Breastfeeding Promotion, Protection and Support

Breastfeeding: What Is Important to Know

Choosing the way to feed your new baby is one of the most important decisions new or expectant parents will make. It is important to understand how breastfeeding benefits infants and families. To learn more about breastfeeding and lactation support:

  • ask your health care provider,
  • enroll in a prenatal or breastfeeding class and bring a family member or friend,
  • tour a maternity hospital or birthing center, and
  • seek out community support groups or services.

In some situations, parents or infants may have medical or health concerns that affect breastfeeding as a choice. If this is a concern, talk to your health care provider.

Breastfeeding is the First Step to a Healthy Life

Human breast milk is the recommended first food for infants. Breast milk supplies all the necessary nutrients in the proper amounts. Feeding only breast milk is recommended for the first six months. After six months, solid foods should be added, while breast milk is continued until one year or longer, if desired.

The advantages of breast milk to infants cannot be matched by any other form of feeding. Breast milk provides unique nutrients and antibodies that help protect babies from diseases such as ear infections and lower respiratory infections. Breast milk helps protect the infant against allergies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breast milk is easily digested, and breastfed infants rarely have constipation and have less diarrhea. Breastfed infants are less likely to become overweight or develop diabetes (high blood sugar).

Breastfeeding is Good for Parents too!

Parents who breastfeed have less bleeding after birth and may find it easier to lose the weight gained during pregnancy and return to their weight before they became pregnant. Breastfeeding promotes parent-infant bonding. Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer, diabetes (high blood sugar), heart disease, or high blood pressure.

Choose a Hospital that Supports Breastfeeding

Hospitals play an important role in supporting a parent's choice to breastfeed.

Find Breastfeeding Support

At times, breastfeeding can be challenging. Remember that most issues with breastfeeding are temporary and can be solved. There are people who can help you. Talk with your health care provider or use the links below or on the left to find the support you need.

  • USDA WIC Breastfeeding Support - This website was designed to equip breastfeeding parents with the information, resources and support they need to successfully breastfeed.
  • La Leche League of New York: Find local support, encouragement, education and information.
  • Baby Café USA: Trained staff provide support for expectant and breastfeeding parents. Parents can share their experiences with other parents.
  • New York Statewide Breastfeeding Coalition: This coalition is an advocacy, not-for-profit statewide organization of lactation consultants, health care providers, regional breastfeeding coalitions and major statewide maternal and child health organizations.