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Also called: Lactation, Nursing

Breastfeeding offers many benefits to your baby. Breast milk contains the right balance of nutrients to help your infant grow into a strong and healthy toddler. Some of the nutrients in breast milk also help protect your infant against some common childhood illnesses and infections. It may also help your health. Certain types of cancer may occur less often in mothers who have breastfed their babies.

Women who don’t have health problems should try to give their babies breast milk for at least the first six months of life. Most women with health problems can breastfeed. There are rare exceptions when women are advised not to breastfeed because they have certain illnesses. Some medicines, illegal drugs, and alcohol can also pass through the breast milk and cause harm to your baby. Check with your health care provider if you have concerns about whether you should breastfeed.

If you are having problems with breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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