What happens in your baby’s first years has a big effect on how healthy he or she will be in the future.

Mum’s milk gives your baby all the nutrients he or she needs for around the first six months of life – it’s important beyond six months too. Your milk helps to protect your baby from infections and other diseases, and as a mum, it also reduces your chances of getting some illnesses later in life.

Breastfeeding also helps you and your baby to get closer – physically and emotionally. So while you are feeding your baby, the bond between you grows stronger.

Infant formula is made from cows milk and other ingredients. It doesn’t contain the ingredients that help protect your baby from infection and disease. Only your body can make those.

Benefits of breastfeeding and frequently asked questions

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for around the first six months. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other foods will help them continue to grow and develop and receive protection from illness.

Baby Feeding Cues

When your baby is hungry they may:

  • get restless
  • suck their fist or fingers
  • make murmuring sounds
  • turn their head and open their mouth – rooting

It’s best to try and feed your baby during these early feeding cues as a crying baby is difficult to feed.

NHS – Breastfeeding the first few days

Breastfeeding Support

Doncaster Health Visiting offers you a range of support including advice on positioning, attachment, hand expressing and assisting you and your family to continue to breastfeed for as long as planned.

Sometimes more interventions are required if problems occur. Your health visitor can refer you to the Doncaster Specialist Breastfeeding Team.

Click on to the below for the Breast Feeding Infographic for breastfeeding support across Doncaster

Download the Breast Feeding Infographic for breastfeeding support across Doncaster

Breast Start Groups

Doncaster’s Breast Start Groups and First Friends Groups offer mums and mums-to-be a strong support network in an informal, relaxed, friendly environment and promotes breastfeeding as the best way to feed your baby. Practical advice, reassurance and support on breastfeeding are available from health professionals and trained peer supporters. These groups are accessible to all mums who would like an additional support network when breastfeeding.


Common breastfeeding worries and problems

Many mums worry that their babies are not getting enough milk. There are some signs that breastfeeding is going well, which can help to reassure parents. You can also discuss any worries with your health visiting team, who can offer support at home.

iHV Top Tips for Parents – Common worries and problems

Expressing and storing breast milk

Watch: Baby Friendly Initiative video

You might want to express your breast milk to feed your baby, boost your milk supply or to help with blocked ducts or mastitis. Hand expressing means using your hands to remove milk from your breasts. Expressing breast milk by hand is a useful method that all breastfeeding mothers will benefit from, even if you already have a breast pump.


Watch: Hand Expression Demonstration Video


Doncaster Health Visiting service offers a short term breast pump loan scheme to support parents to continue to feed for as long as they planned. Telephone 0300 021 8997 or speak to your health visitor for more information about our breast pump loan scheme and if you are eligible for a referral.

What’s in a Breastfeed

If you are wondering what a breastfeed looks like take a look at this short video clip

Introducing formula milk

Most infant formula is modified cow’s milk. There are many different types of formula to choose from and they can be purchased in either ready to feed liquid or powdered form, which will need to be made up with water which has been boiled.

iHV Top Tips for Parents – Introducing formula milk

Download the NHS Start for Life – A guide to bottle feeding

When your baby cries during feeds or has colic

If your baby cries excessively with no signs of a condition or illness, he or she may have colic. This will be temporary but can be tiring and difficult to cope with. This is a time

when you may benefit from support. Doncaster health visiting service can provide advice and support. Infant massage can also help to reduce the symptoms of colic.

Helpful breastfeeding contact numbers

  • Doncaster Breast feeding Helpline: 0300 021 8997
  • National Breastfeeding Helpline: 0300 021 8997
  • Breastfeeding Network (BFN) Supporter Line: 0300 100 0210
  • La Leche League Breastfeeding Helpline: 0845 120 2918 or 0345 120 2918
  • National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Breastfeeding Helpline: 0300 330 0771

Healthy Start – Application Form