North East Lincolnshire Council

Breastfeeding support

Welcome to the breastfeeding support where you will find important information about breastfeeding in North East Lincolnshire.

Breastfeeding gives your baby or babies the best start in life. The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life. Breast milk is very different to formula milk, it is highly recommended because the milk that a baby receives when breastfeeding is more than just a food; it contains nutrients, enzymes, antibodies and other properties that help protect babies from infection and diseases.

The milk that a baby receives when breastfeeding is especially made to meet the needs of each individual baby. It is easily absorbed, naturally designed and adapts to promote growth and development. Breastfeeding helps protect your baby against a wide range of infections, allergies and diseases, including:

  • Ear infections
  • Gastro-intestinal infections, stomach upsets, diarrhoea
  • Chest infections
  • Urine infections
  • Childhood diabetes
  • Eczema
  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Childhood cancer, coronary heart disease
  • Necrotising Enterocolitis
  • Sudden Infant Death (SIDS)

Links have also been made with:

  • Increased development of the neurological and central nervous system
  • Reduced risk of behavioural problems

Breastfeeding also benefits mothers:

  • It helps protect mothers against ovarian and breast cancer
  • Can help protect against weak bones (osteoporosis) in later life
  • Can help women return to their pre-pregnancy figure faster
  • Can help build a strong relationship and attachment with your baby in the early days

There is an increasing amount of evidence around the benefits of breastfeeding. It is safe, convenient, environmentally friendly, and it is free.

Breastfeeding in North East Lincolnshire

If you want to find out more about breastfeeding and what local support is available please contact your midwife, health visitor, children’s centre or voluntary peer support service. Your GP may also be able to offer you support and information.

If you have any concerns about feeding your child or your child’s health, growth or development in general please contact your midwife, health visitor or GP.

If you need to return to work after having your baby, you don’t necessarily have to stop breastfeeding. Speak to your midwife or health visitor about expressing and storing milk. Your employer will also need to be informed in advance.

Healthy Start is a government scheme where families can get free vouchers towards milk, plain, fresh and frozen vegetables and can also get free vitamins. You could qualify if you receive benefits, or are pregnant and under 18 years old. To find out more or to find out if you are eligible please speak to your Midwife or Health Visitor, or visit the Healthy Start website.

How to breastfeed

One of the most important things to remember about breastfeeding is that the majority of women can do it! It is important that the baby is positioned and attached so that they are able to feed properly and can get all the milk that they need. Midwifery staff, and later on your Health Visiting team should be there to help. A local peer supporter can also provide support.

For tips on how to breastfeed and signs that your baby is feeding well please see the top tips below. To the right of this page there are some links to Useful Websites. The Best Beginnings website includes the “From Bump to Breast” video that you may find helpful.

Breastfeeding top tips

In the early days after your baby is born, the first milk the baby receives from the mother is called Colostrum. It contains antibodies and vital nutrients which are very important to your baby. Your baby can be placed in skin to skin contact with you (dried and then laid directly onto your chest) straight after birth; this helps regulate their body temperature and heart rate. Skin to skin can have benefits no matter how you choose to feed; however, it can help with breastfeeding because most babies will begin to feed instinctively.

  • You can use a variety of positions to breastfeed; just remember to make yourself comfortable!
  • Make sure baby’s head and body are in a straight line
  • Hold baby close, support their neck and shoulders and make sure baby can move his/her head freely so that they can swallow without any difficulty
  • Baby’s nose should be in line with mother’s nipple. Baby needs to take a mouthful of breast from underneath the nipple so that they are able to attach well
  • If you can see the dark skin around the nipple (areola), there should be more above baby’s top lip than below
  • Baby’s cheeks will be rounded whilst feeding
  • Baby will establish a rhythmic feeding pattern, and may pause every now and again, this is normal
  • Baby will finish the feed and remove themselves from the breast when finished
  • Baby can be offered the second breast and will feed if they are still hungry

If you are experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding please contact your Midwife, Health Visitor and/or GP. Your local family hub will also be able to signpost you for support.

Being responsive to baby can help yours and the baby’s wellbeing:

  • Babies cannot be spoilt; lots of cuddles and being responsive to baby can help with their brain development.
  • Babies have a strong need to be close to their parents. Being responsive to baby’s needs, skin to skin and cuddling baby all help babies feel safe and secure. When babies feel secure they release a hormone called oxytocin, which enriches their growing brain.
  • Having baby close to you can make your own oxytocin levels rise, helping you feel calm, relaxed and to bond with your baby.
  • Smile and talk to your baby, even when you are feeding them. This helps them to be happy and more confident children and eventually adults.
  • However you choose to feed your baby, keep your baby close and look out for the cues they are giving you and always respond to you baby’s needs.

Being responsive to baby poster (PDF)

Peer supporters are volunteer mothers who are or who have successfully breastfed their baby/babies. In North East Lincolnshire these local mums have also had further training so that they can offer women information and support in a variety of settings; such as over the telephone, face to face on postnatal wards, at clinics and at drop in groups.

