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While you are pregnant - breastfeeding advice

We understand that you'll be given lots of information when you're pregnant. Although all of the information can feel daunting, we hope that you will think about breastfeeding your baby.

Baby Friendly sign
Pregnant woman holding her stomach

You can watch a helpful introduction to breastfeeding on the Best Beginnings website. There are lots of other helpful videos on the site you can watch.   

Breast milk will provide your baby with everything it needs

It's never too early to start thinking about how you are going to feed your baby. Your breast milk will provide your baby with everything it needs and is good for you too, which is why today most women in England are choosing to breastfeed.

Please visit the 'why breastfeed' page on the real baby milk website for more information about the health benefits of breast feeding and to discover most common misconceptions around breastfeeding. Additional information can be found on the start4life website here. 

We will offer you an antenatal contact to discuss infant feeding so that you have the time to think about how you're going to feed your baby, and know who is available to help you if you need it. You will get a helpful checklist to make sure that you have had the chance to discuss relevant issues with your Health Visitor and  Midwife.  

Antenatal classes are an ideal way to find out more about breastfeeding and parenthood whilst meeting other parents-to-be.   

You can also go along to your local breastfeeding group where you  can find out a bit more about breastfeeding and the support that is available to you when your baby has arrived.

Getting prepared

New parents tell us that it's helpful to have information in pregnancy  that will  help to cope with  a baby's early feeding patterns in the first few days and weeks. We know that all new babies need to feed as and when, and for as long as they wish (sometimes called ’on demand’ or 'responsive feeding').

It's quite normal for a baby to feed 8-12 times in 24 hours  as it helps to stabilise a new baby’s blood sugar level and is essential for establishing a good milk supply.

You can download Connie’s wheel for an example of how baby’s feeding and sleeping requirements vary across the first few weeks. You can also read 'Tom's first week of breastfeeding'.  

In addition to feeding, your new baby needs to feel comforted and safe and the best place for this to happen is close to you as new parents.  Take a look at 'Building a Happy Baby' resource which gives helpful information both in your pregnancy and the early days after birthing.

Support from Your Partner

Your  partner's support is crucial to  the success of breastfeeding.

During  the pregnancy ...

Have a chat with your partner about breastfeeding – it needs to be a joint decision that you both commit to.

Find out all you can about breastfeeding and why you should consider it.

Chat with other new dads.

Think about your life in the first few weeks after birth.

What support can you expect after  your baby is born  - what will help/ what will not?

Make a plan now.

How do you feel about breastfeeding, about seeing your partner breastfeed?

It's quite  normal  for partners to worry about feeling left out (10 things partners can do to help bond with a new baby), about how breastfeeding will affect intimacy, that breastfeeding will be tiring and time consuming.. in fact having a baby can be all of these things no matter what your feeding choice.

It may help to discuss some of these issues before the arrival of your baby.

Looking after yourself

There is so much to think about when having a baby that it's important to remember to take care of yourself.

When breastfeeding your baby is getting vital nutrients from your breast milk which is important for your baby’s development. It’s important to think about your general health and habits including your diet, vitamins, alcohol intake, smoking and general activities.  

It is recommended in early pregnancy that you take vitamin supplements. Find more information here.

Check the Breastfeeding Network's leaflet for advice.