Breastfeeding Advice

Breastfeeding Terms Explained

  • AreolaThe dark area of the breast around the nipple
  • Latching onThis is the way your baby takes your breast into their mouth
  • Kangaroo care or Skin-to-skinHaving your baby next to you with naked skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and in the early weeks. This calms your baby, stimulates feeding and enhances your maternal instincts
  • ColostrumThis is the first milk your breasts make in the first 3 days or so after the birth. It's yellow, creamy and rich in nutrients
  • EngorgementThis is when your breasts get very full and swollen with milk – typically when your milk first comes in around the 3rd day after the birth
  • ForemilkThe first milk released during every feed. This is the more watery, thirst-quenching part of the feed
  • HindmilkThis is released as the feed progresses and is richer and more sustaining
  • Let down reflex or Milk ejection reflexThe process that sets the milk flowing inside your breasts
  • Let down pains or After painsMild to moderate stomach cramps that you may experience in the first few days while feeding, caused by your womb contracting back to its normal size
  • MastitisInflammation of the breast tissue, resulting from blocked ducts

Breastfeeding Advice & Guidelines

SKIN TO SKIN

Babies love skin to skin contact and it is fantastic for mums too. You will be encouraged to do Skin to Skin within minutes of your baby being born. Not only does it reassure the baby that mum is right there but it regulates his temperature, breathing and blood sugar. There are benefits for mum too it encourages the release of the hormones for breastfeeding. Regular Skin to Skin contact during those early weeks gives breastfeeding a great start. And your husband or partner can get involved too cuddling the baby without a shirt on can help develop the bond between them from the very first days.

BABY LED FEEDING

The new word for demand feeding. Allow your baby to feed as often as he likes for as long as he likes. Remember that you have a variety of different-sized meals throughout the day as well as drinks; the same is true for your baby. If you find your baby is feeding frequently then it is usually because he is growing and he is getting you to produce more milk. The more he demands, the more you produce!

BREASTFEEDING AND BREAST SURGERY

With the rise of cosmetic breast surgery many women are asking ‘can I still breastfeed after surgery?’

Many women are able to breastfeed after surgery but it does depend on the surgical technique used. The advice is to have a go - and see what happens. There is online information and support for women who have had cosmetic breast surgery at www.bfar.org

EXPRESSING BREAST MILK

There are many reasons why you may choose to express your milk. You may be returning to work, or want to leave you baby with someone else, or perhaps enjoy a night out. Expressing allows you to continue to give your baby your breast milk with all its benefits. Expressed breast milk can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 6 months. For further information, please visit our expressing breast milk page.

NOT SURE WHETHER TO BREAST FEED OR NOT?

Many new mums are unsure about whether they want to breastfeed or indeed will be able to. The advice is at least to try and then go from there. Every drop of breast milk gives your baby added benefits, and every day you do it, you are doing the very best for him. Visit our benefits of breastfeeding page for further details.

ACCEPT ALL OFFERS OF PRACTICAL HELP

From friends, relatives and colleagues. Everyone understands that in the first few weeks, feeding your baby and getting enough rest is your priority. No-one expects you to be Superwoman! After all, you're just too busy being a Super Mum!

BREAST FEEDING IN HOT WEATHER

With the weather forecasters reporting that we are going to be getting some sun this year remember babies under 6 months only require milk whether breast or bottle fed. So feed your baby regularly in the hot weather.

IF YOU GET STUCK GET HELP

Your midwife, health visitor or local children's centre can give hands-on support and groups like the NCT and La Leche do have breastfeeding helpers who can come and guide you to breastfeeding success. And there are many breastfeeding groups throughout the country where all mums and babies are made welcome over a cup of coffee. This chance to network and talk through your difficulties with other mums who know exactly how you are feeling may be all the encouragement you need to keep going.

Going Back To Work Doesn't Have To Mean You Stop Breastfeeding

You can continue to feed your baby in the mornings and evenings, leaving his or her carer to supplement this with a bottle or cup of water or formula if your baby is hungry or thirsty at mealtime. Or, if you want, you can express milk during the day at work, so your baby can still have your milk when you're not there. This has the added advantage of maintaining your milk supply for feeding during the day at weekends.

Talk to your employer about breaks for expressing milk if this is what you'd like to do – you're legally entitled to rest, privacy and somewhere to safely store the milk for your baby's first year.

If you'd like more information about this, call the Health and Safety Executive info-line on 08701 545500. There's also a booklet available for mothers and employers from the Maternity Alliance on 020 7490 7638 or at www.maternityalliance.org.uk

REMEMBER

You can store expressed breast milk safely and easily in the fridge or freezer, ready to feed your baby later from a bottle or cup.