Posted: 26th October, 2023

Issue 12 : Feeding your baby

It's never too early to start thinking about how you're going to feed your baby. But you do not have to make up your mind until your baby is born. Breastfeeding/chestfeeding has long-term benefits for your baby, lasting right into adulthood. Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.

Feeding: the first few days

The benefits of breastfeeding/chestfeeding my baby

  • Your breast milk meets all of your baby’s nutritional needs
  • Breast milk protects your baby from infections and diseases
  • Breastfeeding provides health benefits for you
  • Breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it
  • Breastmilk is completely free
  • Breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby

Formula milk does not provide the same protection from illness and does not give you any health benefits.

What other ways can I feed my baby?

Some people can't breastfeed, or choose not to

If you are unable to fully breastfeed or choose not to, your midwife or health visitor will provide the support you need in order to bottle feed as safely as possible. Your healthcare provider will discuss the health benefits of breast milk and the risks of formula milk with you so that you can make an informed choice.

Visit our Maternity Voice Partnership (MVP) page for help and advice on infant feeding and links to local support groups and services.

How do I know if my baby is properly latched?

Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby learn together, and it can take time to get used to. Good attachment at the breast is key to good, effective milk removal. Signs of good attachment include, wide gape, chin indenting the breast, head slightly tipped back.

There are lots of different positions you can use to breastfeed. You can try different ones to find out what works best for you.

Read more about breastfeeding positions from Better Health (Start for Life) 

More information on helping your breastfed baby to get all the milk they need

Is my baby getting enough milk?

When you first start breastfeeding, you may wonder if your baby is getting enough milk.

Exclusive breastfeeding (breast milk only) is recommended for around the first 6 months of your baby’s life. Introducing bottle feeds will reduce the amount of breast milk you produce.

Read Unicef’s checklist How can I tell if breastfeeding is going well? for more guidance.

Hand expressing breast milk in pregnancy

If you are planning to breastfeed your baby or give your baby expressed breast milk you can start trying to hand express before your baby arrives, any time after 36 weeks. There are a number of benefits:

  • It may increase your awareness of how your breasts work.
  • It may increase your confidence in your ability to produce milk and breastfeed.
  • Colostrum collection (where this is possible) enables you to give colostrum to your baby in preference to manufactured milks when there are early challenges.
  • Colostrum collection enables the prevention or treatment of hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) episodes in at risk babies (breast milk achieves and maintains blood sugars, more efficiently than manufactured milks).
  • Supports exclusive breastfeeding.
  • Avoids or reduces risk associated with manufactured milks.
  • Colostrum is rich in nutrients and antibodies that help to protect your baby from infection.

Having a healthy pregnancy with a healthy lifestyle

Healthy Lifestyle

During pregnancy, it’s more important than ever to make healthy choices to support you and your growing baby. Read our blog: Staying healthy during your pregnancy, for more information.

Find out what we are doing in Sussex to support you staying healthy during your pregnancy.

Exercise in pregnancy

Try our Wellbeing and Exercise in Pregnancy Programme (WEPP)

WEPP was created by pelvic health physiotherapists to provide easy access to safe and effective exercise videos and useful resources during and after pregnancy. It is a free programme to encourage you to stay fit and well and there is something suitable for everybody including complete beginners to exercise.

Before you start, please ensure that you have read our self-screening for exercise. We hope you enjoy using WEPP!

Other News

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Issue 2 : Staying Safe this Winter

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29th February, 2024

Issue 15: Pelvic Health Physiotherapy

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31st August, 2023

Issue 10 : Empower Your Pregnancy Choices with the BRAIN Method

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