Please note javascript is required for full website functionality.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

3 August, 2021


Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding can be really hard work. At times, it can feel impossible with difficulty latching, infections and fatigue and so much else going on.

Yet you push on. Why? Maybe because you instinctively feel that there's benefits for breastfeeding go far beyond your current pain and difficulties.

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Baby

  • Higher IQs (Horta, Mola, & Victora 2015)
  • Larger brains (Luby, Belden, Whalen, Harms, & Barch, 2016, p. 367)
  • Reduce risk of childhood leukaemia (Amitay & Keinan-Boker 2015)
  • Easier to digest as it's 50-80% whey protein (rather than largely casein protein in formulas)
  • Less likely to be overweight as a teenager (Moore, 2018)
  • Less likely to develop Type 1 Diabetes (Patelarou et al., 2012)
  • Less likely to develop middle ear infections (Lodge, Bowatte, Matheson, & Dharmage, 2016)
Breastfeeding in a park
Breastfeeding in a park
  • For every month of breastfeeding, there's a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (Thompson et al., 2017)
  • Prevents development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) like Crohn's (Xu et al., 2017)
  • Less likely to develop allergies, allergy-related illnesses and recurring wheezes (van den Elsen, Garssen, Burcelin, & Verhasselt, 2019) (Verduci et al., 2017)
  • Better oral and facial development to help with speech and language production (Thomaz et al., 2018)
  • More than six months of breastfeeding is protective against lymphoid cancer (Moore, 2018)
  • The nipples detect if the baby is unwell or lacking in nutrients to provide what the baby needs
  • Better bone mineralisation and decreased chance of osteoporosis later in life

Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mum

Breastfeeding has many benefits for the lactating mumma such as lowering the risk of:

  • Ovarian cancer (Li 2014) 
  • Breast cancer (Zhou et al. 2015)
  • Endometrial cancer (Jordan 2017)
  • Postpartum depression (Binns, Lee, & Low 2016)
  • Type 2 Diabetes (Binns, Lee, & Low 2016)
  • Multiple sclerosis (Conradi 2012)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Postpartum uterine / placental bleeding (Uvnas-Moberg 1996)
  • High blood pressure (Binns, Lee, & Low 2016)

In fact, any breastfeeding at all reduces the changes of breast, ovarian or endometrial cancer (Zhou et al. 2015) 
(Li 2014) (Jordan 2017)
. The longer the breastfeeding continues for, the biggest the reduction in risk of these cancer that there is for the breastfeeding mumma (Zhou et al. 2015) (Li 2014) (Jordan 2017).

In some nationalities, this may be more pronounced than others. A Sri Lankan study showed that collectively breastfeeding for 2-3 years across all their children, resulted in an 88% decreased risk of developing breast cancer (De Silva, Senarath, Gunatilake, & Lokuhetty 2010).

Breastfeeding toddler
Breastfeeding toddler in black and white

Breastfeeding also has other benefits, like:

  • Oxytocin release to aid bonding (Chua, 1994; Uvnas-Moberg, 1996)
  • Lose weight faster (Kramer, 1993)
  • Can delay the return to menstruation
  • Prolonged breastfeeding may prevent the return of endometriosis in some women (Havard, 1995)

Despite all the beautiful benefits to breastfeeding, it is very difficult at times. If you are struggling, please reach out for help. Here's some useful local resources that can assist you in addition to the Australian Breastfeeding Association.


Appointments available in Moonee Ponds or online.


About the Author

Dr Cassie Atkinson-Quinton - Chiropractor, Sleep Coach, Postpartum Doula (in-training), Perinatal Yoga & Pilates Instructor

There's a lot of change that happens for both parents and babies in the first few months after birth. There's tremendous growth and development for the bubba. Parents need to learn new (or remember and relearn with subsequent kids) how to look after a child. Mother's bodies are healing from pregnancy & birth and the new challenges of breastfeeding.

This is a passion area for Cassie. She helps support her clients through this transition with Chiropractic, Yoga & Pilates, Sleep Coaching and Doula support services.



