We encourage breastfeeding because of the health benefits for both mother and baby. Breast milk offers the ideal balance of nutrition in all the right proportions for the first six months of life and beyond. Even if mum’s diet is less than ideal, breastmilk will give baby the perfect diet. Breastmilk changes feed by feed and day by day to meet baby's needs without mum changing a thing.

Breast milk gives baby the best start with positive effects on brain development, promotes healthy weight gains and reduces the risk of childhood obesity. Antibodies in breast milk help to fight bacteria, viruses and funguses which are crucial for baby in the early months. Also, the risk of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death (SUID), asthma and diabetes is less in breast fed babies. 

Not only will baby benefit from breastfeeding but mum will too. Research suggests women who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. Studies have also found that women who breastfeed have a lower risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Breastfeeding boosts recovery after child birth - the uterus returns to normal more quickly, reducing the risk of bleeding and infection, it delays the return of menstruation and helps iron levels to recover, lessens the risk of depression and may help in losing weight.
There are some practical reasons to breastfeed. It saves money and time – no need for formula, preparing cleaning and sterilising and warming up bottles day and night. Best of all, breastfeeding gives you the chance to sit down many times during the day and the hormones in breast milk have a calming and relaxing effect, improving sleep quality and helping you can go back to sleep more quickly.

Common questions asked by breastfeeding mums

Helen Bracken, Midwifery Clinical Nurse Consultant at Norwest answers the most common questions asked by women about breastfeeding.

Q. How will I know my baby is getting enough?

A. Looking at baby’s wet and dirty nappies will give you an idea. Also, if baby is contented after feeding, gaining weight and growing, you can be assured that baby is getting enough.

Q. How many wet nappies and bowel motions should my baby have?

A. After the first week expect about 6-8 pale heavier wet nappies and 1 or 2 “poos” of any colour of yellow to green but could be a lot more.

Q. How much weight should my baby gain?

A. Baby should gain 20-30 grams a day or 150-200 grams per week for first three months.

Q. Why is my new baby so unsettled at night?

A. In the first 1-2 weeks, babies feed more at night and sleep better in the day. Breast milk rises in the night and frequent milk removal ensures a good milk supply long term.

Q How often should my baby feed?

A. All babies feed differently and all mothers produce different amounts of milk. You can expect to give between 8 - 12 feeds in a 24 hour period.

Q. Should I wake my baby to feed?

A. Not unless there is a medical reason to do so. If baby is sleeping, let them sleep, it’s best to feed when baby is unsettled. Look for cues that baby wants to feed such as licking, mouthing and sucking fingers.

Q. What should I avoid eating while breastfeeding?

A. No need for you to avoid any foods. Eat healthy foods and satisfy your appetite. Unsettled behavior in babies is generally not caused by what mum eats, unless baby has proven to have a known intolerance or allergy.


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Helen Bracken
Clinical Midwifery Consultant
Norwest Private Hospital

Helen Bracken, Clinical Midwifery Consultant, Early Childhood Educator and Lactation Consultant at Norwest Private Hospital has been helping mothers and thousands of babies for over 35 years. Helen was instrumental in implementing the Early Childhood Clinic which still runs today. The Norwest Private Maternity Early Childhood Clinic is available to all babies born at Norwest so the support of our midwives continues even after you go home.

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