To celebrate National Breastfeeding Week, this week, we enlisted the help of a HarleyStreet.com clinician to offer her expert advice on the benefits of providing your baby with your own milk.
Helen Taylor has been supporting the week as a midwife working for Mothercare offering advice in stores and so on.
She shares her expert knowledge:
"The needs of the baby have been met by the mother's body during pregnancy, and the mother's breast can provide milk that is precisely matched to meet the needs of the baby for life on the outside.
"Breast milk is much more than a fluid that provides the baby with optimal nutrition, and no other formula can match it. So not only are the benefits to the baby nutritional, but also breast milk contains maternal antibodies and natural immunity.
"Research shows that breastfed babies are less likely to have for example tummy upsets, ear and chest infections, asthma, eczema and diabetes to list just a few. Breast milk is easy to digest for the baby and always the same temperature. It has the added benefit of being free too.
"Breastfed babies thrive on the closeness and warmth of skin to skin contact with their Mum that they have during a feed.
"Maternally, Breastfeeding has the benfits of helping women with weight loss after pregnancy, and it helps the womb or uterus to return back to a normal size. Women tend not to have periods too while they are Breastfeeding and breastfeeding reduces the risks of ovarian and breast cancers.
"Breastfeeding is natural but not always instinctive and Mum and baby need to learn how and when to feed. My advice as a midwife is to attend breastfeeding preparation sessions before the baby is born, as well as access information through books and online resources. Once the baby is born, do seek adequate support to help you through the early stages of establishing breastfeeding. It can be a challenge but with the correct support can be achieved and the rewards are abundant for mother and baby."
As an Independent midwife Helen offers breastfeeding preparation sessions, one to one as well as group, and give postnatal support and advice for establishing breastfeeding once your baby is born.
Femalefirst Taryn Davies