3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Feeding Your Baby

Feeding Your Baby

Breast-feeding is undoubtedly better for your baby's health and development and 98 per cent of women are able to breast-feed. Nevertheless, it is not always possible either because of a medical condition or because the mother just does not feel comfortable with it. There is no reason to feel guilty: formula milk will meet your baby's dietary needs and there is no reason why she should not thrive on it.


Breast milk is produced on a supply and demand basis. For the first two or three days, until your milk comes in, your breasts produce colostrum (a thick, creamy substance, packed with antibodies to protect your baby from infections and disease). The more your baby feeds at the breast, the more milk you will produce. The milk is made up of thirst-quenching foremilk, followed by a thicker hind milk. Breast-feeding can be uncomfortable at first so you may need advice. Your midwife will advise you but you can prepare yourself by getting the telephone numbers of breast-feeding counsellors. Other women who have breast-fed can also give you support.

Feeding Your Baby

Advantages of breast-feeding

There are many good reasons for breast-feeding if you are able to do so.

  • Breast-feeding helps to protect your baby against serious infections of the ear and chest, as well as gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhoea).
  • Breast-feeding helps to reduce the risk of eczema and asthma, particularly if you have a family history of these conditions.
  • Some studies suggest that breast-feeding gives protection against ovarian cancer, breast cancer and hip fractures.
  • Breast-feeding can help you to bond with your baby.
  • Breast-feeding helps you to lose weight because it burns off any extra fat that you have accumulated during pregnancy.
  • Breast milk is produced at the perfect temperature so there is no need for bottles and sterilizing units.
  • Children who were breast-fed for 8 months or longer show a higher IQ score than those given formula milk.
  • Breast-fed babies are less likely to be obese up to the age of 6 years.

In the first few days, while you are learning how to position your baby at the breast, your nipples may become sore. Then, on the third day, when your milk comes in, your breasts will feel large, hard and engorged. Do not worry - this is normal and does not last.


Nobody expects you to know how to position your baby at the breast but, if your baby does not latch on properly, your breasts will become very sore. You may need to experiment with different positions depending upon the type of birth and the size of your breasts.

  • Make sure that you are comfortable.
  • Hold your baby so that she is facing you so she does not have to turn her head towards you. Her head should be level with your nipple. latching on
  • Tease your baby with the nipple or let her smell your skin. As soon as she opens her mouth wide, bring her head to your breast.
  • She should not only suck on the nipple but also have as much of the area around it (the areola) in her mouth as possible. If she only has the nipple in her mouth, break the seal with your finger, remove her from the breast and try again. *When she is latched on properly her mouth should be wide open, with the nipple drawn deeply into her mouth. You will see the muscle in front of her ear working as she sucks.
  • When she has finished suckling she will be content. This could take 5 minutes or 35 minutes. Place your little finger in your baby's mouth to release the seal; this will avoid painful pulling on your nipple.


    When bottle-feeding, it is essential to follow the instructions about washing and sterilizing all equipment because babies can very easily pick up serious stomach infections.

  • Wash bottles and teats thoroughly in warm soapy water, using a bottlebrush.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before making up feeds.
  • Store prepared bottles of formula milk in a refrigerator for a maximum of 24 hours after they have reached room temperature.
  • Do not keep the contents of a bottle for longer than half an hour after your baby has finished drinking. Bottle-fed babies should still be fed on demand. Your baby will let you know when she is hungry and, unless she is jaundiced, very small or poorly, you should not wake her for a feed.

    You may find that she will take more at some feeds than others and that she will feed more frequently at certain times of the day. It takes longer for babies to digest formula milk so they do tend to go longer between feeds. A newborn baby will probably take six or seven feeds in 24 hours and, in the first two or three days, will be taking approximately 60 ml at afeed.

    Did You Know?

    Research shows that your partner has the greatest influence on the way you feed your baby. Make sure that he is aware of the advantages of breast-feeding!

    Applying Savoy cabbage leaves to the breasts can relieve engorgement. Keep the cabbage in the fridge until you need it.

    Chamomile tea bags can help sore nipples to heal. After brewing the tea, store the bags in the fridge. Once they Ye cool, put them inside your bra against your nipples. Put a breast pad over them to protect your bra. Breast-feeding helps your uterus contract and will also use up calories, which can help you lose some of the weight gained during your pregnancy.