During the first few weeks of life babies may nurse roughly every two to three hours, and the duration of a feeding is usually ten to fifteen minutes on each breast.
Older children feed less often. Mothers may pump milk so that it can be used later when breastfeeding is not possible. Breastfeeding has a number of benefits to both mother and baby, which infant formula lacks.
Increased breastfeeding globally could prevent approximately 820,000 deaths of children under the age of five annually. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of respiratory tract infections and diarrhea for the baby, both in developing and developed countries.[
Other benefits include lower risks of asthma, food allergies, and type 1 diabetes. Breastfeeding may also improve cognitive development and decrease the risk of obesity in adulthood.
Mothers may feel pressure to breastfeed, but in the developed world children generally grow up normally when bottle fed with formula.
Benefits for the mother include less blood loss following delivery, better uterus contraction, and decreased postpartum depression.
Breastfeeding delays the return of menstruation and fertility, a phenomenon known as lactational amenorrhea. Long-term benefits for the mother include decreased risk of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Breastfeeding is also less expensive than infant formula