4.4  Benefits of breastfeeding for the mother

As well as breastfeeding bringing benefits to the baby, you can explain to the mother that there are important benefits to her. Box 4.2 sets out some of these.

Box 4.2  Benefits of breastfeeding for mothers

  • Breastfeeding is more than 98% effective as a contraceptive method during the first 6 months provided breastfeeding is exclusive and amenorrhoea persists (menstruation has not started)
  • Putting the baby to the breast immediately after birth facilitates expulsion of the placenta as the baby’s suckling stimulates uterine contractions
  • Breastfeeding reduces risks of bleeding after delivery
  • Breastfeeding immediately after birth stimulates breastmilk production
  • Immediate and frequent suckling prevents engorgement of the breasts
  • Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s workload (no time is involved in boiling water, gathering fuel or preparing formula milk)
  • Breastmilk is available at any time and anywhere, is always clean, nutritious and at the right temperature
  • Breastfeeding is economical
  • Breastfeeding stimulates bonding between mother and baby
  • Breastfeeding reduces risks of pre-menopausal breast and ovarian cancer.

4.3.5  The infant benefits from colostrum

4.5  Benefits of breastfeeding for the family