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Publication #FAR8001

The Benefits of Breastfeeding1

Donna Davis2

Figure 1. 
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Medical research has found many compelling advantages to breastfeeding, not only for infants, but for mothers as well (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the advantages include nutritional, immunologic, developmental, psychological, social, economic, and environmental benefits (AAP, 2005).

For example, research provides strong evidence that breastfeeding decreases the incidence and/or severity of infectious diseases in infants. Additionally, in the U.S. breastfeeding premature infants has been found to reduce neonatal mortality rates by 21 percent. Another benefit is the possible influence on a child’s cognitive functioning, as ”Breastfeeding has been associated with slightly enhanced performance on tests of cognitive development” (p. 497).

The short-term maternal health benefits also are significant. Mothers who breastfeed their infants experience decreased postpartum bleeding, faster uterine contraction, and a return to pre-pregnancy weight more quickly. The long-term benefits for mothers who breastfeed include decreased risk of breast cancer as well as ovarian cancer, and a decreased risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis (p. 497).

Following the American Academy of Pediatrics's recommendations, along with the advice of an obstetrician or family physician, when possible, mothers may consider the benefits of breastfeeding for both themselves and their children.

Listening, learning and living together, it’s the science of life. “Family Album” is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you’d like to learn more, please visit our website at

To listen to the radio broadcast:


American Academy of Pediatrics (2005). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 115, 496-497.



This document is FAR8001, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Broadcast as program 8 in Revised April 2008. Reviewed and published on EDIS February 2013. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.