Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding your baby gives him or her the best possible start in life and has many benefits for both you and your baby. This section provides information to help you get breastfeeding off to a good start, to enable you to continue breastfeeding for as long as you wish and support you throughout your feeding journey with information and local sources of support. Use the options on the left hand menu for more detailed advice.

Local Support

Breastfeeding Peer Support

Breastfeeding Peer Support

Mother to Mother support is available from trained volunteers who use their breastfeeding experience to support Mums to breastfeed their babies. Our peer support volunteers are trained to support mums experiencing simple breastfeeding problems. These sessions provide mums with the opportunity to get together in an informal environment to socialise and support each other in all aspects of feeding their babies.

Our breastfeeding support groups allow you the chance to talk to other parents and our breastfeeding peer supporters. These groups are run by our Infant Feeding Practitioners and are bookable by contacting Locala on 0300 304 5555:


Mondays 10am - 11:30am (please book 03003045555)

Almondbury Children’s Centre and Library

Off Farfield Road, Almondbury, Huddersfield



Thursday 10-11:30am (please book 03003045555)

Dewsbury Childrens centre

100 Heckmondwike Road

WF13 3NT


Tuesdays and Fridays 09.45am - 11.45am Term Time

Paddock Jubilee Centre (Breastfeeding Peer Support runs alongside Melody Makers)

Market St, Paddock, Huddersfield



Other support available locally 

Huddersfield Bosom Buddies

Auntie Pam's 

Twins & More

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Useful links & information

Useful Links and Information

If you need breastfeeding support in the evening or over the weekend please contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline - 0300 100 0212 or visit them here.

Breastfeeding Guide - the guide is on NHS Choices and provides information on the benefits of breast feeding, useful tips, and details of where you can get help and support.

Breastfeeding Support - This is a very comprehensive, easy to follow resource for common breastfeeding issues.

The Baby Friendly Initiative - This is a programme started by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF.  They provide guides, research and other useful information on breastfeeding. - An excellent resource for parents about all aspects of breastfeeding your child.

NCT - This is a charity to support parents. They offer information and support in pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

The Breastfeeding Network - They aim to be an independent source of support and information for breastfeeding women and those involved in their care.

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Why breastfeed?

Why breastfeed?

It's never too early to start thinking about how you're going to feed your baby. Today, most women in England are choosing to breastfeed and these are some of the reasons why:

  • Breast milk is the only natural food designed for your baby
  • Breastfeeding protects your baby from infections and diseases
  • Breast milk provides health benefits for your baby
  • Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mum
  • It's free!
  • It's available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed
  • It's the right temperature
  • It can help build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby
  • It can give you a great sense of achievement


Health benefits for your baby

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop.

Breastfeeding is good for babies. Breastfed babies have:

  • less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting, so fewer trips to hospital as a result
  • fewer chest and ear infections, so less trips to hospital
  • less chance of being constipated
  • less chance of becoming obese, and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life as a result
  • less chance of developing eczema 


Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect.

The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.

Infant formula doesn't give your baby the same ingredients or provide the same protection, while breast milk adapts to meet your baby's changing needs.


Health benefits for you

Breastfeeding doesn't only benefit your baby, it benefits your health too. Breastfeeding is good for mums because it:

  • lowers your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
  • naturally uses up to 500 calories a day
  • saves money - infant formula,  sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be quite costly
  • can help to build a strong bond between you and your baby

Exclusive breastfeeding can also delay the return of your periods. For more information on contraception, see sex and contraception on NHS choices

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Breastfeeding guidance

Breastfeeding Guidance

Skin-to-skin contact

All mothers and babies should have the opportunity to have skin-to-skin contact straight after birth. This will keep your baby close, warm and calm, and it will steady their breathing.

This can be a bonding experience for mum and baby. It's also a great time to start your first breastfeed because your baby will be alert and keen to feed. If you need any help, your midwife will offer support with positioning and attachment.

Your baby will be happier if you keep them near you and feed them whenever they're hungry. This will remind your body to produce plenty of milk.

Skin-to-skin contact is good at any time. It will help to comfort you and your baby over the first few days and weeks as you get to know each other. 


Changing from bottle to breast

If you've already been formula feeding for a few days but you've changed your mind and want to breastfeed, speak to your midwife or health visitor as soon as possible for support on how to build up your milk supply. You can also call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.


