Human milk provides a baby with perfectly balanced nutrition, which is why both the Department of Health (DoH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life and continued breastfeeding alongside the introduction of appropriate solid foods beyond six months1,2.
Here, you will find all of our content and resources relating to the topic of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding and mental wellbeing: the role of oxytocin, the ‘love hormone’
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The importance of breastmilk and supporting breastfeeding parents
Current breastfeeding practices in the UK
The Department of Health and the World Health Organisation recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond1,2. Despite this recommendation being widely recognised and supported many modern mums either never start or give up breastfeeding before their baby is fully weaned.
Getting the right nutrition during breastfeeding
A healthy, varied diet is important during breastfeeding, and even more nutrients are required than during pregnancy. Women require an extra 330kcal per day (1.4MJ per day) in the first six months of lactation if exclusively breastfeeding, and it is important that the extra energy consumed is nutrient-dense to meet the needs of both the mother and her developing baby.
How to support breastfeeding mothers
This article first appeared in the Journal of Family Health Care www.jfhc.co.uk, and is reproduced with the Journal’s and author’s permission. With the right level of advice and support from health professionals, it is possible to encourage more mothers than ever to breastfeed, believes Dr Sue Battersby, an independent researcher, lecturer and author in infant feeding. Here she offers some vital tips.
What makes human milk’s composition ideal for infants?
Dr Bernd Stahl, R&D Director of Human Milk Research at Nutricia Research, Utrecht, Netherlands, discusses the results of research into the anti-allergenic effect of beneficial bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract of breastfed babies.
Why breastfeeding is best
For most of human history there has been just one source of nutrition for babies before weaning, that is, of course, human breast milk. It provides the most natural and optimal nourishment, containing everything babies need to grow and thrive in the first six months as well as being convenient and completely free. For many years, researchers have been studying breast milk and identifying what makes it optimal. As a result, we know that breastfeeding has a number of important benefits to both mothers and babies.
- http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/infantfeeding_recommendation/en/ [Accessed October 2017]
- UK Department of Health. Infant Feeding Recommendation 2003.