upset