Formula feeding

If you decide to formula feed, go to Making up infant formula for practical and important safety information.


Skin-to-skin after a caesarean

If your baby is born by caesarean section, you should still be able to have skin-to-skin contact with your baby straight after the birth. Some births involve complications that mean skin-to-skin may be delayed. If this happens, it doesn't mean that you won't be able to breastfeed your baby. Your midwife will help you have skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as it's possible.


Premature and ill babies

If your baby is in a neonatal unit in hospital after the birth, you'll probably be encouraged to try Kangaroo Care. This means that when your baby is ready, you can hold your baby against your skin regularly, usually under your clothes.

This skin-to-skin contact helps you to bond with your premature baby, and it increases your milk supply. Read more information about breastfeeding a premature baby.


How to breastfeed

Breastfeeding is a skill that needs to be learnt, and it can take time and practice to get the hang of it. There are lots of different positions for breastfeeding. You just need to check the following points.

  • Are you comfortable? It's worth getting comfortable before a feed. Remember when you feed to relax your shoulders and arms. 
  • Are your baby's head and body in a straight line? If not, your baby might not be able to swallow easily.
  • Are you holding your baby close to you, facing your breast? Support their neck, shoulders and back. They should be able to tilt their head back and swallow easily, and shouldn't have to reach out to feed.
  • Is your baby's nose opposite your nipple? Your baby needs to get a big mouthful of breast from beneath the nipple. Placing your baby with their nose level with your nipple will allow them to reach up and attach to the breast well. 

UNICEF - Positioning and attachment (PDF)


How to attach your baby to your breast

1. Hold your baby close to you with their nose level with the nipple.

2. Wait until your baby opens their mouth really wide with the tongue down. You can encourage them to do this by gently stroking their top lip.

3. Bring your baby on to your breast.

4. Your baby will tilt their head back and come to your breast chin first. They should take a large mouthful of breast. Your nipple should go towards the roof of their mouth.


How to know that your baby is getting enough milk

  • Your baby will appear content and satisfied after most feeds.
  • They should be healthy and gaining weight after the first two weeks.
  • Your breasts and nipples should not be sore.
  • After the first few days, your baby should have at least six wet nappies a day.
  • After the first few days they should also pass at least two yellow stools every day. 


More information

If breastfeeding feels a bit awkward at first, don't worry. You and your baby may just need a little more practice. Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby learn together, and it can take time to get used to. Go to Breastfeeding problems for more information and advice.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can always speak to your midwife or health visitor, or call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212.

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Sleep and feeding at night

Sleep and Feeding Your Baby At Night

One of the biggest challenges for new parents is getting used to the changes that a baby will bring to their night-time routine. A leaflet, designed to offer helpful, practical advice on coping at night has been produced by UNICEF. It covers getting some rest, night feeding, safe sleeping environments and helping baby to settle.

Click here for more information (Unicef Caring at Night PDF).

Sleep is one of the topics that new parents have a lot of questions about. Although we all know that the first few months with a baby will involve disrupted nights, our expectations for how long this lasts, and our understanding of how normal infant sleep develops, can be unclear or unrealistic, and comments from others can be worrying. The following website provides great resources on sleep information.

Infant Sleep Information Source website

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden and unexpected death of a baby where no cause is found. While SIDS is rare, it can still happen and there are steps parents can take to help reduce the chance of this tragedy occurring. Click here for the Lullaby Trust’s leaflet for information.

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Dads and breastfeeding

Dads and Breastfeeding

Dads play an important role in supporting mothers who decide to breastfeed. Support and encouragement are a ‘must’ so that baby and mum can feel comfortable. Sometimes dads want to ask questions and don’t always feel they can or don’t wish to upset their wife/partner if they have decided they are going to breastfeed.


What you can do to help

It’s normal to feel like a bit of a spare part at first but there are plenty of ways to get involved and play your part:  

  • Give compliments - this really is vital to keep your wife/partner happy and positive. It is important you tell her how well she is doing and offer your support and love. 
  • Encourage your partner to eat and drink regularly so she feels more able to cope 
  • Listen and talk honestly about how you feel 
  • Be involved with the baby in other ways so that caring is shared. 

You can also help with housework and any other siblings


Do I really make a difference?

Dads play a big part in their partner’s decision to breastfeed, so if you’re positive then your partner should feel more comfortable and proud to breastfeed. A woman is more likely to choose to breastfeed if she is sure her partner is positive about it.


