How are you planning on feeding your baby?

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

What may not be clear is how you will feed your baby and you may feel torn between what you want or feel comfortable doing and what you’d like to do. Equally you may know exactly how you want to feed your baby but feel a little unsure of the best way of going about it.

So, first things first! How can you best prepare for breastfeeding?

If you want to breastfeed there are two things that you can do to really boost your confidence and get you ready for this special time. Firstly, research and learn all about the physiology of breastfeeding and how the milk production system works. Just as learning all about the birds and the bees in high school helps us to understand how babies are made, understanding how the amazing process of breastfeeding works can really help us to recognise and manage changes in your baby’s feeding habits and help to relieve anxiety regarding milk supply.

Secondly, consider doing some Colostrum Harvesting in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Colostrum is the first milk mothers make in preparation for the arrival of their new baby. In recent years women have been recommended to hand express from 37 weeks and collect some of this wonderful milk into little syringes.

As we all know, very few babies come exactly on their due date; some may arrive at 37 weeks and some wait a few more weeks to make their entrance. Imagine if women had huge volumes of milk in each breast in anticipation for feeding a baby that then doesn’t arrive for 5 weeks? If this happened Mum's would likely be suffering from infection and be feeling pretty poorly. So, we have Colostrum - rich in nutrients and antibodies, this thicker milk provides your baby with everything it needs to prepare its digestive system for the volume of milk that will arrive a few days after birth.

Once collected, the colostrum can be stored in the freezer for use once baby is here. Many women manage to collect lots and lots of colostrum whilst some women don’t get a single drop. What is important is to know that this isn’t an indicator of your future milk supply or how well breastfeeding will go. If you can do it - that’s fab! If it doesn’t work then don’t worry.

Having some stored colostrum can relieve anxiety for new parents if baby is struggling to latch and feed straight away and equally offering your harvested colostrum may just peak the interest of a baby that seems reluctant to feed.

Thinking of formula feeding?

It is no secret that from a purely physical point of view, breastfeeding provides the most nutritional benefits for your baby. However, there are lots of other things to take into consideration. Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience but it can also be fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. If you are worrying about breastfeeding because it is something that makes you feel uncomfortable and you just know in your heart that you would prefer to formula feed, it is really important that you embrace this decision and get yourself ready with all the kit you need. However, don’t forget no decision is set in stone and if you change your mind, that’s OK too!

For safe formula feeding you will definitely need a steriliser and some bottles and you will need to choose which formula you are going to use. It is better to stick to one brand rather than swap and change, as this may upset your little ones maturing digestive system. For in-formation on the best way to prepare feeds take a look at the NHS website which gives you a step by step guide.

Infant feeding is a really big topic and there is certainly lots that you can learn in preparation that will help things go smoothly. For an information packed antenatal class on infant feeding check out our expert Midwife led class by our very own Honest Midwife. Click here to book a class

Important Notice: Breastfeeding is best for babies. HiPP Organic milk follow on milk should only be used from 6 months as part of a mixed diet. Talk to a healthcare professional for more information.