Getting support when you breastfeed

Breast milk is both healthy food and natural medicine for your baby. Breastfeeding is a skill you learn over time. A mother and her baby usually take a few weeks to get used to breastfeeding. Your family, friends and the baby’s father can support and help you when you’re breastfeeding.

How the baby’s father can support your breastfeeding

In the first few months, breastfeeding is time consuming for the mother as you need to offer your baby the breast between eight and 10 times a day. The father can’t feed your baby directly, but can still be very involved by helping you and caring for your baby.

The father can:

  • make sure you and your baby are comfortable while feeding
  • bring you a healthy snack and drink
  • do housework and cook meals
  • change nappies and bath your baby

Download the leaflet on how fathers can help with breastfeeding

Feeding your baby a bottle

After the first few weeks, when you and your baby are used to breastfeeding, the father can feed your baby with a bottle. Give your baby your expressed breast milk because it’s better than formula milk.

It’s important to wait until your baby is breastfeeding well before giving a bottle feed. Babies can get confused between feeding on the breast and sucking from a bottle.

Help with breastfeeding problems

If you are having problems breastfeeding, you can get help from health professionals in hospital or at home and support from local breastfeeding groups.

In hospital after the birth, your midwife can give you practical advice about breastfeeding. They can also visit you at home in the first month. After this, your health visitor will give you information and reassurance about breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding counsellors

Voluntary breastfeeding counsellors can give you telephone advice about breastfeeding problems.

Breastfeeding peer support

In some areas, new mothers can talk to a breastfeeding peer supporter. They are mothers who breastfed their babies, want to help other mothers and have had training.

  • Mum-to-Mum: 028 9504 4246 (Belfast Trust area)
  • Mid-Ulster Mums: 028 8676 9994
  • Mums 4 Mums: 028 2827 6044 (Larne area)
  • Gold MUMS: 07801 413 576 

Use the interactive map below to search for breastfeeding support groups in your area.

Breastfeeding in public places

Breastfeeding Welcome Here

Some cafes, restaurants, shops and other businesses display a ‘Breastfeeding welcome here’ sticker in their window. 

As members of the Breastfeeding welcome here scheme, they agree:

  • breastfeeding is acceptable in all areas of their premises that are open to the public
  • they won’t ask a mother breastfeeding in a public area to stop or move
  • all staff members will be aware of scheme membership and support breastfeeding mothers on their premises
  • to display the ‘Breastfeeding welcome here’ window sticker and scheme membership certificate

Use the interactive map below to search for breastfeeding friendly businesses near you.

Breastfeeding Locations