Choosing how to feed your baby is an important decision. Most mums in the UK decide to start off breastfeeding their babies, and this is why:
- Breastfeeding is the only food that is perfect for your baby, containing everything he or she needs. It changes as the baby’s needs change.
- Breastfeeding protects your baby against serious infections because it passes on some of your immunity while your baby’s immune system is still developing.
- Breastfeeding protects your baby against cot death.
- Breastfeeding protects your baby against serious problems like childhood obesity, diabetes, and heart disease in later life.
- Breastfeeding protects you against developing breast and ovarian cancer.
- Breastfeeding helps you lose pregnancy weight faster.
- Breastfeeding helps make a strong bond between you and your baby.
- Breastfeeding is free.
- Breastfeeding is convenient, especially in the middle of the night or away from home.
- You can always change your mind later and switch from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, but it’s very hard to switch from bottle feeding to breastfeeding.
If you are thinking about breastfeeding and want to know what it’s really like, check out our breastfeeding films.
Some mums bottle feed their babies on formula milk from the beginning, and many mums give their babies formula milk when they are older. Although formula milk cannot give a baby the health benefits of breastfeeding, it is designed to be a complete food for babies up to about six months. From six months onwards you can introduce solid food gradually while continuing to give your baby formula milk. The good thing about bottle feeding is:
- Bottle feeding lets other people, like your partner, share in feeding the baby.
To find out how to bottle feed your baby safely, look at our bottle feeding page.