A third of mothers in the UK never have a go at breastfeeding, and recent reports claiming that the benefits have been overblown provide little encouragement. It's true that many studies can only show an association, rather than absolute proof that breastfeeding prevents such things as ear, gut and respiratory infections in babies. But there's no doubt we were given breasts for a reason (and formula is more expensive).
✤ Some babies start rooting for the breast, open-mouthed, immediately, but others don't. As soon as your baby is born, make skin to skin contact and ease him or her towards your breast. Your first milk, colostrum, looks thin but is packed full of antibodies. The heavy-duty milk comes after a few days.
✤ Relax, get comfortable and ensure your back is supported. Hold your baby's neck and upper back but allow it to latch on itself. If the head is bobbing around, direct it gently so the mouth is over your nipple. Squeeze a little milk towards the mouth, but don't splatter it all over the baby's face.
✤ Babies need to take quite a lot of nipple in their mouths, otherwise they can't suck properly. This will cause sore nipples.
✤ Ignore people who ask if you have got enough milk. Babies naturally lose weight in their first fortnight, but resist the pressure to supplement with formula as this will affect your milk production, which works on a supply and demand basis.
✤ If you don't take to it, formula feeding is not the work of the devil. I was bottle fed and I'm fine thanks.