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Episode 3: Breastfeeding

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Bethan, Michael and Peter

Shall I breastfeed?

On the face of it, there's no contest. Breast milk is clearly, definitely, and overwhelmingly the best food for your baby. It has proven health benefits for her and a lot of advantages for you too.

Research shows how breastfeeding is beneficial to both baby and mothers health. Before you leave the hospital you will be given the number of the public health nurse in your area, who can be a great support. Once established breastfeeding is easy and an enjoyable experience for both mother and baby but in the first few days you both will need to get used to the new experience and this may take some time. If necessary or if you experience any problems get help and advise from your midwife, public health nurse, certified lactation consultant, the Irish Childbirth Trust or La Leche League of Ireland. You can also choose to return to the hospital where you delivered but it may be more convenient for someone to come to you.

  • Babies are healthier when they are breastfed because breast milk contains protective substances called antibodies. These antibodies protect your baby against many infections.
  • Breast milk is designed for babies, and it contains all the nutrients your baby needs in correct quantities.
  • Breast milk is freely available and at the right temperature. It is also convenient as there are no feeds to be made up or sterilising of bottles to be done.
  • Your own body care can benefit too as breastfeeding can help loose the extra weight you have gained in pregnancy.


Breastfeeding is without doubt the best way to feed a baby. It is a full-time job for the first 3 weeks then it becomes easier and enjoyable.

Mastitis: Blocked ducts. If they're not cleared, lead to mastitis. You'll notice a red, hot, painful patch in one breast and you might feel a bit unwell. You need to act quickly - keep feeding your baby and experiment with feeding in different positions to ensure that the breast is fully emptied. Encourage some milk out f your breasts before you start a feed to soften your breasts. Do this by massaging behind the nipples. Get lots of rest. Don't think about doing anything but staying with your baby and feeding her. If you don't feel any better within a few hours, go to your G.P because you may need antibiotics to clear the condition up, but you still keep feeding.

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