Benefits of Nursing and Working with Lactation Consultants

If you are looking for the extensive database of clinical trials / studies surrounding lactation benefits, here is our Extended List of Lactation / Nursing Benefits. If you are looking for a list of summarized findings about the benefits of lactation / nursing, then continue below.

We have organized the benefits into three overall categories:
  • Benefits of Nursing for Children
  • Benefits of Nursing for Mothers
  • Benefits of Counseling & Support on Lactation Outcomes
Within each category, the list is in no logical order. If you want to review our cited sources for further analysis, click the “Extended List” link at the top of this page.

Benefits of Nursing for Children

  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome): 36% reduction in risk

  • Type 2 Diabetes: 33% less likely to develop it

  • Type 1 Diabetes: 19-27% risk reduction of Type 1 Diabetes

  • Obesity: 12-24% reduction in prevalence of childhood obesity

  • Intelligence: 2.6-3.4 Increase in IQ Points

  • Gastrointestinal Infections: 64% reduction in gastroenteritis

  • Microbiome / Overall Gut Health: “Reduced diarrhea-related gut microbiota dysbiosis” and better overall gut health

  • Diarrhea Morbidity / Mortality: 10.5x higher infant mortality (due to diarrhea) in non-breastfed babies vs. breastfed babies

  • Middle Ear Infections (Acute Otitis Media): 50% reduction in ear infections

  • Respiratory Infections: 72% reduction in the risk of hospitalization due to lower respiratory tract diseases

  • Asthma: 27% reduction in risk for babies in a family without a history of Asthma; 40% reduction in families with history of Asthma

  • Childhood Leukemia: 19% reduction in ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia) and 15% reduction in AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia)

  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC): 5% absolute risk reduction in developing NEC if a baby is breastfed

  • Blood Pressure: Modest protective effect with a 0.6% Decrease in Systolic Blood Pressure (-0.71 mm/HG)

Benefits of Nursing for Mothers

  • Ovarian Cancer: 37% reduction in risk

  • Breast Cancer: 26% reduction in risk

  • Cardiovascular Disease: 28% less likely

  • Cardiovascular Risk Factors (e.g. Hypertension): Lower prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia

  • Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: 32% lower risk of Type 2 Diabetes

  • Postpartum Weight Loss: Lost 4.6 pounds more of baby weight and “burns 500 extra calories a day to build & maintain a milk supply”

  • Lactational Amenorrhea (aka postpartum infertility): Breastfeeding is associated with a longer duration of lactational amenorrhea and it is “reported as 99% effective as a contraceptive when used correctly”

  • Postpartum Depression: Less postpartum depression due to more frequent breastfeeding; shorter duration of breastfeeding was associated with a higher risk of postpartum depression

  • Less Parent Absenteeism from Work: One-day absences to care for sick children occur 2x more often for mothers of formula feeding infants; parents who breastfed have 6x less absenteeism overall from work too

Benefits of Counseling & Support on Lactation Outcomes

Lactation Counseling:
  • 35% reduction in the number of infants that are supplementing (within 1st 3 days of birth) if lactation counseling is involved

  • 21% less likely to stop exclusive breastfeeding (at 4-6 weeks postpartum) when provided with counseling

  • Parents who have at least 4 counseling sessions are almost 4X more likely to exclusively breastfeed after 4-6 weeks than women who have fewer than 4 sessions

  • 2.6X more likely to be exclusively breastfeeding at 3 months if provided a breastfeeding booklet, educational video, and Lactation Consultant

  • “Face-to-face counseling reduced the risk of women stopping breastfeeding by 33%”
Optimal Number of Counseling Sessions:
  • Parents are 36% more likely to be successful with exclusive breastfeeding when having between 4-8 postnatal counseling sessions

  • Women who have at least 4 counseling sessions are almost 4X more likely to exclusively breastfeed after 4-6 weeks than women who have fewer than 4sessions

  • “Counseling delivered at least four times postnatally is more effective than counseling delivered antenatally only and/or fewer than four times.”

  • According to the World Health Organization, “Breastfeeding counseling should be provided at least six times, and additionally as needed.”

Partner (Father) Support:

  • Infants are 2X more likely to be exclusively breastfed if the father has participated in breastfeeding promotional activities (includes face-to-face discussions, PowerPoint presentations, usage of brochures, usage of models, leaflets, and electronic media)

  • There is a 30% lower risk of “full-formula-feeding” if the father has participated in a breastfeeding promotional intervention

  • There is a 75% lower risk of the occurrence of “breastfeeding-related problems” if the father has participated in a breastfeeding promotional intervention

  • Fathers are also 40% more likely to extend support in breastfeeding related issues
Antepartum Education:
  • Parents are 7x more likely to exclusively breastfeed if they had breastfeeding education before giving birth