How Can I Get Off to a Good Start?

Getting off to the best possible start can play a key part in your breastfeeding journey.

Four key factors have been identified by WHO and UNICEF as being important in establishing and sustaining breastfeeding:

  1. A breastfeed within the first hour of life – skin to skin contact after delivery can help to get this started.
  2. Exclusive breastfeeding – breastfeeding babies do not need any other food or drinks, including water for at least the first six months.
  3. Breastfeeding when your baby displays signs of being hungry, such as sucking fingers and licking lips, and for as long as the baby wants i.e. until the baby comes off the breast by themselves and has completed the feed.
  4. Avoiding the use of bottles, teats or dummies, including nipple shields.

Some ideas to help you find more information include:

Read and download the Department of Health leaflet Off to the Best Start or the NHS Health Scotland leaflet Off to A Good Start for good general information including skin to skin and the first feed.

Have a look at Baby Tom: A New Mums Diary to see what to expect in the first week.

Think about going along to a local drop-in group where you can talk to other breastfeeding mums about their experiences.  Find out here if there is a group near you.

Bookmark or favourite the BfN website on your phone, laptop or tablet so you can always find our helpline numbers or you can access or online chat facility.  You could even give them a call if you would like to speak to someone while you are pregnant.