Breastfeeding is a skill that takes time to get the hang of. Lots of mums wonder if their baby’s feeding well and getting enough – especially in the first few days. But once you’ve mastered it, you’ll probably find it’s the easiest and most satisfying way to feed your baby.
Apart from the fact that breast milk is tailor-made for your baby, contains vitamins and minerals and is always available, it also offers protection from certain infections and helps improve your baby’s long-term health. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), childhood diabetes and leukaemia.
Start4Life are there to provide lots of helpful information and advice on breastfeeding. If you have any breastfeeding worries or concerns, the best thing to do is speak to your midwife or health visitor, or join a local breastfeeding support group.
Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial, but exclusively breastfeeding your baby for 6 months offers a lot more protection. There are benefits and advantages for you too – breastfeeding helps:.
- your uterus get back down to size – after your baby is born, your uterus (womb) will gradually get smaller day-by-day, but breastfeeding will help speed this up
- you bond with your baby – breastfeeding is a lovely way to feel close and strengthen the bond between you and your baby
- release a hormone called “oxytocin” which helps you feel calm and connected to your baby
- protect your health – breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones), diabetes and cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels)
- burn off calories – if you are exclusively breastfeeding, this will help burn off about 300 calories a day
There are many benefits of carrying on breastfeeding after 6 months – your breast milk protects your baby from infections and there’s some evidence it helps them digest solid foods.
Learn more about breastfeeding and the support available here