Breastfeeding and infant feeding
Breastfeeding is the healthiest way for a woman to feed her baby and important health benefits exist for both you and your baby.
Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside family foods for the first two years, or for as long as you and your baby want, will help them grow and develop healthily.
All parents want the best for their children but breastfeeding isn’t always straightforward. In Harrow we are trying to create an environment where mothers feel supported to feed their baby. Without this supportive culture, women sometimes feel set up to “fail” and the language of success and failure reinforces a sense of individual guilt and hurt. We are helping to avoid this in Harrow by ensuring that our community services and children’s centres either have, or are working towards the UNICEF Baby Friendly standards.
Benefits of breastfeeding
Research shows that it can reduce the risk of infections and provides immunity to infections. Babies who breastfeed are at a lower risk of, gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, sudden infant death syndrome, obesity, type 1 & 2 diabetes and allergies (e.g. asthma, lactose intolerance).
Top 5 tips:
- Before your baby is born make sure you know the places where you can access support (groups, telephone support, websites- see links below). Always ask for help if you have any concerns or are having difficulty or pain
- In the first few days, you and your baby will be getting to know each other. It may take time for both of you to get the hang of breastfeeding.
- Check your positioning and attachment as these account for a large proportion of breastfeeding problems
- Feeding your baby as often as he shows signs of wanting to breastfeed will help make sure that you produce the amount of milk your baby needs
- If you decide to bottle feed, ‘responsive bottle feeding’ will enable you to form a close loving bond with your baby.
- Breastfeeding in Harrow including where to access support services and telephone numbers- Find out more from Breastfeeding in Harrow and Unicef
- A guide to bottle feeding - Find out more from Unicef
- NHS information on breastfeeding
- National breastfeeding helpline: 0300 100 0210
- Breastfeeding in Harrow hotline 07530 310060 (24 hours)