Couples offered special sessions to learn about breast-feeding before their baby is born

Couples preparing for the arrival of their baby are being invited to a special session to help them give their child the best start in life through breast-feeding.

Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is offering the two-hour session once a month to help women from Hull and the East Riding who are planning to breast feed their babies.

Midwives Anna Lee-Hughes and Pippa Stott, the trust’s Infant Feeding Co-ordinators, show women and their partners how to position and attach their babies correctly and how to recognise when breastfeeding is going well during the sessions.

They also introduce themselves as Lactation Consultants, able to offer advice and support if women encounter any difficulties with feeding once their babies are born.

Anna Lee-Hughes said: “If more people know about positioning a baby and understanding when the babies are getting enough, the better they are going to be at feeding effectively once they have had their babies.

“It’s also important that partners and other family members understand the importance of correct positioning and how to support the woman while she is breast-feeding.

“As Lactation Consultants, we are introducing ourselves early so women know they can come to us for help and support if they are having specific problems.”

Breast milk provides health benefits for babies and their mothers which cannot be manufactured so are not present in formula milk. These include antibodies, vital for fighting infection, growth factors, hormones and anti-viral, anti-allergen and anti-parasitic properties to protect your child and give them the healthiest possible start to life.

Breast milk protects babies against serious infections and stomach bugs, urine infections and ear infections. Studies show babies who are breast-fed are less likely to have tooth decay or be overweight when they are older and are less likely to be admitted to hospital with asthma.

Breast-fed babies also have immune systems which are better protected against infection and inflammation.

Women are being encouraged to book the sessions through the Hey Baby online service at the same time as they book their parent education classes.

The optional fourth session is also open to women who have other children but may be considering breast-feeding for the first time.

The trust achieved Unicef Baby Friendly re-accreditation for its work on infant feeding, supporting mothers who choose to either breast or bottle-feed their babies. The organisation is now working towards the gold standard, which recognises the highest possible standards of care.