Similar articles you'll enjoy:



  • Amitay, E. L., & Keinan-Boker, L. (2015). Breastfeeding and childhood leukemia incidence: a meta-analysis and systematic review. JAMA Pediatrics, 169(6), e151025-e151025. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.1025
  • Binns, C., Lee, M., & Low, W. Y. (2016). The long-term public health benefits of breastfeeding. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 28(1), 7-14. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1010539515624964
  • Horta, B. L., & de Lima, N. P. (2019). Breastfeeding and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis. Current Diabetes Reports, 19(1), 1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-019-1121-x
  • Horta, B. L., Loret de Mola, C., & Victora, C. G. (2015). Breastfeeding and intelligence: a systematic review and meta‐analysis. Acta Paediatrica, 104, 14-19. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.13139
  • Horta, B. L., Victora, C. G., & World Health Organization. (2013). Short-term effects of breastfeeding: a systematic review on the benefits of breastfeeding on diarrhoea and pneumonia mortality. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/95585/9789241506120_eng.pdf
  • Jordan, S. J., Na, R., Johnatty, S. E., Wise, L. A., Adami, H. O., Brinton, L. A., ... & Freudenheim, J. L. (2017). Breastfeeding and endometrial cancer risk: an analysis from the epidemiology of endometrial cancer consortium. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 129(6), 1059. https://doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000002057
  • Li, D. P., Du, C., Zhang, Z. M., Li, G. X., Yu, Z. F., Wang, X., ... & Zhao, Y. S. (2014). Breastfeeding and ovarian cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 40 epidemiological studies. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 15(12), 4829-4837. https://doi.org/10.7314/APJCP.2014.15.12.4829
  • Lodge, C. J., Bowatte, G., Matheson, M. C., & Dharmage, S. C. (2016). The role of breastfeeding in childhood otitis media. Current Allergy and Asthma Reports, 16(9), 68. Retrieved from https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/bitstream/handle/11343/220613/The+Role+of+Breastfeeding+in+Childhood+Otitis+Media.pdf?sequence=1
  • Luby, J. L., Belden, A. C., Whalen, D., Harms, M. P., & Barch, D. M. (2016). Breastfeeding and childhood IQ: The mediating role of gray matter volume. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 55(5), 367-375. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2016.02.009
  • Moore, M. L. (2018). Breastfeeding Benefits Support–Research. Scientific Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 1(1), 2. Retrieved from https://www.onomyscience.com/admin/uploads/20200116133737.pdf
  • Patelarou, E., Girvalaki, C., Brokalaki, H., Patelarou, A., Androulaki, Z., & Vardavas, C. (2012). Current evidence on the associations of breastfeeding, infant formula, and cow’s milk introduction with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review. Nutrition Reviews, 70(9), 509-519. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00513.x
  • Thompson, J. M., Tanabe, K., Moon, R. Y., Mitchell, E. A., McGarvey, C., Tappin, D., ... & Hauck, F. R. (2017). Duration of breastfeeding and risk of SIDS: an individual participant data meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 140(5). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-1324
  • Thomaz, E. B. A. F., Alves, C. M. C., Gomes e Silva, L. F., Ribeiro de Almeida, C. C. C., Soares de Britto e Alves, M. T. S., Hilgert, J. B., & Wendland, E. M. (2018). Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding on malocclusion in children: a meta-analysis study. Journal of Human Lactation, 34(4), 768-788. https://doi.org/10.1177/0890334418755689
  • van den Elsen, L. W., Garssen, J., Burcelin, R., & Verhasselt, V. (2019). Shaping the gut microbiota by breastfeeding: the gateway to allergy prevention?. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 7, 47. https://doi.org/10.3389/fped.2019.00047
  • Xu, L., Lochhead, P., Ko, Y., Claggett, B., Leong, R. W., & Ananthakrishnan, A. N. (2017). Systematic review with meta‐analysis: breastfeeding and the risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 46(9), 780-789. https://doi.org/10.1111/apt.14291
  • Zhou, Y., Chen, J., Li, Q., Huang, W., Lan, H., & Jiang, H. (2015). Association between breastfeeding and breast cancer risk: evidence from a meta-analysis. Breastfeeding Medicine, 10(3), 175-182. https://doi.org/10.1089/bfm.2014.0141