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Getting your breastfeeding journey off to a good start

Breastfeeding provides all the nutrients your growing baby needs for the first 6 months of their life. After that it provides complimentary nutrition and goodness alongside solid foods. Having a positive, supportive network of family and friends around you in the early weeks will help to you get to grips with breastfeeding.

So what can your partner, family and friends do to support you in getting started on a positive breastfeeding journey?

Learn about breastfeeding

There are lots of resources out there to help both you and your partner understand about how breastfeeding works. It’s something you should do together, as the basics of breastfeeding, such as positioning your baby or helping your baby attach to the breast, can really be difficult. If your partner has also learnt these skills, they can help be a huge help. Our website has lots of useful information. 

There are online groups you can join or antenatal classes which are hugely supportive. Berkshire Healthcare will be offering antenatal infant feeding virtual classes soon, so keep an eye out on our Facebook page for the dates!

Spend time with your baby

Being close to your baby as much as possible in the early days and weeks is important to help your milk supply (it’s that happy hormone again!) and to bond with your baby. Relatives and friends will get their chance to cuddle and hold the baby but in those early days, it might help to limit the number of people who come round so that you can focus on your baby.

Allow people to help

Your close family will want to help. Make them feel included by asking for support to make a meal or hang the washing out. Maybe they can take your older child out for a couple of hours or get some shopping in. Help like this will allow you to spend time with your baby, focusing on breastfeeding.

Get your older children involved

Older children will need to get to know their little sibling so allow them to be close and help out. Whether that’s fetching you a nappy or singing to baby as you feed, help them to feel involved.

If they’re quite young, having a box of simple activities close by will help control the sibling jealousy they may feel when their new sibling arrives. Call it your breastfeeding box. Allow your toddler to choose one activity ONLY when you’re breastfeeding. It could be stickers (toddlers love stickers!) or a simple puzzle. It may be a new small toy or a book. Keeping them occupied while you concentrate on attaching your baby to the breast will help to keep you calm and relaxed. You can start preparing for this while you’re pregnant. Get them involved in decorating a simple cardboard box and talk to them about what’s going to happen.

Support from your partner

Your partner is integral to the breastfeeding process. Sometimes they may feel like they aren’t required as you’re the one doing all the feeding. But they can absolutely support in so many ways within the first few weeks. Here’s how:

  • Skin to skin contact to calm baby and help to bond with their new child
  • Help with winding or burping during a feed
  • Supporting you at night – being awake too and getting you a drink or snack if you need one
  • Changing nappies and being involved at bath time too
  • Getting out with baby, either for a walk with baby in their pram or by wearing a sling 
  • Giving baby expressed breastmilk via a cup or syringe 

Your partner, family and friends can provide that network of support to help and advise in the early days and weeks. Your loved ones want to help and support you as a family unit and they will be a great tower of strength. There is a saying “it takes a village to raise a child” – this is so true. We need support, encouragement and cheerleading from our close family and friends.

But of course, you have us in the health visiting service in your camp too! If you need any advice or support, please get in touch.

If you have any questions about this topic or any other health and wellbeing concerns, please give us a call or drop us an email. Our Health Visiting duty lines are open every weekday between 9am-4.30pm:

Bracknell: 0300 365 6000 or email
Wokingham: 0300 365 7000 or email:
Reading: 0118 931 2111 or email
West Berkshire: 0300 303 3944 or email:   

Your West Berkshire Breastfeeding Support is 01189456157

About the author

Kirstie is the Professional Development Lead Health Visiting and Infant Feeding Lead for Berkshire Healthcare