I'm worried that I'll feel pushed out

It’s normal to feel a bit left out when everything seems to be about the baby and your partner’s doing all the feeding and this can take a little while to get used to. Fathers can sometimes feel jealous or left out as mother and baby form a very close relationship. But breastfeeding is only one way of caring for your baby.

You can still be involved by:

  • Playing 
  • Soothing 
  • Bathing 
  • Changing nappies 
  • Entertaining 
  • Winding 
  • Talking 
  • Taking for walks 
  • Lay baby on your chest, skin to skin

Once your partner is breastfeeding successfully then she might be able to express some milk so that you can feed your baby too. It’s really important not to introduce formula milk to replace breastfeeding, as it will affect the amount of milk your partner produces and there might not be enough milk for your baby. Ideally, bottle teats (and dummies) should be avoided for the first 6 weeks or so until your baby has learned to use their mouth to breastfeed as some babies can have problems with attachment back to the breast.


I feel uncomfortable about my wife/partner breastfeeding in public

Many men worry about this and by discussing this together you can agree how to handle it. Lots of men change their minds once baby is born and are used to seeing breastfeeding. There is usually little or no breast showing when baby is feeding. Lots of places welcome breastfeeding now and provide facilities for mothers to feed in private if they prefer.


Will breastfeeding affect our sex life?

Tiredness may affect this more. There are a few things you need to know below but there is no reason why you can’t still enjoy sex whilst breastfeeding is taking place:

  • A women’s vagina is a little drier during breastfeeding so using a lubricant gel can help
  • Any breast stimulation can cause milk to flow so keep a towel handy
  • Sometimes it is better if you have sex after the baby has had a feed
  • Your partner/wife may enjoy sex more and is more comfortable with her body as a result of giving birth and breastfeeding.


Do fathers need to know much about breastfeeding?

You may find it helpful to know how breastfeeding works and what is normal behaviour for breastfed babies. Here are some useful facts:

  • Babies will be happier if they are fed as soon as they show signs of being hungry.
  • Breastfed babies usually feed frequently (at least 2 - 3 hourly) in the early weeks, especially during the evenings, but every baby is individual.
  • Some babies are slow feeders at first, but they get quicker as they get older.
  • The more the baby feeds, the more milk the mother makes.
  • Babies are usually less windy, and put on weight better, if they finish feeding from the first breast before being offered the second so that they get plenty of the fat-rich hindmilk.
  • A mother will enjoy feeding more if she is comfortable and relaxed.
  • The baby needs to open his mouth really wide, have the nipple in the top part of his mouth and have his chin against his mother's breast to feed well, as he massages the milk out with his tongue.

Nipple soreness or pain during feeding is generally a sign that baby is not getting a large enough mouthful of breast.


Useful Links

How can dads and partners support Breastfeeding - NCT (Website)

Dads and Breastfeeding: Association of Breastfeeding Mothers - (PDF)

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Expressing your breastmilk

Expressing your Breastmilk

Expressing milk means squeezing milk out of your breast so you can store it and feed it to your baby at a later time.

Although many mothers eventually use a breast pump to express milk, in the early days of breastfeeding it is very useful to know how to hand express. Not everyone has a pump and hand expression is a gentle way to solve early difficulties such as full or engorged breasts and can be convenient as your baby grows.


Storing breast milk

You can store breast milk in a sterilised container:

  • In Kirklees we have adopted "666" as it is easy to remember 
  • 6 hours at room temperature ( obviously not in direct sunlight or over a radiator or fire)
  • 6 days in the back of the fridge (at 4 degrees C)
  • 6 months in the freezer

Breast milk must always be stored in a sterilised container. If you use a pump, always sterilise it before and after use.

See Sterilising bottles for more information.


Defrosting frozen breast milk

If you have frozen your milk, defrost it in the fridge before giving it to your baby. Once it's defrosted, use it straight away. Milk that's been frozen is still good for your baby and better than formula milk. Don't re-freeze milk once it's thawed.


Warming breast milk

You can feed expressed milk straight from the fridge if your baby is happy to drink it cold. Or you can warm the milk to body temperature by placing the bottle in lukewarm water.

Don't use a microwave to heat up or defrost breast milk as it can cause hot spots, which can burn your baby's mouth.


Breast milk if your baby is in hospital

If you're expressing and storing breast milk because your baby is premature or ill, ask the hospital staff caring for your baby for advice on how to store it.

