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Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby learn together

For fast, friendly, anytime, trusted NHS advice on breastfeeding, message our Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend chatbot

Breastfeeding: off to the best start

Breastfeeding is a great way to get your baby off to the best start.

  • Breast milk is the best food your baby can have - it's tailor-made for your baby.
  • Breast milk boosts your baby’s ability to fight illness and infection in their first six months. Babies who aren't breastfed are more likely to get diarrhoea and respiratory infections.
  • Breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and burns about 500 calories a day.
  • Breastfeeding is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your baby. Watch midwife Chantelle talk about your bond with your baby.

Watch our video below or follow the steps to get your baby into position for breastfeeding.

Getting started with breastfeeding

Watch this video to find out how to latch your baby onto your breast.

Learn about breastfeeding together

The longer you feed your baby your own milk, the more they will benefit. Only giving them breast milk until they are about six months old is ideal and there are lots of benefits to breastfeeding beyond six months.
 
Breastfeeding is something you and your baby can learn together. Keep practising until you get the hang of it and ask for help when you need it.

We can help you get started. We have tips from midwives on the signs that show your baby’s feeding well and practical advice for partners and family. And we suggest who can help when you need a little extra support.

Step by step: getting your baby into position

1. Hold your baby's whole body close with their nose level with your nipple.

2. Let your baby's head tip back a little so that their top lip can brush against your nipple. This should help your baby to make a wide open mouth.

3. When your baby's mouth opens wide, their chin should be able to touch your breast first, with their head tipped back so that their tongue can reach as much breast as possible.

4. With your baby's chin firmly touching your breast and their nose clear, their mouth should be wide open. You should see much more of the darker nipple skin above your baby's top lip than below their bottom lip. Your baby's cheeks will look full and rounded as they feed.

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