Breastfeeding provides your baby with all the nutrition they need for the first 6 months and at 6 months the World Health Organization recommends introducing solids alongside breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding offers many benefits for both mother and child from birth until the age of two and beyond. UNICEFBenefits of breastfeeding explores the vast benefits and the supporting evidence and what baby cannot receive from infant formula which is made from processed cow's milk.
Breastfeeding helps you and your baby to build strong and close, physical and emotional relationships. This is influenced by the position and closeness that breastfeeding requires. Skin to skin, eye contact and the release of oxytocin during feeding makes both mother and baby feel calm, relaxed and in-tune. Oxytocin also helps your baby’s brain to grow and process the world around them.
What to expect in the early days after delivery:
Colostrum is the thick golden colour milk that your breasts produce in the early days after delivery. It is a very concentrated food, so your baby will only need a small amount, but your baby will likely come frequently to the breast to help simulate colostrum production and practice feeding.
Around day 2-4 you will feel that your breasts feel fuller, this is sometimes referred to as milk ‘coming in’. This is a normal bodily function which means your body is working to build a mix supply to meet the baby's needs. From now on, to establish an adequate milk supply, baby’s need to have a good attachment to the breast and feed frequently to remove milk. Whilst your breasts respond positively to the draining of the breast and produce more. Therefore, positioning and attachment is vital and a common discussion point at postnatal appointments.
Around 4-6 weeks an adequate milk supply is usually established Milk Supply
Is my baby getting enough?
As a very rough guide, your baby should feed at least 8 to 12 times, or more, every 24 hours during the first few weeks
Please refer to the Off to the best start leaflet which reassures parents about what to expect with urine and stool output in the first weeks which also shows your baby is getting enough.
- Romanian - Romanian resourcses on breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
- Bengali - Bangali resourcses on breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
- Urdu - Urdu resourcses on breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
- More about responsive feeding - Information sheet about responsive feeding.
- Position and Attachment - Important information about feeding your baby - NHS leaflet
- Maximising breastfeeding - Information on how to increase your milk supply - Laleche
- Hand Expressing - Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative - Hand Expression YouTube video.
- Breastfeeding and medication - Information about drugs in breastmilk. The Breastfeeding Network.
- Donor Breast Milk - Providing equitable access to donor milk for premature and sick babies, while supporting more mothers to donate milk.
- Storage of Breastmilk - Tips on how to hand express and store your breastmilk
- Maintaining a milk supply when baby is not breastfeeding - Establishing and maintaining milk supply when baby is not breastfeeding.
Where to access help locally and nationally:
La Leche Helpline (8am-11pm, 365 days a year): 0345 120 2918
National Breastfeeding helpline (09:30-21:30, 365 days a year): 0300 100 0212
BHRUT Infant Feeding Team Email: email@example.com