Read more information about breastfeeding a premature or ill baby.


How do I express milk?

You can express milk by hand or with a breast pump. Different pumps suit different women, so ask for advice or see if you can try one before you buy it. Always make sure that the container or pump is clean and has been sterilised before you use it. 


You may find it easier to express milk by hand

You may find it easier to express milk by hand than to use a pump, especially in the first few days. It also means you won't have to buy or borrow a pump.

The following suggestions may help:

  • Before you start, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, and gently massage your breast.
  • Cup your breast just behind your areola (the darker part of your breast).
  • Squeeze gently, using your thumb and the rest of your fingers in a C shape. This shouldn't hurt (don't squeeze the nipple directly as you'll make it sore and unable to express).
  • Release the pressure, then repeat, building up a rhythm. Try not to slide your fingers over the skin. At first, only drops will appear, but keep going as this will help to build up your milk supply. With practise and a little time, milk may flow freely.
  • When no more drops come out, move your fingers round and try a different section of your breast, and repeat.

When the flow slows down, swap to the other breast. Keep changing breasts until the milk drips very slowly or stops altogether.

If the milk doesn't flow, try moving your fingers slightly towards the nipple or further away, or give the breast a gentle massage.

Hold a sterilised feeding bottle or container below your breast to catch the milk as it flows.


Advantages of hand expression:

  • If your baby is a little sleepy s/he may be encouraged to feed if you can hand express some colostrum on to your nipple to tempt him.
  • Some quite sleepy babies may not attach to the breast but are able to lap expressed milk from the nipple.
  • Sometimes it is necessary to hand express and give the colostrum to your baby for the first few feeds until he has the energy to attach to the breast and feed himself.
  • It’s a really good skill to have when your milk volume increases. If your breasts become a little too full you may need to soften the area your baby takes into his mouth by hand expressing before trying to get him to feed.
  • It can be really reassuring just to see your milk
  • If your baby has had to go to the neonatal unit.

If you do have a pump, you may still find hand expressing easier, particularly in the early days. It can also help to get the flow of milk started before using the pump.

Click on the video link below to watch hand expression:

For further information, please click here.


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Returning to work or study

Breastfeeding and returning to work or study

Breastfeeding exclusively (giving your baby no other food or drink) is recommended for around the first six months. After that time, breastfeeding is recommended alongside solid food. Therefore it's likely that you'll be breastfeeding when you return to work or college.

The following information may help you. There are several options. You can: 

  • Arrange for childcare close to work or college so that you can breastfeed during breaks, or before and after work. The evening feed can be a wonderful way for you to relax with your baby after work or college.
  • Express breast milk (taking milk from the breast by hand or using a pump) so that someone else can feed your baby while you're at work.
  • Ask your employer or college for flexible working hours that are arranged around your breastfeeding needs.
  • Combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding to fit around your hours.

Think about it early. Before you go back to work, write to your employer/tutor to let them know. You may have an HR department that can help. It can make preparations, such as finding you a private room where you can breastfeed or express your milk.

To find out about your breastfeeding rights when you return to work or study, Maternity Action is a website that can provide advice & support. Click here for more information.


Useful ideas on breastfeeding and work

  • Label and date expressed breast milk before putting it in the fridge or freezer so that your childminder knows which one to use first.
  • Have a trial run with childcare before returning to work.
  • If you're using milk within five days of expressing it, it's better to store it in the fridge than in the freezer. This means milk expressed at work on Fridays can be taken home and stored in your fridge to be used on Mondays. Read more about storing breast milk.

You can also download or order ‘A guide for new and expectant mothers who work’ from the Health and Safety Executive website. This website also has a good section about your rights as a breastfeeding employee. You may also find 'Pregnancy and Work: what you need to know' (PDF, 1.1Mb) useful.


Information for employers about breastfeeding mothers

Employers have certain legal obligations to breastfeeding mothers. Supporting breastfeeding has business benefits too. These include:

  • reduced absence due to child sickness (breastfed babies are generally healthier)
  • increased staff morale and loyalty, and a subsequently higher rate of return to work
  • lower recruitment and training costs
  • an extra incentive to offer potential employees


How can employers help breastfeeding mothers?

Employers can have a policy to support breastfeeding. This includes:

  • a break allowance for mothers to express milk
  • provision of a clean, warm and private room (not the toilet) for expressing
  • a secure clean fridge to store expressed milk
  • flexible working hours for breastfeeding mothers

Let your employees know about your policy before they start their maternity leave.


