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Introducing Breastfeeding

For the first six months of their lives the only thing babies need to be fed is either breast milk or first infant formula.

However you decide to feed your baby, your choice will be respected and you will be supported by trained and caring professionals.

The World Health Organisation recommends breastfeeding for your baby’s first six months, and then breast milk alongside other food until they are two years and over.

There are lots of advantages to breastfeeding, including:
• Breast milk is tailor-made for your baby. It always has the right mix of nutrients and is always the right temperature
• Both mothers and babies get health benefits from breastfeeding.

Babies and mothers experience breastfeeding in lots of different ways. You can breastfeed your baby for as long as you want to. As well as feeding your baby, you might breastfeed for other reasons like comfort, your breasts feeling full, or just wanting to relax. Breast milk can be given by expressing milk as well as directly from the breast. Any amount of breast milk is good for your baby’s health and wellbeing. If your baby is in special care after they are born, the nursing staff can support you to give your breast milk or to access donor milk.

  • Breastfeeding Benefits:
    • Makes you and your baby feel close to each other and bond. Skin to skin contact with parent/s or carers is important for bonding
    • Boosts your baby’s immune system (protection from diseases)
    • Helps to prevent your baby from getting sickness and diarrhoea
    • Helps to lower your baby’s chance of getting eczema and asthma
    • Helps protect your baby from chest infections
    • Helps prevent diabetes for your baby
    • Makes your baby less likely to be obese
    • Helps you to lose weight
    • Reduces chance of sudden infant death syndrome (also know as cot death or SIDS) 
    • Is always available – even in the middle of the night!
    • Helps to prevent breast and ovarian cancers
    • Helps prevent you getting osteoporosis (weak bones) later in life.

     

  • Hints and Tips:
    When you are learning how to breastfeed getting the position and attachment right will help feeding stay pain free for you, help establish a good milk supply and enable your baby to thrive. Find out more on the positioning and attachment page or speak to your Health Visitor or Midwife who can show you.

    Try to relax with your baby and let friends and family members help with household chores.

    It’s great to meet up with other breastfeeding mums to build your confidence and share experiences.

  • What about Dads?
    Even though Dads can’t breastfeed, there is still lots of support they can give. Get to know all about breastfeeding so you can support your partner when she is tired or needs some help. Making sure that your partner always has something to eat and drink would be fabulous!

    Spending time together as a family is really important. Babies love having cuddles with their Dads or playing in the bath. When your baby is older and has really got the hang of breastfeeding, your partner may want to express breast milk. You can then feed your baby using a bottle.

  • Skin to skin contact…
    There are lots of benefits from spending time with your baby skin to skin:

    • Helps your baby stay warm
    • Calms your baby’s heartbeat
    • Regulates your baby’s breathing
    • Helps your baby to feed
    • Releases oxytocin - a feel-good hormone - in you and your baby
    • Reduces stress for both you and your baby.

    It doesn’t matter if you’re breastfeeding or not - skin to skin has benefits for everyone! It is a great way for baby to bond with Dads, partners or other carers too.

    When you're out and about, slings are great as babies love being close to you and you can still have your hands free. If you would like to use a sling but don’t want to buy one why not use a sling library? *CLICK HERE*

  • Routine:

    Young babies are not capable of learning a routine. They need to stay close to you, so that you can respond when they let you know that they need food or comfort. Your baby’s tummy is only small, so they need to feed a lot. They also feel comforted and secure when they are close to you.

    It is best to keep your baby in the same room as you during the day and night for at least the first six months. This enables you to see when your baby is hungry or needs comforting. It also reduces the risk of cot death (sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS).

  • 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?


If you are struggling with breastfeeding take a look at our pages on Breastfeeding Basics and Positioning and Attachment.

Your Midwife or Health Visitor may have given you details of local support available already. 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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