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Barwon Health / Maternity Services

(03) 4215 2060

About breastfeeding

Your breasts begin to prepare to feed your baby early on in your pregnancy.

From week six of pregnancy they may begin to feel fuller, heavier and more sensitive. Not all breast tissue is involved in making milk as much of it is fat and supporting tissue, so the size of your breast doesn’t equal your ability to breastfeed.

Later on in your pregnancy, you may notice the nipple and areola (the area around your nipple) becoming darker. Some women also experience leaking of colostrum from the nipple during late pregnancy.

How will I benefit from breastfeeding?

Your milk is perfect and uniquely made for your growing baby’s needs. Giving your milk to your baby makes a big difference to both your baby’s health and your health. And every day counts; the longer you feed your baby mum’s milk, the more they benefit. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you exclusively breastfeed up to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with the introduction of solid foods up to two years of age or beyond.

Breastfeeding is emotionally and physically rewarding and it can help enhance the bond between you and your baby. It also helps you by keeping your uterus contracted and reducing bleeding. It can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight. Breastfeeding can reduce your risk of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and other illness later in life.

Babies who are not breastfed have an increased chance of:

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
  • Chest infections and having to go to hospital as a result
  • Ear infections
  • Being fussy about new foods
  • Being constipated
  • Being obese which means they are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
  • Developing eczema

Last Modified: Thursday, 25 July 2019