What does the law say about breastfeeding mothers at work?

It is for the mother to decide how long she wishes to breastfeed. Returning to work doesn't mean that she has to stop. On returning to work, she should give her employer written notification that she's breastfeeding. Her employer must then conduct a specific risk assessment.

The Workplace Regulations and Approved Code of Practice require employers to provide suitable facilities where pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can rest.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that it's good practice for employers to provide a private, healthy and safe environment for breastfeeding mothers to express and store milk. It is not suitable to use toilets for this purpose.

You can find out more about this on the HSE website or by phoning their helpline on 0845 345 0055. The HSE also publishes a useful guide, ‘New and expectant mothers at work: A guide for employers’ (HSG122), which can be purchased from or by calling 01787 881 165. 

In this Best Beginnings video, we meet three mothers who express their milk for different reasons and who learnt how to do it in different ways. We also find out how mothers continue breastfeeding when they return to work.


Useful Information

For more information, download the following leaflet:

UNICEF - Breastfeeding and Work

Maternity Action - 6 Breastfeeding Rights

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Breastfeeding positions

Feeding positions

Cross cradle hold

This position is useful when you are just learning

  1. Use your fingers under the baby’s head so his head and the weight of his head are supported, but make sure his head is free to tilt back through the gap between your finger and thumb
  2. The palm of your hand supports your baby’s shoulders and you can press on his shoulders to bring him into the breast when ready
  3. Your forearm can tuck the rest of the baby’s body close to you. Most mums use their other hand to support their breast while the baby attaches

When you are sure that the baby is attached and suckling well, you can bring that hand and arm around the baby too.


Cradle hold

The position most mums use instinctively

Your hand needs to be supporting your baby’s shoulders and he is free to tilt his head back out over your wrist. Baby’s head needs to be free to tilt back.


Lying down hold

Useful if you have:
 - Painful stitches or haemorrhoids
 - Had a caesarean section
 - Also helpful if you are tired, and need to feed and rest, but make sure it is safe for your baby if you were to fall asleep while feeding.

  1. You need to lie on your side with your head on the pillows and your shoulders on the mattress
  2. Bend your legs slightly, but not enough for your baby’s legs to touch your thighs
  3. Your baby should be on his side facing you with his nose opposite your nipple. Make sure none of your arm is pressing on the back or top of his head. His head must be free to tilt back
  4. You need to press on your baby’s shoulders with your upper hand (or sometimes the fingertips of your lower hand) to bring him to the breast when he is ready


The 'laid back' and 'natural' positions

Another way to enable your baby to be able to access the breast is to place baby on your body and allow her to self attach. You need to be reclining so that your baby feels secure. You may need to support baby and/or your breast.

Positioning yourself and your baby in this way can help gently encourage skin to skin and body contact, and to enjoy a special closeness without either feeling any pressure to “get on with” feeding. Instead, this position encourages your baby to use natural reflex behaviour to help them to find your breast and feed effectively when ready.

Please click here for NHS Choices support

Click the video link below to see examples of these positions:


Underarm/rugby ball hold

Very helpful if you have:
 - A small or pre-term baby
 - A caesarean section
 - Large breasts or inverted nipples 

  1. The baby is usually held on a pillow, just under breast height, turned slightly towards you
  2. It is very important that the baby is held very close to your side but is not able to touch anything; otherwise he will push with his legs and come too far forward
  3. Hold your baby’s head in the same way as in the cross cradle hold
  4. When the baby feels your nipple against his nose, his head will be free to tip back between your finger and thumb as you press his shoulders in towards your breast

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Breastfeeding out and about

Breastfeeding out and about

When out and about remember

  • You don't have to ask to breastfeed. You can breastfeed anywhere you and your baby want or need to.
  • Make it easier for yourself by wearing trousers or a skirt with a jumper, sweatshirt or T-shirt that can be pulled up from the waist. If possible wear a maternity bra that can be opened from the front with one hand. 
  • Feed early. Don't wait until your baby gets too hungry or distressed, that way you'll both be more relaxed and feeding will go more smoothly.

Breastfeeding offers comfort as well as food, that's why breastfed babies are generally more easily settled.

