woman breastfeeding baby

Breastfeeding: A message from your baby

Baby's first year

This is how it is for me when you breastfeed

When you breastfeed me, you make me feel secure and safe. I love being close to you, feeling the warmth of your body and laying skin-to-skin against you.  

I look up at your face and you look down at me, we sometimes hold eye contact. I see you smiling and you speak to me in soft, gentle tones. This is very comforting and reassuring for me and I try to respond to you in my own little baby way.  

 When we do this, we both release a ‘feel good’ hormone called oxytocin. It’s our ‘love’ hormone, and it encourages our bonding and attachment process. You may have heard people talk about this. 

Why our bond is important

It is important for me that we have a very strong bond as this helps me to grow and develop in all respects: 

  • Physically 
  • Mentally 
  • Emotionally  
Mother breastfeeding baby

A good bond will actually help my brain to grow! When oxytocin is released into our bodies, it makes us both feel good because it is one of our ‘happy’ hormones.  

This is good for both of us but especially good for you after you have given birth to me. Your body produces more milk, which can make learning how to breastfeed easier for me.  

I prefer it when you use a baby-led approach to feeding me, by looking for my feeding cues and responding to me. This means I get food when I need it, and I don’t have to wait for the clock.  

It also teaches me to develop my skills in letting people know what my needs are. Knowing that they will then respond to me and meet those needs: 

  • Whether I need food 
  • A nappy change  
  • A sleep  
  • A cuddle  

This helps me feel safe, allows me to ‘trust’, and builds on the bonding and attachment process. 

How breastfeeding helps us both 

Breastfeeding is a fantastic way of keeping me healthy and will support my immune system. This will continue whilst I am a baby, but also as I grow and develop through my childhood and then into my adulthood.  

In the first 3 days, I will feed with the first type of liquid your body produces for me, through your breast. This is called 'colostrum' and is different from regular breast milk. It has much less volume but is much thicker and far more concentrated. This is like the ‘Gold standard’ for my immune system. It sets up my immunity for the whole of my life, so it is important that I receive this.  

Your milk will come in on about day 3, and I will do my best to take this. Amazing things happen every time you put me on your breast. My saliva sends messages to your brain to tell you what sort of milk I need. Your milk will change at every feed according to what my saliva tells your body to do. 

Even more amazing, is what happens if I am exposed to any germs, e.g. someone sneezes near me. My saliva will send a message to your body. In response, you will produce milk with specific antibodies to fight that germ. Isn’t that incredible! 

The milk I receive will change all the time according to my health and developmental needs. When I feed, the first part of my food is all about quenching my thirst and keeping me hydrated. Your breast milk is: 

  • 70% water  
  • 30% fat and other nutrients 

As the feed continues, I start to feed on some of the fattier milk, this is the milk that will help me to grow and put on weight.

Breast milk is natural and designed for me, so it gives me everything I need for the first 6 months of my life. This helps both my body and my brain to grow at a steady rate. It is good for my tummy as well, so I tend to be less windy and constipated.

This also means I do not need water top-ups. For you and my family, there is no need to make bottles in the middle of the night, and no need to sterilise equipment, etc. 

Best of all, it is free and on tap! 

It is also good for your health as it: 

  • Helps your uterus contract, helping you recover from labour.  
  • Helps regulate your hormones and gives you doses of the positive hormone oxytocin. This can help when you experience any days feeling low post-birth.  
  • Helps you bond with me which will help you when you are feeling very tired.  
  • Can sometimes support weight loss, or at least allow you a few food treats. I am very hungry and you will burn extra calories feeding me.  

It also reduces the risks of future diseases such as: 

  • Breast and ovarian cancer. 
  • Osteoporosis (weak bones) 
  • Cardiovascular (heart and blood) 
  • Obesity (excess body fat) 
  • Dementia (memory)

The more you breastfeed me, the greater the benefits. 

In the beginning 

I love to breastfeed, but I am very new at this. I will need lots of time and patience to try and understand what I am supposed to do. These videos may help you to understand a bit more: ​​​​​​

It’s going to take me a while, probably several weeks and lots of help and perseverance from you, to understand:  

  • How I need to be positioned against your breast  
  • Where I need to put my head and at what angle  
  • How I open my mouth wide enough to get hold of a big mouthful of breast  
  • How to get my sucking technique just right 

It’s important that you and I get lots of practice. This will: 

  • Make it easy for you to feed me without discomfort  
  • Encourage the milk supply so I have plenty to eat when I want it  
  • Feed me little and often because my tummy is very small and I can’t take too much at once 
  • Give me the time I need to perfect my technique

Our family and friends

You may have a partner, co-parent, family, or friends who are going to support you. They can help look after me, you, and the house so you can focus on getting our feeding well established.  

Our family and friends will play a vital role in this being a success. They might not be feeding me, but they can help nurture me. This will take the pressure off you, so you can rest between feeds. They can help you look after my other needs such as:

  • Skin-to-skin contact 
  • Cuddles 
  • Helping me go to sleep 
  • Changing my nappies 
  • Giving me baths or a massage  

There are so many ways that they can also bond with me! 


When you are considering whether to breastfeed me or not, remember it helps me: 

  • Physically: It helps me grow at a steady rate and have a stronger immune system that will last my whole life, and it reduces the risk of many short-term and long-term health issues. 

  • Mentally: It grows my brain. It’s that simple! 

  • Emotionally: Your bond with me makes me feel safe, secure and nurtured. This leads to me having better levels of confidence and a higher self-esteem as I grow and develop.  

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