The peer support volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds. They all bring their own experience, knowledge and enthusiasm and give their free time willingly to provide support. Volunteer mothers are trained to listen, support and offer suggestions in a non-judgemental way. They all appreciate the challenges of being a new parent, particularly in the early days with a new baby.

How do I contact a peer supporter?

Breastfeeding Peer Support Coordinator: 07795318467
Volunteer Peer Support Line: 07923226889

Or contact your local Children’s Centre, Health Visitor or Midwifery team.

How can I become a volunteer peer supporter?

If you are or have successfully breastfed your baby, have some time free to support other mothers and lots of enthusiasm, you may want to consider training to offer voluntary peer support. If you are interested in finding out more about peer support or becoming a peer supporter please contact a local family hub or the Breastfeeding Peer Support Coordinator using the telephone number above.

Vitamins for pregnant women, breast feeding women and children up to 5 years

Even though most people can get all the vitamins they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet, there are certain times in your life when you may not be able to get everything you need from food alone – like when you are planning a pregnancy, when you are pregnant, when you are a new mum or if you are a small child.

More information about the types of vitamins and why they are important on the Healthy Start website.

Healthy Start vitamins for women

These are specifically made for pregnant and breastfeeding women and contain folic acid and vitamins C and D

*The Department of Health now recommends that, all pregnant and breastfeeding women should take a daily supplement of 10 micrograms Vitamin D.  This is to meet mother’s vitamin requirement and also to help build stores for your growing baby.

Healthy Start vitamins drops for babies and children

UK Health Departments recommend that all babies aged from six months onwards should be given a supplement that contains vitamins A, C and D, such as Healthy Start vitamin drops, unless they are drinking 500ml (a pint) of infant formula a day (infant formula has vitamins added to it). You can continue to give young children a supplement containing vitamins A, C and D until they are five years old, as this will help to make sure that they are getting enough of these vitamins. This is especially important when they are learning to eat a variety of foods and if they are fussy eaters.

The Department of Health specifically recommends that all infants and young children aged 6 months to 5 years should be given a Vitamin D supplement (drops).  Breastfed babies may need to take them from one month old if the mother has not taken adequate Vitamin D in pregnancy.  The recommended dose is included in Healthy Start vitamin drops.

Where to buy Healthy Start vitamins

Healthy Start vitamins are therefore suitable for pregnant women, breast feeding women and children up to 5 years.  They can be purchased at low cost from Grimsby Maternity Service,  Antenatal clinics (Diana Princess of Hospital, Women and Children’s Group) and all children’s centres across North East Lincolnshire.  Some women will also be eligible for free vitamins (To find out more or to find out if you are eligible please speak to your Midwife or Health Visitor, or visit the Healthy Start website.

Where can I breastfeed?

Mothers should not be discriminated against for breastfeeding in public under the Equality Act 2010. In order to show that we support mothers to feed whilst out and about in North East Lincolnshire, we have developed the Breastfeeding Welcome Scheme.

‘Breastfeeding Welcome’ is an award scheme developed to make it easier for mums (partners and families) to recognise places where mums might feel comfortable to breastfeed their baby/babies when they are out and about in North East Lincolnshire.

We are working towards North East Lincolnshire being ‘Breastfeeding Friendly’. Why not join our campaign asking for local businesses to become ‘Breastfeeding Welcome’? Being a recognised Breastfeeding Welcome venue or business could be a way of improving customer service and by supporting breastfeeding, businesses will be making a positive contribution to the health of local population of North East Lincolnshire (and it’s visitors).

Examples of some organisations/establishments that have already become a part of the scheme include: Children’s Centres, GP Practices, Cafe’s, Restaurants, Retail Outlets, Libraries, Sports Centres and other community venues that are visited by families.

When successful, venues are sent a certificate and sticker to display in their premises window so that the public will know that they welcome breastfeeding mothers to feed their baby/babies if they need to.

The benefits for businesses include:

  • A good way to get positive free publicity
  • Attracting new custom
  • Improving customer service
  • Supporting the health of the local population of North East Lincolnshire (and it’s visitors)

North East Lincolnshire is encouraging and providing support to women so that they can breastfeed for longer. Studies have shown that babies who are not breastfed have increased risk of developing some infections and diseases in their first year of life.

Breastfeeding welcome scheme information leaflet (PDF)

In order to ensure good practice, North East Lincolnshire hospital and community services have a breastfeeding policy. Read our Joint Breastfeeding Policy (Word Document).

Breast is Best

Infant Feeding Team, Nunsthorpe and Bradley Park Children’s Centre, Sutcliffe Avenue, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN33 1AN

Telephone: 01472 313131

Opening times: Monday to Thursday 8.30 am to 5 pm and Friday 8.30 am to 4.30 pm except bank holidays