To help build your confidence:

  • If you feel unsure about breastfeeding outside home bring your partner or a friend along for support until you become more confident.
  • You may want to choose a seat in a quiet corner where you can turn your back to the room, or could consider putting a shawl or baby blanket over your shoulder and baby.
  • Find out if there are any restaurants, shopping centres, hotels or other places in your area that particularly welcome breastfeeding mothers.
  • If you would prefer more privacy, ask if the venue has a private feeding room (not a toilet) available for your use.

Breastfeeding in public can mean breastfeeding in front of a relative or friend in your own home, or in a public place, such as a cafe or shopping centre.

During your baby’s early days, you may prefer to breastfeed only where you feel most comfortable. But, as you get more used to doing it, you’re likely to feel more confident about breastfeeding in front of other people when you're out and about.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Plan ahead. Before you go out, it can help to think about where you will feel comfortable breastfeeding when your baby gets hungry. Ask breastfeeding friends or your health visitor if they know of a spot, such as a cafe, that they’ve found to be breastfeeding-friendly.

Clothes and bra. What you wear when you’re breastfeeding is a matter of personal taste and what you feel comfortable in. For example, some mums like to wear loose tops that can be lifted up. Others, who prefer to keep their tummy covered, wear two stretchy tops so that the top layer can be lifted up and the bottom layer can be pulled down. A soft non-underwired bra can be easily pulled up or down when you want to feed your baby.

Baby slings, scarves and cloths. Some baby slings are designed in such a way that you can breastfeed while your baby is still in the sling. Ask your health visitor for more information. Some mums feel more comfortable laying a scarf or muslin cloth over their chest while they’re breastfeeding.

Take someone with you. Sometimes, it helps to go with a friend who has an older baby and can take you to places that she already knows would be comfortable for you to sit and feed. Or go with someone else, such as your mum, partner, sister or friend so that there's always someone to talk to.

Avoid the loos. Don’t feel that you should sit in a public toilet to breastfeed. You wouldn’t eat in there, so don’t feel that your baby should.

Know your rights. You shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable about breastfeeding in public. In fact, the Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place such as a cafe, shop or public transport.

Breastfeeding is convenient when you are out and about with your baby. You can shop and meet friends with your breastfeeding baby. There is very little to organise for trips, just bring a nappy change.

Since breastfeeding often looks like just cuddling a baby most people don't notice it. Wearing a top that lifts to let your baby feed will help you to feed discretely. Some mothers like to drape a scarf over their shoulder while feeding.

You are entitled to breastfeed in public places and you don't have to ask. Some places may offer a private area if you would like this, but you do not have to use it.

Your baby can look for food or comfort anywhere and at anytime. Feel free to offer your baby a breastfeed whenever and wherever he or she needs it.

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Breastfeeding complications

Breastfeeding complications­­

Medical reasons for not breastfeeding

Occasionally, there are medical reasons for not breastfeeding e.g. if you have HIV or, sometimes if you're taking certain types of medication that may harm your baby. Under these circumstances when there's no alternative, bottle feeding with infant formula will be recommended. If you're not sure whether you should breastfeed your baby, speak to your midwife or health visitor for information and support.


Why I breastfeed

New mums often talk about the benefits of breastfeeding for them and their babies, and they can give tips on what to do if you have trouble breastfeeding. Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help, but tackling breastfeeding problems quickly will give you more time to enjoy your baby's early days. In many cases, the solution is as simple as changing your baby's position or feeding them more often. 


If your baby is unsettled

If your baby is unsettled at the breast and doesn't seem satisfied by feeds, it may be that they're not attached to the breast correctly. Go to Breastfeeding: positioning and attachment to check that your baby is feeding well. lt can also be helpful to ask a breastfeeding supporter to work with you to improve positioning and attachment of your baby.


Sore or cracked nipples

If your nipples hurt, take your baby off the breast and start again. To do this you can slide a finger gently into the corner of the baby's mouth until their tongue releases. Putting up with the pain could make things worse. If the pain continues or your nipples start to crack or bleed, ask a breastfeeding supporter to help you get your baby attached effectively. Pain is not normal, so ask for help and support.

The following ideas may help:

  • Squeeze out a drop or two of your milk at the end of a feed and gently rub it into your skin.
  • Let your nipples dry before getting dressed again.
  • Change your breast pads at each feed (if possible use pads without a plastic backing).
  • Don't use soap, as it dries out your skin.
  • Wear a cotton bra so that air can circulate.
  • Treat any cracks or bleeding with a thin smear of white soft paraffin or purified lanolin. Put the ointment on the crack (not the whole nipple) to help it heal and prevent a scab forming.
  • There's no need to stop feeding. With skilled help you should find that breastfeeding quickly becomes more comfortable again.  


