Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby.
Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop.
Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits. Breastfed babies have:
- less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting
- fewer chest and ear infections and therefore don't have to go to hospital as a result
- less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
- less chance of developing eczema and asthma
Infant formula doesn't give your baby the same ingredients or provide the same protection. Breast milk adapts to meet your baby's changing needs.
- Breast milk is the only natural food designed for your baby.
- Breastfeeding protects your baby from infections and diseases.
- Breast milk provides health benefits for your baby.
- Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mum.
- It's free.
- It's available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed.
- It's the right temperature.
- It can build a strong physical and emotional bond between mum and baby.
- It can give you a great sense of achievement.
Breastfeeding doesn't only benefit your baby. It benefits your health too. Breastfeeding is good for mums as it:
- lowers your risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer
- naturally uses up to 500 calories a day
Breastfeeding also saves you money - infant formula, the sterilising equipment and feeding equipment can be expensive.
Local help and support
Life with a new baby is often full of surprises and most mums have questions or concerns. As well as midwives and health visitors, there is lots of breastfeeding support if and when you need it.
Breastfeeding cafés welcome all expectant mums and mums who are exclusively or partially breastfeeding, offering one-to-one help and contact with like minded mums.
The County Durham Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme
The The County Durham Breastfeeding Friendly Scheme supports breastfeeding families throughout the county. By taking part in this scheme, cafés, restaurants, leisure centres and community venues show that they are committed to ensuring their staff and premises are welcoming and supportive of breastfeeding mothers.
Participating venues display the breastfeeding friendly window sticker so families can recognise them as being part of the scheme. Staff in these venues have attended a breastfeeding awareness session and support the scheme.
The Equality Act 2010 has made it illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place. Don't be afraid to ask if there is a private area in which to breastfeed - this should never be the toilets.