If you need FREE breastfeeding support click on the links below or call:


Association of Breast Feeding Mothers  0844 122 949

Breastfeeding Network 0870 900 8787

La Leche League 0845 120 2918

National Childbirth Trust  0870 444 8708 


I was asked to write a short piece on breast feeding and I copy it here for your information:

Breast feeding is without a doubt the best thing for you and your new baby.  However, getting it right is not always so straight forward.  Imagine if you can, that you have just experienced the birth of your precious new baby; perhaps it has taken several hours of serious hard labour and you have missed a night’s sleep.  You are handed your new baby and feel incredible, oxytocin -driven waves of adoration for this tiny person (the “love hormone” which helps you give birth)… and equally your baby has experienced the most incredible journey of its life by being born.  The two of you meet for the first time and are expected to figure out how to breast feed together: tired, emotional and hormonal. 

To stand the best chance of getting it right from the start, you need to prepare yourself as much as you are able.  You can read books or information from the internet, but nothing is as good as some hands on experience.  I suggest that you try to attend NCT classes which usually incorporate basic breast feeding; or by finding a breast feeding workshop, or some one-to-one information from a trained, breast feeding consultant.  In addition I would always asking your doula or the midwife who helped you deliver to show you how to get the optimal latch for that vital first feed (and this is important for subsequent babies as well as your first).  Once the baby is correctly positioned, you can see where the baby is relative to your breast, the baby has a sense memory of your nipple as it sits in the mouth and together you have the best possible start for a long and happy relationship formed from mother and baby gazing into each others’ eyes as you do the most natural thing in the world and breast feed your baby.

Your nipples will be sensitive at first, no doubt, as they are totally unused to a small gummy mouth sucking at them a dozen times a day.  It is thought that women with fair skin and pale coloured eyes have less pigmentation in our nipples than our darker more robust sisters and this lack of pigmentation can make your nipples sore.  It is also believed that the first twenty latches on are the most painful, in some cases latching on is so painful it makes your toes curl involuntarily.  But do not fear!  Your body is designed to breast feed and it shouldn’t take long before the initial pain at latch subsides.  However, you must follow your instincts and if you believe that the pain is a problem, do not suffer in silence.  Ask your midwife, your health visitor or your GP for help.  You can always phone the Association of Breast Feeding Mothers  0844 122 949, The Breastfeeding Network 0870 900 8787, La Leche League 0845 120 2918 or The National Childbirth Trust  0870 444 8708.  All these organisations will offer you free advice and they may even visit you in your home to help you sort any feeding problems out.

One top tip I always give to new mothers is a way to introduce the baby to the breast to assure yourself of a good latch on:  hold the baby across your body, supporting his neck, but not rigidly holding his head and line up his nose to your nipple.  Stroke the side of the baby’s cheek closest to your breast with the nipple.  The baby will smell your milk, and will also automatically begin to root for your breast.  As the baby opens his mouth, his little head will hinge backwards, and as he comes forward again, you press him to your breast. 

Some babies find it hard to open their mouths wide enough to catch your entire nipple (the whole areola, the dark area) and so you may need to hold them futher from your breast so they have to reach further in order to get their mouths sufficiently wide.  Some mothers have inverted nipples which can be harder for the baby to latch on to – using a breast pump before you latch your baby on to bring your nipple out is a simple solution here.  Sometimes an infection or engorgement may cause the whole breast to become so swollen, making the nipple flatten and become inaccessible to your baby.  In this case, a hot bath and hand expressing a little breast milk in the bath may be the best solution.  Sometimes a baby has not learnt how to breast feed correctly from the beginning and you may need professional advice. Please do contact an expert, as most of these problems are easily solved with the help of a kind,  knowledgeable volunteer who feels passionately about breast feeding.

Babies breastfeed for many reasons in addition to just being hungry.  For example, did you know that a baby’s intestinal tract responds when it starts to feed which encourages a bowel movement?  A baby knows this subconsciously and so if it has a tummy ache, it will instinctively root for your breast or even cry to be fed, to ease the discomfort.   Babies will feed for comfort and to be close to you.  Baby’s also feed to quench their thirst with foremilk and also to fill their tummies with nutritional hindmilk and your natural antibodies.  Your body is so clever that it will naturally produce more foremilk on a hot day when the baby is likely to be dehydrated, produce more nutritional milk as your baby’s needs change and produce the right antibodies to protect your little darling against any infection that they may be exposed to.  An incorrect latch may cause chaffing or sore nipples and that pain may cause you to want to stop breast feeding before your baby has had its fill of both parts of your breast milk.  Not enough hindmilk will leave your baby hungry, sooner, so it is really important that your baby latches correctly.  As long as your baby is gaining weight, though, you shouldn’t worry that he is getting enough milk.  Generally speaking babies know how much they need and will never “overfeed” or stop feeding before they are full.  Your body will provide the right amount of the right sort of milk at all times, as long as your milk supply isn’t interrupted.

Sometimes you may find yourself desperate for a few hours away from your baby, or even for a full nights sleep.  If this is the case, you may be interested to investigate expressing milk and asking someone else close to your baby to feed him.  You can hand express milk into a sterile container, or use a commercially available breast pump. You must ensure that the pump is sterile before you use it  and try to think about your baby in order to trigger your let down reflex.  Hand activated pumps are quite gentle and slow but can take a bit of time to use.  Motorised ones are a little more industrial and noisy, but you shouldn’t experience any pain, as they have adjustable settings so you can get the suction right for you.  Another top tip is to pump from one side as your baby feeds from the other as the psychological part of the let down reflex is taken care of by your baby.  Perfect!  Breast milk can be kept in the fridge in a sterile container for 24 hours and freezes well.  I used to make cheese sauce for veggies out of mine when I was weaning.

If you notice any bloody discharge when breast feeding, generally speaking, ask for some professional advice.  Breast feeding shouldn’t produce any blood when all is going well.  It could be a sign that you have an underlying infection, possibly mastitis or thrush, and you need to sort this out as soon as you possibly can.  You should always keep breast feeding through an episode of mastitis or thrush, as your baby relies on your milk supply and as he eats, so you create more.  Ask your GP about suitable pain relief if you are experiencing discomfort.  You must also keep the breast flushing through new milk to try to evict the infection. 

If you start feeding your baby with help from a midwife, doula or other professional person at your birth, your latching technique should be perfect from the start.  If you experience any problems and have to relearn an optimal position with your baby after you have been latching incorrectly, it can take a few days to get comfortable with this new routine.  A good breast feeding counselor will show you alternative positions to hold your baby in when you feed so you are not putting pressure on the same part of your nipple constantly: perhaps lying on your side with the baby next to you, or tucking your baby under your arm like a rugby ball.  Your breast feeding counselor may also suggest that you use some form of soothing  cream between feeds to help your nipples heal if they are cracked and bleeding. 

You can always breast feed with cracked nipples – you may not want to as they will be sore, but in order to keep your milk supply up you must ensure that your baby continues to feed as often as they would normally.  In short, do whatever you need to do to enjoy spending this special time with your baby.  You will be amazed at how fast they grow and develop and soon this precious stage will be over.  Breast feeding should be a joy.