Pregnancy and how you will feed your baby
There's a wide range of evidence-based information about your options for feeding your baby
The Department of Health (DH) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that babies have nothing other than breastmilk for the first six months of life and then continue breastfeeding with complementary foods for up to two years and beyond. Breastfeeding improves the health of mothers and babies and helps to nurture a close and responsive relationship between mother and child. Your breastmilk will adapt to the changing needs of your developing baby.
Benefits of breastfeeding and how it works
- Human milk advert explaining the composition of human breastmilk.
- Video from the Breastfeeding Companion
- ‘How Lactation Works’ a video from the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers, is a great 5-minute video
- How does breastfeeding work? A video via the Breastfeeding companion
Free Online Antenatal Breastfeeding classes and courses
The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers has a Baby Antenatal breastfeeding course: Getting ready to breastfeed
The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) also has some good resources:
- How lactation works
- ABM Video ‘More than milk’
- Online breastfeeding course from Dorset NHS
- Preparation for breastfeeding video by IBCLC Lyndsey Hookway
Drugs in Breastmilk
If you are on medications and are concerned whether you can continue them whilst breastfeeding, we recommend that you discuss this with your midwife or doctor. Many medications are suitable to take whilst breastfeeding, but others may need reviewing to see if they are suitable.
Information from Trent and Leicestershire Medicines Information Centre & UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service, to submit a medicines-related enquiry:
Visit: www.sps.nhs.uk for NHS medicines information resources including drugs in lactation
Telephone: 0116 258 6491 (Mon–Fri 9.00–17.00)
Antenatal expression of colostrum and breastmilk storage
Many mothers choose to hand express colostrum before their baby arrives, it is particularly recommended if you are diabetic, expecting a complicated or pre-term delivery, or if you have to be induced. Do discuss this with your midwife or consultant as this is NOT recommended before 36 weeks. Your midwife will be able to explain how to express colostrum and where to obtain labels and special syringes for catching your breastmilk.
- ‘Expressing your milk before your baby arrives’ leaflet from Association of Breastfeeding Mothers
- A useful video demonstrating and explaining hand expressions from Baby-Friendly Initiative:
- Gloucestershire Hospitals leaflet on Breastfeeding support, expressing your breastmilk, cup, and syringe feeding
- Expressing and storing breastmilk
The Breastfeeding Network
They are local mums who have breastfed our children and have trained to be breastfeeding peer support Helpers and Supporters with the Breastfeeding Network.
What do we do?
We provide friendly help, evidence-based information and support about breastfeeding through community groups and via Facebook
Information on our services can be found on our webpage https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/gloucestershire/
and on our community Facebook pages:
You can also request to join their Facebook support pages for peer-to-peer support:
BfN Berkeley, Sharpness and Newtown Breastfeeding Support https://www.facebook.com/groups/474878523688311/
BfN Newent https://www.facebook.com/groups/447455182366923/
Information on Drugs in Breastmilk can be found at
The National Breastfeeding Helpline is open 365 days a year from 9.30 am-9.30 pm at 0300 100 0212.
Although we encourage all mothers to breastfeed because of the health benefits for mothers and babies, we know that some mothers may be unable to, or choose not to, breastfeed. Midwives will offer the opportunity to explore your thoughts about feeding, and support your informed choice.
Breastfeeding support in other languages
- La Leche League offers support to breastfeeding mums in a variety of languages
- Baby-Friendly Initiative offers a wide range of foreign languages
- The Best Start Resource Centre has resources on preconception health, prenatal health, and early childhood development in 26 languages. The ‘Breastfeeding Matters: An Important Guide’ is available in an extensive range of languages
- Other breastfeeding videos in different languages