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Maternal and economic benefits of breastfeeding

Richard J Schanler, MD
Section Editors
Steven A Abrams, MD
Kathleen J Motil, MD, PhD
Deputy Editor
Alison G Hoppin, MD


It is well established that breastfeeding provides direct and potentially long-term benefits to the infant. In addition, breastfeeding is associated with benefits to the mother during lactation and long-term. There are also significant economic benefits for the family and society.

The maternal and economic benefits of breastfeeding will be reviewed here. The benefits of breastfeeding for the infant are discussed separately. (See "Infant benefits of breastfeeding".)


As with infants, breastfeeding provides direct clinical benefits to mothers during lactation and long-term benefits beyond the breastfeeding period. In a report for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, review of the literature demonstrated benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and infant [1].

Benefits during lactation — The benefits to mothers while breastfeeding include the following:

Acceleration of recovery from childbirth by oxytocin's action on uterine involution [2,3]. Oxytocin secretion is stimulated by breastfeeding.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Dec 07, 2016.
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