Deciding to breastfeed is a decision only you can make. It deserves careful thought.

Experts agree that breastfeeding your baby for any length of time, no matter how short it is, will provide rewards for both you and your baby. Breast milk is the natural food source for infants younger than 1 year.

Breastfeeding may take time and practice. However, with help from nurses, breastfeeding experts, your doctor, or support groups, you can enjoy the benefits and rewards of breastfeeding.

See also:

Alternative Names

Nursing; Lactation; Deciding to breastfeed



Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for the first 6 months of life.

Infants who breastfeed are less likely to have:

Breastfed babies may have a lower risk for developing:


Moms who breastfeed a baby also have some benefits and rewards:

Breastfeeding can save time and money, including:


Some things can change your plans to breastfeed. How and what your baby eats may depend on your baby's health and your health. However, most babies, even preemies, can breastfeed if you get the help of a lactation consultant.

Some babies are unable to drink enough breast milk by breastfeeding, due to:

See a lactation consultant if you have:

Breastfeeding is not recommended for mothers who have certain health problems, such as:

For more information see:

An excellent resource is the La Leche League International --


Payne PA, Tully MR. Breastfeeding promotion. In: Ratcliffe SD, Baxley EG, Cline MK, Sakornbut EL, eds. Family Medicine Obstetrics. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 4.

Review Date: 9/13/2011
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine.
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