Monday, 22 October 2012

A guide to breastfeeding over bottle-feeding for mums

Ayeisha SmithTwenty-three-year-old Ayeisha Smith with her two-week-old daughter Iris
New mums who are breastfeeding should be get more support from the NHS.
A new report from children's charity Unicef claims millions of pounds could be saved in the long run if fewer women gave up early on because it would reduce levels of illness later in life.
Rosie Dodds is the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) senior policy adviser.

What are the benefits of breastfeeding vs bottle feeding?

Breastfeeding makes a difference to your baby from day one. Its full of antibodies, growth factors and other special substances that are tailor-made for your baby.
Looking at groups of babies, if they are formula-fed they are more likely to be in hospital with chest infections, diarrhoea and vomiting and other diseases.
But this doesn't mean that a formula-fed baby can't be healthy or that breastfed babies are never sick.
Women can benefit too, with a reduced risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and diabetes in later life.

What is formula made of?

Pregnant woman
Formula is usually based on skimmed cow's milk with added fats, minerals and vitamins to make it more suitable for babies.
Soya milk and other animal milks such as goat's milk isn't suitable for a young baby, unless recommended by a doctor.

Why do some mums struggle with breastfeeding?

You see lots of pictures and videos of breastfeeding but it is very different when you have a little one there
Ayeisha Smith
Although breastfeeding often feels strange to start with, if the baby is attached so that they take a big mouthful, it shouldn't be painful.
That's one reason why NCT has trained breastfeeding counsellors and local mother-to-mother supporters. We know it can be hard to get started.
A small proportion of babies have a tongue tie or other problems that makes it hard for them to attach to the breast, so it's worth asking for help until you get it.

When is it time to give up breastfeeding?

It's up to you and your baby how long you carry on breastfeeding.
No-one has the right to criticise or judge you.
There are many ways to cut down when you want to, but doing it gradually is likely to work better for you both when you're ready.

Some women say they are made to feel a failure if they can't breastfeed?

Breastfeeding woman
Absolutely no-one should be made to feel like a failure.
You're the only person who can make decisions about feeding your baby.
You can always keep your options open and see how you feel when you've got your baby in your arms.
If you're thinking it through, it may help to come to one of NCT's Bumps and Babies groups to meet other parents and see what they say.

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