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Breastfeeding has many benefits for both Mums and babies.

For babies

Breastfeeding, (exclusively for the first six months), can help to reduce the risk of severe gastro-enteritis, acute ear infections, severe chest infections, obesity, diabetes, childhood leukaemia, sudden infant death syndrome, serious bowel disease in infants born prematurely.

For Mums

Breastfeeding can help to reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Mums who breastfeed often find it easier to lose weight after the birth of their baby. It can save you money.

Breastfeeding provides everything a baby needs to eat and drink for the first six months of life.    Breast milk contains antibodies that can help protect against infections. Your breast milk is unique to you and your baby.

Getting off to a good start

As soon as possible after your baby is born put the baby against your skin and him/her get to know you. This will also encourage him to take his first feed.

Let your baby feed as often as they want for as long as they want as this will encourage your milk supply not just for now but also for when your baby grows.

Get plenty of support.  Both mum’s and babies need to learn how to breastfeed so don’t rush it.  Get information on how to position and attach your baby at the breast.  Your midwife, health visitors, children’s centre support workers will all be able to help you with this.  There are also peer supporters in some areas who are also there to help.  Getting plenty of support at home from your partner, parents and friends will all help too.  You could also attend a local workshop whilst you are still pregnant where you can learn some of the practical skills for breastfeeding.

Keep your baby close. This will enable you to learn your baby’s cues.

Feeding at night is really important.  Babies are not usually able to go for long periods without food as their tummies are only tiny.  Feeding at night also encourages your milk supply as the hormone prolactin is at its highest at night.

Get your midwife/health visitor or support worker to show you how to express your milk so that if for any reason you are not able to be with your baby they can still have your breast milk.



If you would like further information, please consult the 'helpful links' section on this page.

Fact Zone

Feeding at night helps to stimulate your milk supply.
'Colostrum' is the first milk, produced in the first few days and is sometimes referred to as '“liquid gold'” as it is high in antibodies that help protect babies from infections.
'If I breast feed I won't know how much milk my baby is taking' - babies take different amounts of feed at different times, just like us.  If your baby is contented, alert, producing plenty of wet and dirty nappies and steadily gaining weight then they are getting enough milk.
Breast milk adapts to meet your babies changing needs.
Breastfeeding naturally uses up to 500 calories a day.
The more breast milk your baby takes the more milk you will produce. If you give other food and drink to your baby then this will reduce your milk supply.
'Breastfeeding hurts' - Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt if your baby is positioned and attached correctly.  Any pain suggests that this might not be quite right.  It's important that you ask for and get plenty of support and help with the practical skills so that breastfeeding is a positive experience for both you and your baby.


Helpful Links