Breastfeeding neonates and infants has been shown to improve baby health and intellectual development. World Health Organization (WHO) strongly recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life starting within an hour of birth. At six months, other foods should complement breastfeeding, which appears to be the best additional nutrition, for up to two years or more. Recently many researches underline breastfeeding’s protective effect against many maternal pathologies, and that skipping the lactation phase would be problematic for mothers’health. Advantages of breastfeeding for mothers include early (during postpartum period) and late beneficial effects. Right after birth breastfeeding helps mothers to recover by accelerating uterine involution, preventing from massive bleeding and iron deficient anaemia. Early breastfeeding also protects mothers from postpartum depression, enhances maternal‑infant bonding and empathic behaviour, and improves quality of disrupted at that time sleep. Late advantages include lowering the risk of: some types of cancer (breast cancer, endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer), cardiovascular disorders (coronary artery disease, hypertension), metabolic disorders (diabetes, glucose
intolerance, obesity, hyperlipidaemia, hyperinsulinemia), rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. Long lasting lactation and breastfeeding are also related with economic benefits and free natural contraception. This paper summarizes the published studies related to breastfeeding and mother health outcomes.
Keywords: breastfeeding, lactation, breastfeeding mothers, early health benefits, late health benefits