Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Newborn & baby health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Making the breastfeeding decision


WebMD Medical Reference
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

Around three quarters of new mums start breastfeeding their babies.

Research about breastfeeding continues to show important health benefits for baby and mother. Mother's milk can offer the baby a wide range of protective effects, including reducing the risk of:


Even if a mother breastfeeds for just a few weeks after her baby is born, she is giving her baby an enormous health boost with positive effects that can be seen almost immediately, as well as long- term benefits that may help her child remain healthier well into adulthood.

The NHS recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. Even when your baby moves on to solid food, breast milk will continue to offer benefits.

Breastfeeding is good for mum too

Doctors say breastfeeding is also beneficial to mothers, with both long- and short-term benefits.

In the short-term, breastfeeding increases the production of oxytocin, a hormone that not only encourages milk production, but also helps a mother feel more relaxed and calm.

Studies also show that the effect of breastfeeding hormones on the uterus may help reduce a mother's risk of postpartum haemorrhage (massive uterine bleeding). Breastfeeding may even help protect some women from postnatal depression.

In addition, breastfeeding your baby for even a few months can reduce your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Next Article:
Reviewed on February 15, 2016

Children's health newsletter

Tips to inspire healthy habits
Sign Up Now!

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman coughing
Home remedies for coughing
smiling baby
Causes and remedies
bowl of soup
Small changes that lead to weight loss
mother and child
Caring for a baby with cows' milk allergy
woman holding mouth
What causes sensitive teeth?
boy coughing
Treatments for cold and fever
bain illustration
Best foods for your brain
woman doing situps
7 most effective exercises
avacado on whole wheat crackers
Plenty to choose from
egg in cup
Surprising things that can harm your liver