At birth, giving your baby a long cuddle: Skin to skin contact for up to one hour, calms both mum and baby, it regulates baby’s heart rate and temperature, and stimulates mothering hormones which helps to form a close bond and increase breast milk supply. Baby’s immediate needs are to feel safe and secure, and to be able to feed whenever hungry. Holding your baby close to feed, and responding to all of baby’s needs encourages healthy brain connections. Most of this development will occur within the first two years. Responsive parenting will enable your baby to reach its full potential, to help them form good relationships and communicate well, giving them the best start in life.
How to tell your baby is having lots of milk:
Lots of wet heavy nappies - around six in 24 hours.
Dirty nappies, two to three soft stools daily until four to six weeks, after which two to three per week.
Baby is content and settled during and after each feed.
During a feed, you can hear baby swallowing.
Weight gain - checked by your health visitor at the local baby clinic.
Remember, your milk fulfils all of your baby’s needs for around six months. It also reduces the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Ordinary supermarket cow’s milk should not be offered until your baby reaches one year, although it is suitable to use from six months in breakfast cereals.
Have you been shown how to hand express? This is a really useful skill, and it's free.
For one-to-one assistance or further breastfeeding support speak to your midwife, health visitor or children's centre.
Go to your local Breastfeeding Support Group. Ask your health visitor for details.