Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mother and childBreastfeeding provides the best start for your baby and has many health benefits for you as well. You are not only giving your baby all the nourishment he/she needs for the first six months of life, you are also giving your baby protection from a variety of infections and illnesses such as gastroenteritis, stomach, ear, chest and kidney infections, as well as allergies. You benefit too by reducing your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis.

During breastfeeding, it is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. You may feel a bit more hungry and thirsty while breastfeeding – this is common, so make sure you eat lots of healthy snacks and drink extra fluids throughout the day. Diet does not have a big effect on the amount or quality of your milk. However, it is important to look after yourself to ensure that you remain healthy.

In order to maintain a good milk supply, it's really important that you feed your baby often and that your baby is well attached to your breast. The number of feeds each day can vary a lot but could be around 8–12 feeds in a 24 hour period. If you're not sure if your baby is well attached to your breast, ask your midwife or health visitor to check.