Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding

We are working towards UNICEF best practice standards so that we can receive the prestigious Baby Friendly award, which is a nationally recognised mark of quality care.

Implementing the UNICEF standards for ‘infant feeding and relationship building’ is proven to increase the number of women who choose to breastfeed and enables women to feed their baby for longer.

Breastfeeding is the healthiest, most cost-effective way to feed your baby and is also environmentally friendly.

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.

This Start 4 life information leaflet contains further information about breastfeeding your baby.

Off to the best start breastfeeding leaflet.pdf [pdf] 4MB

The NHS website has more information on further aspects on breastfeeding 

For further information, watch this video about Breastfeeding and Relationship Building produced by Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative or visit the UNICEF website.

The benefits of breastfeeding

Breast milk is tailor-made for your baby, free, and readily available and can have an enormous impact on the health of you and your baby. 

  • Helps to fight infection – breast milk provides natural (germ killing) antibodies that help your baby fight infections like tummy bugs, diarrhoea, colds and chest and ear infections.
  • Vitamins and nutrition – your breast milk provides the perfect combination of vitamins and nutrition, it’s also much easier to digest than first infant formula.
  • SIDS and childhood leukaemia – breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death, and childhood leukaemia.
  • Long-term health – breastfed babies are less likely to develop diabetes, or become overweight when they are older.
  • Decreased risk of tooth decay  breastfeeding up to 12 months is associated with a decreased risk of tooth decay.

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
  • bonding with your baby – breastfeeding is a lovely way to feel close and strengthen the bond between you and your baby
  • protect your health – breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, 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. (Source: www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding)

Please note: It can be difficult to resume breastfeeding once you have stopped feeding or using a breast pump, (however, it’s sometimes possible). Introducing formula feeds whilst breastfeeding reduces a mother’s breast milk supply.

  • Close and loving relationships help the baby’s brain development.
  • Breastfeeding supports close and loving relationships which help to reduce postnatal depression.
  • Mothers who do not breastfeed are more likely to suffer from breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Babies who are not breastfed are more likely to suffer from ear infections, diarrhoea and sickness, chest infections, obesity in later life and Sudden Infant Death (cot death).

Some women feel tummy pain when their womb shrinks, especially when they're breastfeeding. This is normal and is the womb contracting to return to size.

Feeding cues

For breastfed babies, in the early weeks, they will typically feed at least eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period (if they are fed when they show signs they’re hungry). It’s important to remember that breastfed babies cannot be overfed. 

If you feed your baby when they are showing ‘early cues’ this will often lead to a more relaxed and calmer feed.

See the feeding cues which help to establish when your baby needs more milk.

How to harvest colostrum

Do you want to know how to know more about harvesting your colostrum in preparation for your baby's birth?

This can be done from 37 weeks of pregnancy. Infant feeding coordinator Leigh-Anne Hartley talks about harvesting colostrum and provides a demonstration of how to do it in this video:

It's important to note that some people are encouraged to do this whilst others are discouraged due to contraindications.

The below people are encouraged to use antenatal expression to harvest their colostrum:

  • those with diabetes (pre-existing or gestational)
  • babies who have been diagnosed with cleft lip and/or palette
  • babies diagnosed with congenital conditions
  • mother’s having elective caesarean sections
  • babies who are small for gestational age
  • people with breast hypoplasia
  • hormonal disorders
  • breast surgery
  • multiple sclerosis
  • a strong family history of dairy intolerance or inflammatory bowel disease
  • people  taking beta-blockers e.g. Labetalol
  • people with a BMI or 37 or more
  • people expecting twins or triplets.

People who have any of the below are advised against antenatal expression to harvest their colostrum as this is contraindicated in the following circumstances:

  • people with a history of threatened or pre-term labour
  • people with cervical issues such as such as your cervix remaining closed during pregnancy
  • people with a history of bleeding in this pregnancy.

This information leaflet explains the process of harvesting and storing your colostrum or first milk.

Contact 

For any questions relating to antenatal expression and harvesting colostrum please contact our infant feeding team.

Did you know?

That approximately 8 out of 10 women stop breastfeeding before they want to.

What’s in breast milk?

In this video produced by Breastfeeding Together, they look at the composition of breast milk, what's in there and why and also how it compares to infant formula milk.

Watch the Video by FAB about What's in Breastmilk.

What to do if you are finding breastfeeding difficult or painful

If you choose to breastfeed it shouldn’t be painful throughout the entire feed.

Talk to your midwife about attaching your baby to the breast if you feel it isn’t right. Your baby will come off the breast themselves and be settled if they have had enough milk. Seek out support if you feel something isn’t ok, trust your instincts. 

Tips on how you can support a breastfeeding mother

When it comes to breastfeeding, you might wonder what you can do to
support your partner and baby. The truth is - you can make a HUGE difference.

Did you know? 

  • A mum is more likely to choose to breastfeed if she’s sure her partner is positive about it.
  • It might take around six weeks to get the hang of breastfeeding fully.
  • Support and help is available.

Top tips

  • Be positive about her progress – reassurance and praise are a massive help.
  • Share the care of your baby, such as changing clothes, nappies and bathing.
  • Help out with household chores so your partner has more time to feed.
  • Make sure your partner has time alone for bathing, relaxing and exercising.
  • Calm your baby - enjoy the bonding benefits of skin to skin contact.
  • Talk, play and interact with your baby - It’s great for their brain development.
  • Try using a sling to carry the baby - indoors or outdoors.
  • Make your partner drinks and a bite to eat and encourage them to eat regularly.

FAB - Breastfeeding support

We know how beneficial additional breastfeeding support can be to new parents.

Our amazing charity partners FAB (families and babies Wakefield) join our maternity team at Pinderfields Hospital and provide support new parents with breastfeeding.

If you don’t get chance to meet one of the FAB team’s Peer Supporters, please ask one of our midwives and they can put you in touch.  They offer telephone, one-to-one support and home visits if required. They also run weekly breastfeeding support groups. 

FAB are available 24/7 on 01924 851 901

Contact details

FAB Wakefield Website

FAB Wakefield Facebook Page

Visit FAB in Wakefield

31 All Saints Walk, The Ridings Centre, Wakefield, WF1 1US

9.30am – 3.30pm Monday to Friday
12.30pm – 3pm on Saturdays 
10.00am – 3pm on Sundays

Tongue tie (Ankyloglossia)

Ankyloglossia, also known as tongue tie, is a condition which affects around 10% of babies and is more common in boys than girls. Most of us have a lingual frenulum (a membrane situated on the underside of the tongue) so the presence of a visible or palpable lingual frenulum is normal anatomy. 

Many tongue ties do not cause problems and do not require treatment, with some resolving spontaneously over time.  In some instances feeding support to improve attachment is all that is needed. 

However, in some babies this lingual frenulum may be short, tight and attached close to the tip of the tongue and/or on the gum and cause restrictions in tongue movement and function.  A division of the lingual frenulum may be recommended if the tongue tie is causing problems with feeding. The medical name for this procedure is a frenulotomy, and referrals can be made to the midwife run clinic at Dewsbury and District Hospital

Got a breastfeeding question? Use ‘Breastfeeding Friend’ chatbot

Use the 'Breastfeeding Friend' for fast, friendly, trusted NHS advice anytime, day or night. You can sign in to Facebook, use Amazon Alexa or Google Home to access the Start4Life 'Breastfeeding Friend' chatbot