Breastfeeding your Baby and Beyond
Breastfeeding is a natural way of feeding your baby which is designed to meet all their needs for the first six months of life. But the benefits don’t stop when your little one reaches six months, your milk will continue to support your child’s health for as long as you decide to continue feeding.
At Stylish Mum, we are passionate about supporting mums on their breastfeeding journey. But we recognise the topic can be an emotive one as many women experience difficulties which cause them to stop breastfeeding before they are ready. Others may be unable or unwilling to breastfeed for a number of reasons and we support all women in making the choices which are right for them and their baby. We want every new mum to be able to access the support, information and help they need to not just start breastfeeding if they want to but to continue nursing their child for as long as they want.
The UK-wide Infant Feeding Survey, carried out in 2010, found 81 per cent of new mums started breastfeeding their newborn baby. However, just 24 per cent of mums in England were exclusively breastfeeding by the time their baby was six weeks old, suggesting more needs to be done to support nursing mothers in these first few weeks. Just one in 100 mums were still exclusively breastfeeding their baby at six months in line with World Health Organization recommendations. However, 34 per cent were still giving their baby some breastmilk at six months.
There are many reasons women may stop breastfeeding before they are ready. These include suffering pain and discomfort due to latching issues, worries about milk supply and baby’s weight gain, unresolved medical issues like tongue tie, which can make it difficult for baby to feed effectively, social pressure from others and embarrassment about feeding in public. Many mums simply don’t realise that it is normal for a breastfeeding baby to feed little and often and believe there must be a problem if there little one seems constantly hungry.
Stylish Mum was created because we recognised feeding in public was a barrier to breastfeeding for many women. We knew many women wanted to be able to feed their little ones discreetly and without drawing attention to themselves. We also found that the options when it came breastfeeding-friendly fashion were very limited and mums were usually stuck wearing maternity clothes for many months after giving birth. Our clothes are designed to look good and be comfortable so women can feel and look like themselves while they are breastfeeding such as in the breastfeeding hoodies above.
So why is breastfeeding so important?
There are so many great things about breastfeeding, it is almost impossible to list them all. But here are some of the key benefits for you and your baby.
Breastmilk is tailored to meet the exact needs of your baby.
Your milk changes over time to match your little one’s developmental needs. The colostrum your body produces in the first few days of your baby’s life is filled with immune boosters to protect them from illness as well as protein and potassium. This milk then gradually changes to focus on giving your little one all the nutrients they need to grow and gain weight. Breast milk is so responsive that it becomes more watery in hot weather to ensure your baby is getting the hydration they need. Researchers also believe that when babies are unwell, their saliva sends a signal to their mother’s body to produce milk loaded with the antibodies needed to fight off the illness.
You can breastfeed anywhere
One major advantage of breastfeeding is that you can do it anywhere and at any time. You don’t need to worry about packing or preparing bottles or planning ahead. So long as you are with your baby, you will have everything they need. Our Stylish Mum clothes are designed to help women feel comfortable feeding their baby whenever and wherever they happen to be when their little one is hungry.
Time to bond with your baby
Breastfeeding forces you to take time out and spend some quality one-to-one time with your baby. Nursing is calming for both of you and stimulates the release of oxytocin from the brain. Often referred to as the love hormone, oxytocin helps with the bonding process, strengthens feelings of love and reduces anxiety. Breastfeeding is also an effective way of calming and comforting a baby and toddler when they are upset.
Reduces the risk of illness for both of you
Studies show that breastfeeding reduces the risk of your baby developing allergies, respiratory illnesses, ear infections and gastro-intestinal issues. It has also been found to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and childhood leukaemia. It also has health benefits for you too. It reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and both breast and ovarian cancer in the future.
It’s free and eco-friendly
There are no real costs involved with breastfeeding itself other than making sure you are eating well yourself. Tubs of formula milk, bottles and sterilisers can all be expensive so it is possible to make significant savings. There is also no waste or packaging to worry about so it is great for the environment too.
It’s great for toddlers too
There’s no reason to stop breastfeeding before you and your child are ready. The benefits of breast milk carry on when your little one is a toddler and beyond. Breastfeeding can continue alongside a normal diet of solid foods and your milk is packed with antibodies and nutrients to boost your child’s health. It is also very calming and comforting for children and can make them feel better when they are feeling ill, upset or tired.
If you’re struggling, get help.
Whatever stage you are at of your breastfeeding journey, there is help and support available if you are struggling. You can ask your midwife or health visitor for advice and some areas have dedicated infant feeding support teams you can be referred to.
There are also a number of national helplines you can call:
National Breastfeeding Helpline – 0300 100 0212 (9.30am to 9.30pm)
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers – 0300 330 5453 (9.30am to 10.30pm)
La Leche League – 0345 120 2918 (8am to 11pm)
NCT – 0300 330 0700 (8am to midnight)Samaritans 116 123 (24 hours)
Or if you just want a friendly chat please do get in touch with us via our social media - we are a mum run brand and have created a wonderful supportive community group on Facebook or check out our breastfeeding blog where you can read about different mums experiences of breastfeeding.
We are also on Instagram @stylish_mum1