Breastmilk gives your baby all the nutrients they need for the first six months of life and beyond.
But there’s more… breastfeeding has many health benefits for you and your baby, including protection from certain illnesses and diseases. Breastfeeding is also a great source of comfort for you and your baby and when it’s going well, it can protect your mental health.
From six months, your baby will continue to benefit from the nutrition, protection and comfort that breastfeeding offers, alongside other foods. The health benefits continue for you and your baby for as long as you continue breastfeed. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years or more.
Infant formula is made from cows’ milk and other ingredients. It doesn’t contain the ingredients that help protect your baby from infection and disease. Only your body can make those.Off to the best start leaflet
WHO and UNICEF recommend that children initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of birth and be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life – meaning no other foods or liquids are provided, including water. Infants should be breastfed on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night. No bottles, teats or pacifiers should be used. From the age of six months, children should begin eating safe and adequate complementary foods while continuing to breastfeed for up to two years and beyond.World Health Organization