Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby. It's available on demand, at the right temperature, and has many health benefits for you and your baby.
This page is full of useful advice on how to breastfeed your baby.
what you may need...
- nursing bras (fitting required around week 38 of pregnancy)
- sleep bras
- breast pads
- muslin squares
- breast pump and other accessories
- support feeding pillow
- during pregnancy attend a local breastfeeding information class.
- eat a healthy diet, and eat frequently – you need more calories during breastfeeding than pregnancy.
- check your bra fits correctly and buy the correct maternity bras.
- ask your midwife to help you position your baby correctly on the breast when you first start to feed. You should sit comfortably, with baby's tummy facing your tummy. You may need to use a pillow to support you and your baby.
latching your baby on correctly
- latching your baby on correctly correct latching is vital – it lets your baby get the milk more easily and allows him to feed well.
- he should have all of the nipple and most of the areola in his mouth so that his gums are well behind the base of your nipple
- his nose and chin should be gently pressed against your breast, and his sucking shouldn't hurt.
tips for successful feeding
- your baby should start with some fairly quick shallow sucks and then once your milk starts flowing his sucks should become
slower, deeper and more rhythmic.
- most mothers find that they need to use both breasts. Keep your baby on the first breast for as long as he is sucking properly. When his sucking slows or he starts falling asleep it may be time to take him off and wind him. If he seems fully fed you can put him down to sleep. If he's still hungry, he can feedon the second breast until full.
- how long your baby feeds can vary from as little as 10 minutes to as much as an hour or more - this will depend on how fast your milk flows and how strongly your baby sucks.
look for the signs
- look for the signs your baby is feeding well and getting enough milk if: he settles well after feeds; he has at least 6 wet nappies a day; he gains the right amount of weight.
- your baby is not feeding well if: he falls asleep at the breast but then wakes and cries when you try to settle him; his nappies are dry or his urine is concentrated and smelly; his weight gain is poor. If so, check your breastfeeding position with your midwife or health visitor and ask for further advice.
- never be afraid to seek help if you are struggling.