Breastfeeding your baby
Breastmilk is a true miracle of nature: tailor made for your baby, by you. However, breastfeeding can also be challenging, so it’s important to seek support if you are struggling, or if you’re worried that your baby is not getting enough milk.
Benefits of breastfeeding
The NHS recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside solid foods for as long as you and your baby want will help them grow and develop healthily. (The WHO recommend up to 2 years of age)
- Breastmilk boosts your baby’s ability to fight illness and infection, and can also reduce your baby’s risk of SIDs, Obesity and Cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
- Breastfeeding also has many benefits for mum; it lowers the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
- Breastfeeding is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your baby.
Getting a bit of extra help with breastfeeding
Breastfeeding isn't always easy to begin with, and it’s natural to feel a little anxious. After all, you and your baby are on a steep learning curve!
If you're finding breastfeeding difficult or if you're thinking about giving up, it's well worth speaking to a health professional first; it's not easy to go back once you've made the change. The NHS Choices website provides lots of help and advice for breastfeeding mothers, including starting breastfeeding, positioning and attachment, how to tell if your baby is getting enough milk, and overcoming breastfeeding problems.
You can also visit the NHS’s Start4Life website, or contact one of the breastfeeding helplines for support with feeding:
National Childbirth Trust (NCT)
0300 330 0700
National Breastfeeding Helpline
08442 090 920 or 0300 100 0212
Webchat available at http://www.nationalbreastfeedinghelpline.org.uk/
0300 100 0210
Ask another mum
Mums who are experienced at breastfeeding can be a huge source of support and useful information. It can also be a relief to find out that other mums have been thinking or feeling the same as you! You may find support groups that you can attend along with other mums and a breastfeeding counsellor, who can give you help and advice.
You could also talk to your midwife or health visitor about what support is available locally, or look on local Facebook mums pages for ideas on where to find assistance.