Benefits of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Exclusive breastfeeding is the best way of feeding babies under six months of age. After that they should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding has lots of health benefits for your baby, and for mum too. It'll help to protect your baby from infections and diseases. It is also free and available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed – so no scrambling around making up bottles in the middle of the night!
Getting breastfeeding started
There will be lots of support for you as you begin to breastfeed. Speak to your midwife, health visitor, peer supporter, local infant feeding team or local Children and Family Wellbeing Service (previously children's centres) to find out what is going on in your area. You can also call the national breastfeeding helpline on 0300 100 0212.
Getting out and about
Breastfeeding doesn’t mean you need to be stuck indoors, even if you are worried about feeding in public. Many places including shopping centres, cafes and the Children and Family Wellbeing Service, (previously children's centres) have breastfeeding rooms or quiet places where you can feed your baby.
Once you’ve got the hang of breastfeeding it’s easy to feed wherever you are, and most people won’t even notice. Many mums find wearing a camisole/vest top under a t-shirt is really practical. Or you can use a scarf over your shoulder.
Why not practice at home in front of a mirror to reassure yourself how little anyone can see?
Worried about lack of sleep?
If you're tempted to give up breastfeeding because your baby is waking often in the night remember, it won’t last forever and you will sleep again. Even babies who are formula fed will need care and attention during the night. Babies have small stomachs and are growing very quickly so it is normal for them to wake in the night.
If you decide to bed-share so that you can breastfeed lying down, see how you can do this as safely as possible.
It is also normal to feel tired and you need to take care of yourself. Nap when baby sleeps and remember to drink plenty of water and eat well.
Ask for help if you need it and remember you are doing an amazing job feeding your baby!