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Breastfeeding

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby for the first 6 months of their life. Following the introduction of solid food from around 6 months, breastfeeding can continue to be enjoyed by you and your baby (helping you both stay healthy) for for as long as you both wish.

Breastfeeding can help to protect your baby from diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, allergies, eczema, chest, ear and urinary infections, cancers, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and in later life from being overweight, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Breastfeeding also has health benefits for you, such as reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, hip fractures, heart disease and obesity.

World Breastfeeding Week

It's World Breastfeeding Week on 1-7 August. The theme this year is Empower Parents – Enable Breastfeeding. Supporting both parents to be empowered on their breastfeeding journey is vital in order to realise their breastfeeding goals. Breastfeeding is a journey that partners need to be fully supportive and knowledgeable of. We aim to support this in Berkshire by running events across the borough, working alongside our community partners. There will be light refreshments at the events and chance to win prizes, talk to health visitors, Breastfeeding nurses (Wokingham only) and other parents and parents-to-be.

Events 

Bracknell: the Health Visiting Service alongside the Children’s Centres will be running an event – to be confirmed

Wokingham: the Health Visiting Service alongside the Children’s Centres will be running an event at Brambles Children’s Centre on Monday 5 August 2019 from 9:30-11:30am.

Reading: the Health Visiting Service alongside Reading Borough Council will be running an event at Whitely Health and Social Services Centre, 268 Northumberland Avenue, on Thursday 1 August 2019 from 9:30am-12:30pm. See the flyer here. There will be a raffle, bookable baby massage sessions and the change to chat to Health Visitors and local breastfeeding champions.

West Berkshire: the Health Visiting Service alongside family hubs will be running an event in the Central Family Hub (Thatcham) on Wednesday 7 August 2019 from 11am-2pm.

 

If your baby is positioned properly and attached well to the breast, you’ll notice:

  • Your baby feeding contentedly
  • Feeding is pain free
  • The top of your nipple area is more visible than the bottom
  • Your baby’s cheeks are full
  • Your baby’s sucking is initially very quick (as they quench their thirst) then settles into slower, deeper sucks, ending with flutter type sucks
  • Breasts and nipples are comfortable
  • Nipples are the same shape at the end of the feed as at the start.

In the early days and weeks, babies feed around 8–12 times in 24 hours. They also feed for as long as they need to. Feeding times can vary from a few minutes to as long as 40 minutes per feed.

Feeding patterns vary over a 24 hour period. Your baby will usually have a time in the day when they need to feed almost continuously. This is sometimes called cluster feeding and may last up to 2 hours.

Breastfed babies also feed throughout the night. This is essential and normal as they’re growing rapidly and have very small stomachs. It also helps the mother to produce the milk-making hormone prolactin which is higher during the night; producing this hormone helps the mother to fall asleep faster, produce more milk and makes the baby more contented.

Babies usually gain weight following their centile line recorded in the Personal Child Health Record (known as the Red Book).  It’s normal for babies to lose a little weight following the birth, but they should soon regain this within a few days.

Your baby should have around 6 wet nappies in 24 hours and 2 dirty nappies. This may change as breastfeeding becomes established after 4–6 weeks.

To help position your baby properly:

  • Watch out for your baby’s feeding cues: rooting, searching, licking their lips, head bobbing and gaping: crying is a late sign for the need to feed
  • Enjoy cuddling your baby, having your baby close to you and using skin to skin contact between you both as much as possible as this will help to stimulate your milk production
  • Keep your baby calm by talking to or stroking them, and remain calm yourself
  • Expressing a few drops of milk from your breast by hand can help to tempt your baby to feed.

The CHIN method is an easy way to remember the key points of getting your baby positioned and attached well, whether you’re lying, sitting or standing. Ensure you are comfortable and relaxed then:

C – Close

Keep your baby close to you so they can get enough breast into their mouth.

H – Head free

When your baby wants to attach to the breast, they will tilt their head back allowing them to lead with their chin as they come onto the breast. 

I – In line

Your baby should be in alignment with you and their neck aligned with their back so they don’t have to twist their neck and body to reach the breast, which makes swallowing more difficult.

N – Nose to nipple

With your nipple just below your baby’s nose, your baby will start to root. When their mouth is nice and wide, help them quickly onto the nipple to ensure a good latch and pain-free feeding.

Get support as early as possible to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Talk to your Health Visitor or ask them about your local breastfeeding clinics.