Feeding your baby
We are committed to supporting you and your family in whatever infant feeding choice you make and want to ensure that you have all of the information that you need to make informed decisions.
Your midwife will discuss how you would like to and feed your baby and will give you some basic information to help you make informed choices.
Things which may help:
1. Find out as much as you can in the antenatal period.
- Talk to your midwife or health visitor.
- Make contact with peer support groups, and breastfeeding groups in your area.
- Read through a copy of A Mothers Guide to Breastfeeding, which is available from your midwife.
- Look on reputable websites such as the NHS and Start4Life
2. Try antenatal hand expression of your breasts from 37 weeks pregnant. If this is something you are interested in, please speak toyour midwife.
3. Make a plan as part of your birth plan.
- Try to avoid using drugs which may affect your baby’s ability to breastfeed well.
- Uninterrupted skin to skin contact after the birth of your baby really does help.
- Think about giving a first breastfeed even if you are planning to bottle feed.
4. Think about breastfeeding bras and breast pads before you have your baby.
5. Sort out lots of help for when you get home. If someone else is doing the housework you have more time to concentrate on getting breastfeeding off to a good start.
For more information see:
There may be breast feeding support groups in your local area, for more information see:
If you are planning to bottle feed:
- Consider giving a first breast feed - skin to skin contact is still important
- Don't feel pressured, we are here to help. It's ok to give as few or as many breast feeds as you wish
- Don't worry if breast feeding doesn't work for you - if it's not right for you it's OK to stop
- It IS really important to make up bottle feeds correctly. Cleanliness is very important. You should make up only one bottle at a time as you need it. Avoid storing milk. Practise making up bottles and sterilising equipment before giving birth to your baby if you are thinking of bottle feeding.
See our guide here:
Infant feeding support links
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I express my breasts antenatally?
Yes, a great idea. Have a go from 37 weeks pregnant. Don’t worry if colostrum (first milk) doesn’t appear at first. Ask your community midwife for help.
It’s a great way to get familiar with your breasts and how they work. In some cases it’s very helpful to collect and store any available colostrum e.g. if you are a woman with diabetes and your baby will have special nutritional needs at first.
Do I need a breast pump?
No, not necessarily. You may choose to get one later, for example if you return to work whilst breastfeeding but it is not necessary. Wait and see.
What about skin to skin contact?
Skin to skin contact between mum and baby as soon as possible after birth and ideally continuing until the baby is ready and able to breastfeed really does help get breastfeeding off to a good start.
Will I get sore nipples?
The best way to avoid sore nipples is to ensure baby is feeding in the correct way (see The Mothers Guide to Breastfeeding, which is available from your midwife). Sore nipples are not a natural part of breastfeeding but you will need help to make sure they do not develop.
Will I have enough milk?
If the baby is feeding correctly at the breast and feeds as often as he or she wishes you will have enough milk for not just one but even two or three babies! It is unusual not to be able to produce enough milk. Remember it is a natural thing to do for both you and your baby.
If I need medication in labour will it affect my breast milk?
Sometimes you may be advised to have medication in labour. It will be possible to breastfeed even if you do because drugs are chosen to avoid the risk of affecting breast milk. If you needed a drug which was unsuitable, which is unlikely, you would be informed.
Some medication such as pethidine which is given in labour affects the baby directly, although temporarily, and the baby may initially be a bit sleepy and unwilling to feed. In this case you may need to express your breasts and give the milk to your baby until he or she is ready to breastfeed.