Sore breasts, blocked ducts, and mastitis

An over-supply of milk can build up in your breasts for a variety of reasons. If your baby is not well attached it may be hard for them to take your milk effectively, and some parts of your breast may not be drained during a feed. This is the area of your breast that may feel sore or painful. It is worth checking to see if this is a possible cause so that you can prevent it from happening again. If you're not sure, ask for help. Other common causes include wearing a bra that's too tight, a knock or blow to the breast, and missing a feed.

It's important to deal with a sore breast or a blocked duct as soon as possible so that it doesn't lead to mastitis (inflammation of the breast).

If you have mastitis you're likely to have at least two of the following symptoms:

  • breast or breasts that feels hot and tender
  • a red patch of skin that's painful to touch
  • general feeling of illness, as if you have flu
  • feeling achy, tired and tearful
  • you may have an increased temperature

This can happen very suddenly and can get worse very quickly. It's important to carry on breastfeeding as this helps to speed up your recovery. If you think you might have a blocked duct or mastitis, try the following: 

  • Check and improve the attachment of your baby at the breast - ask your midwife, health visitor or volunteer breastfeeding supporter.
  • Feed your baby more often.
  • Let your baby feed on the tender breast first.
  • If your breasts still feel full after a feed or your baby can't feed, hand express some milk to relieve the fullness.
  • Warmth on your breast before a feed can help the milk to flow and make you feel more comfortable. Try warm flannels or a bath or shower.
  • While your baby is feeding, gently stroke the lumpy or tender area towards your nipple with your fingertips. This should help the milk to flow.
  • Get as much rest as possible. Go to bed if you can.
  • If you can, take a painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Mastitis may also be a sign of infection. If there's no improvement within 12 to 24 hours, or you start to feel worse, contact your GP or healthcare professional. If necessary, they can prescribe antibiotics that can be taken while breastfeeding.

Stopping breastfeeding will make your symptoms worse, so ask for help and support early.

Click for additional informationalso see attached leaflet!



If you suddenly get sore, pink nipples after you've been feeding without problems for a while, you may have an infection known as thrush. Ask your health visitor or another breastfeeding supporter to check that your baby is attached effectively. Alternatively, you could make an appointment with your GP.

You and your baby will both need treatment. You can easily give thrush to each other, so if your baby has it in their mouth you will still need some cream for your nipples or an oral thrush tablet to stop it spreading to you. You many want to ask your pharmacist for information. Some anti-fungal creams can be bought over-the-counter from a pharmacy as well.  If in doubt, seek further information and help from your health visitor or GP if either you or your baby continue to have symptoms.

See link here for more information!



Some babies are born with a tight piece of skin between the underside of their tongue and the floor of their mouth which is known as tongue-tie and it can affect feeding by making it hard for your baby to attach effectively at your breast.  Tongue-tie is easily treated so if you have any concerns, talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP.

The Baby Friendly Initiative provide a list of locations where tongue-tie can be divided.

More information on Tongue Tie can be found here.

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Breast pump loan service

Electric breast pump loan service

Please visit the Ardo website for more information 



Common breastfeeding misconceptions

Many myths and stories about breastfeeding have been passed down through family and friends, but some are inaccurate or out-of-date. See how many you've heard, and separate fact from fiction:

Myth 1: "It's not that popular, only a few women do it in this country"

Fact: 78% of women in England start breastfeeding.

Myth 2: "Breastfeeding will make my breasts saggy"

Fact: Breastfeeding doesn't cause your breasts to sag, but the ageing process and losing or putting on weight can all have an effect. 

Myth 3: "Infant formula is basically the same as breast milk"

Fact: Infant formula isn't the same as breast milk. It's not a living product so it doesn't have the antibodies, living cells, enzymes or hormones that protect your baby from infections and diseases later in life.

Myth 4: "People don't like women breastfeeding in public"

Fact: Surveys actually show that the majority of people don't mind women breastfeeding in public at all. It's perfectly natural and normal.

Myth 5: "Breastfeeding is easy for some women, but some don't produce enough milk"

Fact: Almost all women are physically able to breastfeed. It's a skill that every woman needs to learn and practise before it becomes easy. It happens more quickly for some women than others, but nearly all women can produce the amount of milk their baby needs.

