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Breastfeeding Basics

Breastfeeding sometimes looks easy when you see it on TV or watch a mum feeding their baby, but it’s not always as easy as it looks for everyone. Breastfeeding is a skill to be learned by both mum and baby and it's okay to ask for help if you don’t think things are going well. In the early days it can seem like your baby is constantly feeding, but as your baby grows more skilled the gaps between feeds get longer.

Babies are born with tiny tummies. They only need a small amount of milk every few hours in the first few days. Feeding your baby when they show you that they are hungry, when your breasts feel full, for comfort, pain relief, love or warmth will all help to build your milk supply and baby's development.

Please click on the table for more links and support. 

  • The more you get to know your baby, you'll start to notice their personal feeding cues, here are some common cues:

    • Mouth movements, including smacking or licking his lips.
    • Sucking on lips, tongue, hands, fingers, toes, toys, or clothing.
    • Rooting, head bobbing or nuzzling against whoever is holding him.
    • Fidgeting or squirming a lot.
    • Fussing.
    • Crying—a late sign of hunger.

  • How can I tell if my baby is hungry?

    When your baby is hungry they will try and show you they need feeding by doing some of these things (sometimes called feeding cues):

    When you notice these signs, try and feed your baby as soon as possible. Don’t wait until they start crying. Once a baby has started crying, they may be very upset which can make breastfeeding difficult. If this happens, try and calm your baby down before beginning a feed.

  • How will I know my baby is getting enough milk?
    Knowing the size of your baby’s tummy will help, as well as understanding how many poos and wees to expect.

    Does my baby need vitamins?
    If your baby is breastfed, they should have 8.5-10mg of vitamin D every day. You can get these vitamins from the chemist. Make sure that the pharmacist knows that you want vitamins for a baby.

  • What is Healthy Start?

    Healthy Start is a national scheme to improve health. You could qualify if you're on low income or benefits and are at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under the age of four. You also qualify if you're pregnant and under 18.

    Your midwife, health visitor or other health professional can support you to sign up. You will be sent vouchers for cow’s milk, fresh/frozen fruit and vegetables and first infant formula milk. These can be used in local shops or supermarkets. You will also receive vouchers to exchange in pharmacies for:

    • Women’s vitamins (contain Vitamin C, D and Folic Acid) - available from week 10 of pregnancy up to baby’s first birthday
    • Children’s Vitamins (contain Vitamin A, C and D) – from ages 6 months to 4 years

    For families who are not eligible for the scheme, all Norfolk Lloyds Pharmacies sell Healthy Start vitamins at a cheaper price than branded vitamins.

    For more information on the scheme and a list of shops accepting vouchers *Click Here*   

Who Can Help?

It’s great to meet up with other breastfeeding mums to build your confidence and share experiences. If you are struggling with breastfeeding take a look at our page about Positioning and Attachment.

Your Midwife or Health Visitor may have given you details of local support available. If you have any other questions or concerns you can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays. We have weekly infant feeding assessment clinics across the county and trained staff who are available to help at home when needed.

If your baby is less than 28 days old you can also contact your local Midwifery team.

            

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