Breastfeeding is perfect for you and your baby

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby and breastfeeding is perfect for you too. Find out why.

Information on breastfeeding if you have COVID-19 is available on the Unite Against COVID-19 website.

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby because:

  • it’s all that your baby needs to eat and drink for about the first 6 months
  • it helps to protect your baby against colds, tummy bugs, infections and allergies. It also helps to protect your baby from dying suddenly in their sleep
  • breastfeeding helps your baby to feel safe and secure.

Breastfeeding is perfect for you too

Breastfeeding is perfect for you too because:

  • it gives you a chance to rest while you are feeding your baby
  • it helps you to feel close to your baby
  • it saves you time
  • it’s free
  • it may reduce your risk of some cancers and bone disease.

Exclusive breastfeeding

Exclusive breastfeeding means that, since birth, your baby has only had breast milk (from the breast or expressed) and prescribed medicines. Try to breastfeed your baby exclusively until they are around 6 months old.

If your baby is exclusively breastfed they don’t need water or any other drinks or food until they’re around 6 months old.

After 6 months, exclusive breast milk is not enough on its own for your baby to grow and develop. You should start your baby on solid food and also continue breastfeeding until they’re at least 1 year old.

When you’re away from your baby, try to ensure that they’re fed with expressed breast milk rather than infant formula.

In this section

  • It can take time for you and your baby to learn how to breastfeed, but with the right help almost all mothers can breastfeed. Find out about what a good latch looks like and how to position your baby.  Read more
  • There are some common problems that women have when breastfeeding. Find out about sore nipples, engorged breasts, blocked milk ducts and your milk supply, with tips to manage them. Read more
  • Placing your baby on your bare skin encourages baby to feed as soon as possible after the birth. Find out about starting breastfeeding and why the first feeds are so important. Read more
  • A few weeks after the birth it’s important for you to start getting out and about with your new baby. Breastfeeding is the perfect way to feed your baby when you’re out. Read more
  • You don’t have to stop breastfeeding just because you’re returning to work. Find out about breastfeeding and working.  Read more
  • Breastfeeding can be challenging and it can be tiring. Support from dads/partners, whānau and friends can really help. Find out the things that you can do to support mothers to breastfeed.  Read more
  • Sometimes a mother is unable to make enough milk for her newborn baby. In this situation, mothers may prefer to feed their baby donated breast milk, rather than infant formula. Read more
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