How you choose to feed your baby is a really important decision. We would expect the health-care staff to make time to have a chat with you about how you feel about feeding your baby and to give you some information about the difference between breast and bottle feeding. They will also chat with you about some simple steps that can make breastfeeding your baby easier. You should be given some written information and perhaps a DVD called From Bump to Breastfeeding. This is really useful to see how other people have managed breastfeeding.
In most areas there are classes you can attend before your baby is born to talk about feeding. Ask you midwife for details of these near you.
What difference could being breastfed make to me and my baby?
Read pages 4 and 5 of 'Off to the Best Start' to get an insight into the benefits that breastfeeding can have.
If you want to find out even more, click here to find out what health benefits breastfeeding can offer.
How can I make sure breastfeeding works for me?
You can read sample breastfeeding policies to see what sort of things you should expect the health service to be doing to support you.
Go to the 'First Two Days' section of this care pathway to see what standard of care you should expect to recieve after your baby is born in order to make the best possible start to breastfeeding.
I’m not sure breastfeeding is for me…
Maybe none of your friends or family have breastfed and you are not sure about what to expect for yourself, or about their reactions? Some mothers explain their thoughts about breastfeeding here.
Or maybe you have heard that breastfeeding may be difficult, or had a hard time breastfeeding your last baby?
Your midwife or health visitor should answer any concerns you may have. You may also like to talk to another mum who has experienced breastfeeding - it is quite likely that your area has peer supporters you could talk to. Peer supporters are mothers who have breastfed and had training to enable them to support other mothers. Often they are based in breastfeeding drop-ins in local health centres – ask your midwife for more details.
Or you may like to phone one of the national helpline numbers – again these are run by mothers who have breastfed and have had training to support other mothers.
I really would prefer to bottle feed
However you choose to feed your baby, staff at your local hospital and those visiting you once home should make sure you are supported and confident. Many mothers don’t actually decide how they are going to feed until their baby is born and in their arms. It is amazing how differently you may feel once you see your baby and hold him/her in skin to skin contact.