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Supporting your family with breastfeeding

Provided here is the latest information on breastfeeding, which will give you confidence to support the new mother in their decision to breastfeed. 

Lots of babies are bottle-fed and turn out ok, so what is so good about breastfeeding? 

A lot of research over the past decades has shown us that breastfeeding is very important for the health of babies and children. Human milk passes on important immunity and protection to a baby. 

Babies fed on human milk are protected against eczema, asthma, infections such as gastroenteritis, chest, ear and urine infections. It is also a protective factor for obesity and diabetes in childhood. 

For women, breastfeeding reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer and can help with early bonding. 

How does breastfeeding “work”? 

A new mother will usually make more than enough milk for her baby and does not normally need “top ups” of formula or water. 

Human milk changes throughout a feed: lower fat milk in the beginning and creamy higher fat milk towards the end. If baby is well attached to the breast, there will be effective milk transfer & mother should not experience pain. 

A new baby normally needs to feed about 8-12 times in 24 hours. It is normal for feeds to not be regularly spaced - don’t expect “4 hourly feeds”. 

Young babies need to feed at night for many weeks and have a strong instinctive need to be held close to their parents – you can’t ‘spoil’ a baby by holding them or cuddling them too much!