One-to-one support for breastfeeding
Life with a new baby is full of surprises, and you'll almost certainly have questions and concerns, even if it's not your first child. Midwives, health visitors and local trained volunteer mothers are there to help you. They can give you lots of information and support just when you need it.
If you need to speak to them before your next appointment, you can call your local GP surgery or health clinic for their contact details.
Breastfeeding drop-ins, cafes and centres
These are all great places to make new friends and share the ups and downs of looking after a new baby. You'll generally meet a mix of other mums who are just starting to breastfeed, and volunteers who have breastfed their own babies in the past and have had training in breastfeeding support. There's no need to make an appointment – just go along when you can.
To find out what's available in your area, talk to your midwife, health visitor or GP, or contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 0300 100 0212. You can also go to your local Children's Centre or Family Information Centre, which may have a list of local breastfeeding groups and activities for you to choose from.
Go to the Breastfeeding Network website to find a breastfeeding drop-in in your area.
How partners can support breastfeeding
As a dad, you might feel there isn't much you can do to help your partner with breastfeeding. But a dad or partner's role can be vital and make all the difference.
Women are much more likely to breastfeed for longer when they have their partner's support. This leads to a greater sense of achievement for mum and health benefits for both mum and baby. It can be a bonding experience for the whole family.
Practical ways dads and partners can help with breastfeeding include:
Go to antenatal or breastfeeding sessions. Some sessions are organised especially for dads. Ask your midwife or at your local Children's Centre for further details. Learning the same information as your partner and discussing it together can be really helpful, especially in the early days, when everything is very new and sometimes feels overwhelming.
Give emotional and practical support. It can be a really hard time in the early days when babies and children take up all of your energy. But it doesn't last forever. Try to make time for each other when you can. Do little things to make each other feel cared for and included.
Arrange paternity leave. Talk to your employer about paternity leave early on so you can plan how this best suits your family needs.
Make her life easier. It's the little things that make a big difference. For example, bring her dinner if the baby wants to feed at the same time, bring her a cup of tea and a magazine, or perhaps arrange for family or friends to keep her company while you're at work.
Provide some stress relief. If you already have young children, take the stress away from mum by keeping them entertained while she feeds the baby. Do your bit around the house and give your partner some time to relax and regain her energy.
Get involved in your baby's care. Giving your baby their bath, changing nappies and being part of getting ready for bed are great ways of getting close to your baby.
Give your baby a bottle of breast milk. After a few weeks, if your partner begins to express her breast milk, you could give your baby a bottle of breast milk. Not all babies are keen to bottle feed – some prefer to only breastfeed. Very soon, at around six months, your baby will be ready to try solid foods and you can enjoy this exciting time with them.
Helplines and useful breastfeeding websites
If you have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding, you can call the National Breastfeeding Helpline, which is run by the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers and the Breastfeeding Network.
Helpline: 0300 100 0212
The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers is a charity run by mothers for mothers, giving friendly support and supplying accurate information to all women wanting to breastfeed.
Helpline number: 08444 122 949 (also supports the National Breastfeeding Helpline)
The Baby Café is a network of breastfeeding drop-ins. You can find your nearest drop-in on the website by entering your postcode.
Baby Friendly Initiative provides up-to-date information on research and breastfeeding activity in the UK. Users can subscribe to email updates.
Best Beginnings is a charity dedicated to reducing child health inequalities. Its website features clips of the "From Bump to Breastfeeding" DVD, which follows real mothers' stories so you can find out what it's like to breastfeed.
Bliss is a special care baby charity that provides vital support and care to premature and sick babies across the UK.
Breastfeeding Network provides breastfeeding support and information for mothers and those involved in their care.
Helpline number: 0300 100 0210 (also supports the National Breastfeeding Helpline)
La Leche League strives to help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information and education.
The Lactation Consultants of Great Britain is the professional association for qualified lactation consultants. It specialises in promoting, protecting and supporting lactation issues.
The Multiple Births Foundation is an independent charity based at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in west London. A vital resource for professionals and families, it aims to improve care and support for multiple birth families through the education of all relevant professionals.
The NCT is a leading charity for parents, supporting people through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.
Helpline: 0300 330 0771
The UK Association for Milk Banking is a registered charity that supports human milk banking in the UK. The charity gives practical support to milk bank staff, who co-ordinate the provision of donor breast milk to premature babies. The charity shares expertise and good practice with milk banks and breast milk donors.