Online Services | Commonwealth Sites | Help | Governor

Protecting You and Your Environment Virginia Department of Health
Home | VDH Programs | Find It! A-Z Index | Newsroom | Local Health Districts


curved corner


Governor's Breastfeeding Awareness Proclamation | WIC & Breastfeeding Promotion | Links

Mom & Baby "Breastfeeding: Do it for your baby. Do it for you."

Here you will find information about the many benefits of breastfeeding and preview ads from VDH's statewide media campaign

"Breastfeeding: Do it for your baby. Do it for you."

See the TV ads and a five minute video on breastfeeding.

Talk to a breastfeeding coordinator:

curved corner


Breastfeeding is the nutritional standard for infant and young child feeding.  Human breast milk is not only the ideal food for infants, but it is the only food that infants need for the first six months of life. Breastfeeding is endorsed not only by the Virginia Department of Health, but also by the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and many other scientific organizations.

Benefits for Baby

Breastfeeding offers many advantages to infants, which cannot be duplicated in any other form of feeding. These advantages begin at birth and continue throughout the lifespan. Breast milk is the infant's first immunization. It provides antibodies and immunities, which protect the infant from many chronic and acute illnesses. In fact, according the U.S. Surgeon General's Call To Action To Support Breastfeeding, infants who are not breastfed are at an increased risk for such illnesses.


Excess Health Risk

Among Full-Term Infants

Hospitalization for lower respiratory tract diseases in the 1st year


Diarrhea and vomiting


Acute ear infection


Asthma (with family history)


Type 2 diabetes mellitus


Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)




Asthma (no family history)


Childhood obesity


Acute lymphocytic leukemia


Among Preterm Infants

Necrotizing entercolitis


Research shows that breastfeeding leads to optimal brain development especially for infants born prematurely. Breastfeeding also promotes a stronger bond between mother and child helping to develop a higher level of trust.

Benefits for Mom

Breastfeeding not only benefits infants, but also has advantages for mothers. Breastfeeding uses extra calories, therefore making it easier to lose the excess pounds gained during pregnancy. The physiological process of breastfeeding causes the body to produce increased levels of oxytocin, a hormone that stimulates uterine contractions; this process helps to minimize blood loss after delivery. According the U.S. Surgeon General's Call To Action To Support Breastfeeding, women who donot breastfed are at an increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer.


Excess Health Risk

Among Mothers

Breast Cancer


Ovarian Cancer


Breast Milk Facts:

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and complementary breastfeeding thereafter is one of the most easily modifiable and cost-effective strategies available. If the 90% of U.S. families followed the recommended guidelines for exclusive breastfeeding, the United States could save $13 billion annually from both direct and indirect medical costs. The Virginia Department of Health recommends that infants be breastfed for the first six months of life, with gradual introduction of solid foods at six months. Along with this, it is also recommended that infants be breastfed for the first year of life and thereafter as long as mutually desired.

rounded corner

Contact us at
109 Governor St - 9th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (888) 942-3663

rounded corner

Last Updated: 01-23-2013

Printable Version

E-mail This Page