“While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for every baby. ~Amy Spangler”

Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing and yet the early days and weeks can prove challenging for new parents. Information is the key to being prepared for what lies ahead and may help you to prevent problems before they arise.

So where do you begin gathering information that will help you to make an informed decision about how to feed your baby. Firstly, you should have a conversation with your midwife about feeding – she/he will discuss the benefits of breastfeeding and potential risk of not breastfeeding for your newborn.

Nearly all women can breastfeed! Successful breastfeeding doesn’t happen overnight– like learning any new skill, it takes time, patience, practice and above all frequent access to the breast to feed.

So what is so special about breastfeeding?

Well, for starters, whether your baby is born on his/her due date, a few weeks early or is a late arriver your breastmilk is tailor made for your baby and will adapt to his specific needs. So whether he is hungry, thirsty or just fancies a cuddle with his mum, your breasts will respond accordingly. How clever are they! You can’t get that from formula.

Breastmilk is packed full of nutrients and antibodies offering your baby protection from ear, chest, gut and urine infections, as well as from eczema, asthma and diabetes. It is the only food that your baby needs for the first six months of life! Even in the hottest weather, your baby does not need to be given water, you will just find he visits the breast more frequently and for a shorter amount of time, as he quenches his thirst.

Health benefits of breastfeeding are not just reserved for your baby as it can help to reduce your chances of developing ovarian and breast cancer; osteoporosis; and diabetes. It will mean that your womb goes back to its pre-pregnancy state much quicker and can even help you to loose the excess weight gained during pregnancy.

But breastfeeding is so much more than just about providing food for your baby and although this may be a surprise to you, your baby was born with this information imprinted on his brain. He/she will ask for the breast when he/she is hungry, tired, thirsty or perhaps bored, lonely or just needing a cuddle and everyone of these is a really good reason to breastfeed your baby. This responsive feeding, far from spoiling your newborn provides the necessary environment for healthy growth and development of your baby.

Written by Lisette Harris from Feeding Together.

To find out more about feeding your baby please go www.http://feedingtogether.com/