Breastfeeding

There are many benefits to breastfeeding including:1

  • It is the only natural food which is specially designed for your baby
  • It is at the right temperature for your baby, and available when they need it
  • It provides protective properties from diseases and infections
  • It reduces the chance of your baby becoming constipated, developing eczema, being admitted to hospital with chest and ear infections, or with diarrhoea and vomiting
  • AND It can help to build bonds between you and your baby

The Department of Health and World Health Organization recommend you breastfeed for the first six months of your baby’s life.2,3 After the sixth month mark, it is recommended to continue to breastfeed for as long as possible during infancy, however at this stage parents should start feeding complementary foods to their babies.2-4

If you have any concerns, consult your health visitor or family doctor. The National Breastfeeding Helpline can also be a useful resource4
0300 100 0212

What if my baby has cow’s milk allergy, can I still breastfeed?

If your baby has cow’s milk allergy, it is recommended that you continue to breastfeed. However, you may need to avoid cow’s milk in your diet.1 Please click here for more information about breastfeeding.

Tips to help me breastfeed

Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience and can give your baby the best start in life, but it can also be a challenging time for mothers and their babies, especially if your baby has an allergy.

Here are some tips to help:5

  • Check your baby has latched properly to your breast – which will mean your breasts do not get sore, plus your baby is taking the milk properly
  • Avoid using dummies as some babies may be less likely to take as much breast milk, whilst others then have problems attaching to the breast
  • Make sure you’re in a comfortable position before you start breastfeeding – this will help make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your baby
  • To help your baby swallow the breastmilk properly, line up your baby’s head and body to ensure it’s in a straight line
  • Make sure your baby’s nose is opposite your nipple so your baby has a mouthful of the breast so they can attach well to it during feeding
  • When you are breastfeeding, make sure you eat a healthy diet and each day take a vitamin D supplement (10 micrograms)
  • Ensure you are getting enough calories to keep your energy levels up, as breastfeeding can burn up to 500 calories a day
  • Snack between meals, going for nutrient dense foods such as nuts, dried fruits, wholegrain cereal bars
  • Keep hydrated, this is very important when breastfeeding

If you have any concerns, consult your health visitor or family doctor. The National Breastfeeding Helpline can also be a useful resource4
0300 100 0212.

If you have any concerns, please discuss these with your healthcare professional.

References

  1. Vandenplas Y et al. Arch Dis Child 2007;92:902-908.
  2. NHS Choices, 2012: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/why-breastfeed.aspx#close Accessed 14th August 2013.
  3. DOH, 2011:
    http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publichealth/Nutrition/Nutritionpregnancyearlyyears/DH_127625 Accessed 14th August 2013.
  4. World Health Organization, 2013: http://www.who.int/features/qa/57/en/ Accessed 14th August 2013.
  5. NHS Choices, 2012: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/breastfeeding-help-support.aspx#close Accessed 6th September 2013.

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RXANI140098 Date of preparation: March 2014