Congratulations on your pregnancy/ birth of your newborn baby. We hope that you find our breastfeeding resource page useful. We have provided up to date guidelines, information, links and resources for breastfeeding mums. Including the benefits of breastfeeding, breastfeeding support and breastfeeding helplines. Along with breastfeeding drop in centres, advice on breastfeeding twins and multiples, positioning and attachment, expressing and safe storage of breast milk. Along with the advantages of skin to skin and the use of nipple shields.
Practical and informative advice for mums who are experiencing breastfeeding difficulties such as sore or crackes nipples, breast engorgement, mastitis or thrush. We have provided links to find breastfeeding lactation consultants, tongue tie specialists and antenatal breastfeeding classes.
Advantages of Breast Milk
Advantages for Baby
Breast milk provides antibodies that protect your baby against bacteria and viruses. It boosts your baby’s immune system and protects against infections, such as stomach and chest infections. It provides nutrients, growth factors and hormones that help your baby grow and develop during the vital early months after birth. It is very easy to digest and is absorbed more easily than formula milks.
Advantages for Mum
Breastfeeding can help you regain your pre-pregnancy. There is also some evidence that breastfeeding reduces your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
We have selected some breastfeeding support links that you may find helpful.
The first few days of breastfeeding can bring its own challenges. The NHS have a breastfeeding support page dedicated to the first few days of breastfeeding.
The NHS have a useful breastfeeding help and support page for breastfeeding mums.
The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) is a charity that provides information and support on all aspects of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, including breastfeeding.
La Leche League provides mother to mother support for all breastfeeding mums.
Kelly Mom provides interesting breastfeeding topics
UNCEF offers resources covering a range of issues around establishing and continuing successful breastfeeding.
Lyndsey Hookway IBCLC provides useful videos
Breastfeeding Drop in Centres
The baby cafe is a free drop-in offering information and support for pregnant and breastfeeding mums and their families.
Breastfeeding Twins and Multiples
Twins and Multiple Birth Association (TAMBA) has useful information and resources for breastfeeding mums of twins and triplets.
Breastfeeding Positioning and Attachment
It is important for breastfeeding mums to establish correct positioning and attachment. Not only will good positioning and attachment ensure successful breastfeeding but it will also help prevent sore and cracked nipples. Here are some useful links with clear illustrations and videos to help and support breastfeeding mums with correct positioning and attachment.
Expressing (hand expressing/ breast pumps)
There are many reasons why mums may choose to express their milk. Having expressed breast milk (ebm) makes it possible for partners or postnatal professionals such as maternity nurses to feed the baby, allowing Mum the opportunity to catch up on some rest. It may be that Mum has breast engorgement and needs to express a small amount of milk in order to successfully breastfeed. Whatever the reason, learning how to express breast milk either by hand or pump is important. Here are some links that discuss the advantages of expressing by hand versus pumping (manual and electric). Along with helpful and practical support.
Safe Storage of Breast Milk
You can store breast milk in a sterilised container or in breast milk storage bags:
- in the fridge for up to five days at 4C or lower
- for two weeks in the ice compartment of a fridge
- for up to six months in a freezer
Breastfeeding Issues and Problems
Sometimes breastfeeding mums may encounter problems such as cracked nipples, mastitis, breast engorgement or blocked milk ducts. These links are really helpful for mums who are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding.
General Breastfeeding Problems
Mastitis presents as a difference in colour (often red), swollen area on your breast that may feel hot and painful to touch, it may feel like a lump or area of hardness on your breast. You may feel a burning sensation in your breast that may be continuous or may only occur when you are breastfeeding. Other symptoms include nipple discharge, which may be white or contain streaks of blood. You may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as aches, a high temperature (fever), chills and tiredness.
Incorrect positioning and attachment is one of the causes of mastitis, it is always best to have a midwife or lactation consultant check your baby's latch whilst breastfeeding. A baby who is having problems sucking and infrequent feeds or missing feeds can also cause mastitis. If you suspect that you have mastitis, you need to see your GP as soon as possible, you may need antibiotics. Further information on the symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment of mastitis can be found here.
Sore or Cracked Nipples
Mums who are breastfeeding can suffer with sore or cracked nipples, which can make it difficult and painful to breastfeed. This is one of the main reasons why woman stop breastfeeding. But with the right help and support this can be overcome and successful breastfeeding can continue. The main reason for sore nipples is incorrect positioning and attachment, even if your baby looks as though they have a good latch and feeding well, it is worth getting a midwife or breastfeeding specialist to check your baby's latch.
Here are a few tips to help alleviate sore nipples: after each feed hand express a little breast milk at the end your nipple and gently message the breast milk around the sore nipples, let your nipples dry before getting dressed again. Don't use soaps, shower gel or perfumed bubble bath, warm water is best. Change breast pads regularly and wear a well fitted non-wired, cotton breast feeding bra, many department stores offer a bra fitting service. You can find more information on sore or cracked nipples, including symptoms, diagnosis, prevention and treatment here.
Some mums who are having difficulty with breastfeeding may find the use of nipple shields helpful. Particularly mums who have flat or inverted nipples, soft nipples, sore, cracked or bleeding nipples. Babies who have a tongue tie or suffering from breast refusal or those babies who are weaning from a bottle to breast. It is advisable to speak to a breastfeeding lactation consultant or your midwife prior to using a nipple shield.
Skin to Skin
Skin to skin has many advantages for both mum and baby. One of those advantages is that it supports breastfeeding. Skin to skin calms and relaxes both mother and baby prior to feeding. It stimulates digestion and an interest in feeding and stimulates the release of hormones to support breastfeeding.
Find a tongue tie practitioner
Breastfeeding Lactation Consultants
Find an IBCLC
Donated Breast Milk
Bliss is a charity for sick and premature babies. Here you will find useful information for breastfeeding your sick or premature baby in the neonatal units.
Find an Antenatal Breastfeeding Class
La Leche Legue
If you feel that you would benefit from having a breastfeeding lactation consultant or a maternity nurse for practical, hands on breastfeeding support please get in touch. Our experienced maternity nurses can support you on your breastfeeding journey, working days, nights or live in 24 hours.