Breastmilk provides your baby with all the nutrition that they need to grow for the first 6 months of life. Breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and mother, and is a special time for both.
From 6 months old, babies should continue to breastfeed while they start to eat solid food. The nutrients in breastmilk will adjust to meet your baby’s needs as they get older. It is recommended that breastfeeding is combined with solid foods till the child is 2 years old, or as long as mother and baby wish to continue.
Benefits of breastfeeding:
You don’t need any equipment
Breastmilk is ready whenever baby is hungry
Baby will be less likely to get infections, and many other diseases
Baby is more likely to be a healthy weight later in life
Supports bonding between mother and baby
Reduces the risk of some cancers, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes in the mother
Help mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight
Healthy eating while breastfeeding
Your body works harder while making breastmilk, so it needs extra fuel. Remember to look after yourself as well as baby. Keep eating a wide variety of foods from the five food groups and drinking plenty of water.
In Australia, 96% of mothers try breastfeeding at some point. In 2019, only 59% of mothers were fully breastfeeding when discharged from the hospital in South West Sydney. This is the lowest percentage for the whole of New South Wales.
[Source: Raising Children Network, Australian Breastfeeding Association, Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. New South Wales Mothers and Babies 2019. Sydney: NSW Ministry of Health, 2021.]