Myth 6: "If I breastfeed I can't have a sex life"

Fact: After you've had your baby you'll decide when it's time to have sex with your partner. The same hormone that helps to release your milk for the baby (oxytocin) is also made when you have sex so you may leak a little breast milk which is completely normal.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How often will my baby feed?

All babies are different, and it may depend on the type of birth you've had. Your baby should feed within the first hour after birth to get off to a good start. Babies then sometimes have a sleep and will start to give you signs that they're ready for the next feed such as:

  • starting to move about as they wake up
  • moving their head around
  • finding something to suck, usually their fingers

If your baby doesn't have a feed in the first hour, try skin-to-skin contact, putting them to your breast as soon as possible so that they're not left without a feed in the first six hours.


Why is baby-led feeding so important?

A newborn baby's stomach is only the size of a walnut, therefore they will need to feed 'little and often'. This is why baby-led feeding, or 'on-demand feeding' is so important. Your baby can have a good feed and be hungry again quite quickly. Babies go through patterns of feeding more and less as they grow. Letting them feed when they need to will ensure that they're content and getting the milk they need, when they need it.


How long should each feed last?

Every baby is different. Some babies want frequent short feeds, and others prefer feeding for longer. Let your baby finish the first breast, then offer the second. If your baby feeds all the time and you're worried, call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212 to discuss help with positioning and attachment.


Can I still breastfeed if I have more than one baby?

Twins, triplets and other multiples can be breastfed. Because multiple babies are more likely to be born prematurely and have a low birth weight, breast milk is especially important for their wellbeing. When you start breastfeeding you may find it easier to feed each of your babies separately until feeding is well established and you feel confident about handling them at the same time which may take a few weeks.

It can be really helpful to talk to other mothers who have breastfed twins, either at an antenatal session or meeting at a twins group in your area. Triplets can be breastfed either two together and then one after, or all three rotated at each feed.  Read more about Feeding twins and multiples.


Can I breastfeed after a caesarean?

Yes, you can. Make sure you get a skin-to-skin cuddle with your baby as soon as you're able to. Your midwife may help you have a skin-to-skin cuddle in theatre, or in the recovery room. If you keep your baby close to you and maintain lots of skin-to-skin contact, you'll be able to put them to the breast often, and this will stimulate your milk supply.

After a caesarean you might find that the 'rugby hold' [baby's body is around to the side of your body supported by the arm on the same side] is preferable to having the baby lying on your stomach. Ask your midwife for pain relief before you're likely to feed your baby so that you can feed comfortably.

If you have a planned caesarean, talk to your midwife about expressing some breast milk before you have the baby. This can be available for use afterwards if necessary, either by cup or by syringe.


How long should I breastfeed for?

Exclusive breastfeeding (with no other food or drink) is recommended for around the first six months of a baby's life. After this, breastfeed alongside other foods for as long as you and your baby wish. This might be into their second year or beyond. Find information about introducing your baby to solid foods.

Every day you breastfeed makes a difference to you and your baby. There's no need to decide at the beginning how long you'll breastfeed for. Many mothers continue to breastfeed when they return to work or college. Read about breastfeeding after returning to work.


How do I know if my baby's getting enough milk?

All mums want to know that their baby is feeding well. When you first start breastfeeding, you may wonder if your baby is getting enough milk. There are clear signs that you can look out for. 

Signs that your baby is feeding well:

  • Your baby has a large mouthful of breast.
  • Your baby's chin is touching your breast.
  • It doesn't hurt you to feed (although the first few sucks may feel strong).
  • If you can see the dark skin around your nipple, you should see more dark skin above your baby's top lip than below their bottom lip.
  • Your baby's cheeks stay rounded during sucking.
  • Your baby takes rhythmic, long sucks and swallows. It's normal for them to pause sometimes.
  • Your baby finishes the feed and comes off the breast on their own.

Signs that your baby is getting enough milk:

  • Your baby will appear content and satisfied after most feeds.
  • They should be gaining weight after the first two weeks.
  • Your breasts and nipples should not be sore.
  • In the first 48 hours, your baby is likely to have only two or three wet nappies.
  • From day five onwards, wet nappies should start to become more frequent, with at least six wet nappies every 24 hours.
  • They should appear healthy and alert when they're awake.   

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