Breastmilk is the natural food for your baby. The longer the babies are fed on breastmilk, the greater the benefits for the health of mothers and babies. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) recommendation, babies should be breastfed exclusively in the first six months and continue to have breastmilk together with solid food in their diet until two years old or above.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

  • Breastmilk provides all the essential nutrients that meet the baby’s needs in the first 6 months of life
  • The proteins in breastmilk are easily digested and absorbed
  • Breastmilk contains many antibodies and immunoglobulins, which help to enhance the immunity of the baby, and reduce the chance of having allergic conditions and infections
  • During breastfeeding, the close and intimate contact between the mother and baby greatly enhances mother-infant bonding
  • Breastfeeding is more hygienic, convenient, economical and environmentally friendly than bottle feeding

How to Start

  1. Preparation During Pregnancy
    • Learn more about breastfeeding from various means
    • Discuss with medical staff and family members about your choice to feed your baby
    • Participate in antenatal discussion on infant feeding conducted in Maternal and Child Health Centre and antenatal breastfeeding talk/workshop conducted by your hospital
  2. Grasp the “Golden Hour” of Skin-to-skin Contact
    • Suckling is the basic instinct of newborn babies. The first hour after birth is the golden time for your baby to try breastfeed as he is in the most alert state and the sucking reflex is the strongest at that time
    • Put the baby to your chest after drying his body with a towel immediately after birth. This allows direct skin-to-skin contact and facilitates him to find your breasts and enjoy the first taste of the colostrum
    • Skin-to-skin contact can give the baby emotional security and warmth and help to stabilise his heartbeat and breathing. You can also enjoy the special bonding between you and your baby

Tips of Success

  1. Rooming In
    • Let your baby sleeps in a cot by your bed so you can observe his needs easily and respond readily
  2. Feeding on demand
    • Let your baby take the lead in feeding. Most newborns require frequent feeding of up to 8-12 times a day in the first month
  3. Family Support
    • Research showed women with support from their partners and families being able to continue breastfeeding for six weeks is 8.5 times that of those without support
  4. Seek Medical Help
    • Seek help from health professionals when you are in doubt

When you consider feeding your baby with formula milk, you should be aware of followings:

  • Formula milk does not provide babies with any antibodies. Powdered infant formula is not a sterile product. Inappropriate preparation and handling may put the baby at risk of infection
  • Infant formula is costly. Parents need to spend a considerable sum on the milk powder
  • Your body will make less breastmilk once you start to feed your baby with formula milk. You may find it difficult to switch back to breastfeeding

Please read “Love, starts from breastfeeding” or contact health professionals for more information.