Supporting Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to feed your baby but can be a skill that takes time for both you and your baby to learn.

Having the support of your partner, midwife, health visiting team, family and friends is very important in your feeding journey. Parents are much more likely to enjoy breastfeeding and manage any problems if they have good support around them.

Support can be practical or emotional. There are lots of ways you can support someone who is breastfeeding their baby - the video and tabs below will help you.

Dive Deeper

What do I Need to Know About Breastfeeding?

It would be really useful to know how breastfeeding works and what to expect when the baby arrives.

Breast milk is the most natural food for a baby. It contains just the right amount of nutrients, and changes as your baby grows to meet their needs. It is all the baby needs until the age of six months.

Babies can feed a lot! Anything from 8 to 12 times or more in 24 hours in the early weeks, especially during the evenings. This is called cluster feeding. It is a normal baby behaviour and is an important part of establishing breastfeeding. 

  • Babies need to have their breastmilk fed to them from the breast as much as possible. This will help increase milk supply.
  • Babies are much happier if they are fed as soon as they start showing signs of hunger.
  • Some babies may not feed very quickly at first, but they may get quicker as they get older.
  • The more a baby feeds, the more milk that is made, because it’s the removal of milk that increases the production of it. Supply and demand!
  • Pain when feeding is not normal and could be a sign that attachment or positioning needs some adjustment or a sign of thrush. If there is pain when feeding, talk to the midwife or health visitor.

Find out more about the benefits of breastfeeding

Supporting Your Partner

There are many things you can do to support someone who is breastfeeding and help make the experience easier for them and your new baby. If you are a new mum, dad or co-parent all the help that you provide will help you to bond with your baby. Below are some ways you can support. 

  • Support the choice to breastfeed.
  • If you are a dad, mum or co-parent offer skin to skin to sooth baby between feeds.
  • Boost confidence by giving reassurance and praise. 
  • Help with the household jobs so your partner can feed the baby for as long and as often as they need.
  • Encourage them to eat and drink regularly with healthy meals and snacks.
  • Help out during the day and night after feeds by caring for the baby while they rest.
  • Taking on practical tasks such as nappy changing and bathing the baby.
  • Help get specialist support if they're struggling with breastfeeding. You can call Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 who can provide this. 
  • When breastfeeding is established, expressed milk feeds could be introduced. 


My Partner Wants to Feed the Baby to Bond

You and your partner may worry that if they cannot feed the baby this will affect their bonding and attachment. The good news is that there are lots of other ways to bond with the baby without feeding them.

To establish and maintain breastfeeding it is important that where possible your baby feeds from the breast. Your partner can bond with the baby by bathing them, changing their nappy, having lots of skin to skin and sling time, singing songs and reading to them right from birth and of course cuddling them as much as possible while having a chat.

All of this time your partner and baby spend together will help them bond, while your baby still enjoys and receive all the benefits of your breastmilk.

Who can Help?

If you are really struggling to make changes and would like some support, you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. 

If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.

To speak to other Norfolk parents and carers, you can join our online community forum below.

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