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Breastfeeding helps lay the foundations of a healthy life for a baby.

The Ministry of Health recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months. After six months, breast milk is not enough on its own for a baby to grow and develop.  Therefore breastfeeding should be continued until a baby is at least one year old with the addition of solid food from six months. 

It's important breastfeeding mothers have support from their partners, family/whānau, health practitioners, their employers and the community.

There are many benefits of breastfeeding for the mother and the baby:

  • Breastfeeding and breast milk helps protect babies from some childhood infections.

  • Breastfeeding decreases the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI).

  • Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of obesity and may help reduce the risk of diabetes in later life.

  • Breastfeeding is linked to optimal brain development.

  • Breastmilk is free and readily available with no heating required.

  • There is less risk of under or over feeding when breastfeeding.

  • Breastfeeding forms a unique bond between the mother and baby.

  • Breastmilk contains essential nutrients not found in infant formula.

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