Breastfeeding your baby
The arrival of a new baby is a very exciting time but it can also be quite nerve wracking when you are getting to grips with breastfeeding. On the next page you will find practical tips for healthy eating while you are breastfeeding.
Breast milk is the best food for your baby. Breastfeeding your baby will give your baby the healthiest start possible and is beneficial for mums too. Breast milk provides all the energy, nutrients and fluids that your baby needs in order to grow and develop healthily during the first six months of life. If you are able to breastfeed you do not need to give your baby anything other than breast milk to drink or eat until your baby is around six months old.
Why breastfeeding is best for babies and mums
- contains all the energy, nutrients and fluids that a baby needs in the first six months of life
- contains antibodies that help to protect your baby from infections
- helps to prevent constipation and tummy upsets in your baby
- may help to prevent allergies and obesity in later childhood.
- can help you to lose some of the weight gained in pregnancy
- can help to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer in later life
- is more convenient and practical than feeding your baby with infant formula
- is free!
Your baby doesn’t need anything other than breast milk for the first six months of life. This includes water as breast milk provides all the fluids that a baby needs (the only exception to this is when the weather is very hot, when you may want to give your baby extra water to drink).
However, very occasionally mums are advised not to breastfeed. For example, if you are taking essential medication that could harm your baby, or if you are HIV positive, you may be advised by your doctor or midwife not to breastfeed. Your midwife or health visitor will be able to give you information on feeding your baby with infant formula if you are unable to breastfeed.