Feeding your baby
Our team is committed to encouraging mums to breastfeed their babies for as long as they wish to. We believe that breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed and recognise the important benefits that it provides for both you and your child. Our Breastfeeding Support Team will offer support and guidance in the early days and you can also access support and information via our Parent Education classes.
If you intend to breastfeed your baby, we advise you not to bring in formula milk as as you already have milk in your breasts. It can undermine feeding by reducing your milk supply if attempting to do both and can introduce the risk of allergies and infection.
Breast milk gives your baby all the nutrients they need for around the first six months of life and brings a huge range of benefits.
It's good to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding before you have your baby. It will help you feel more confident and empowered for when you start.
In the UK, more than 73% of mothers start breastfeeding with most women choosing to because:
- Your breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby
- Breast milk protects your baby from infections and diseases
- Breastfeeding provides health benefits for you
- Breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it at the right temperature
- Breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby
it can lower your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
- Breastfeeding is free, so it saves money whereas infant formula, sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be costly
Even if you’ve already been formula feeding for a few days but you’ve changed your mind and want to breastfeed it's not too late to start. Simply speak to your midwife or health visitor as soon as possible for support on how to build up your milk supply. The National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212) is also a good place to get practical advice and top tips.
Skin to skin
Breastfeeding also encourages skin to skin interaction between mother and child and all babies need a period of skin to skin cuddling after the birth to adjust to the outside world. This should last at least until after the first feed (however you decide to feed your baby) but for at least an hour. If this isn’t possible immediately or is interrupted, then start and maintain skin to skin as soon as possible.