How you feed your baby is a personal choice. Your decision might be based on a number of things like how you were fed, advice from professionals or what you’ve seen your friends and family do. It can also be influenced by how you are feeling in yourself, your body-image, or your relationships.
Some mums who experience a perinatal mental illness worry that they won’t be able to continue to breastfeed if they take medication.
However, with the right support and advice it is usually possible to use medication that is compatible with breastfeeding, if that’s what you want to do.
How you feed your baby may have an effect on your mental health. Breastfeeding releases hormones which can help reduce stress, and some mums report it can reduce the symptoms of postnatal depression.
Others, however, feel that breastfeeding can make feelings of depression or anxiety worse, particularly if they are experiencing discomfort or pain when feeding, or are worried about their milk supply.
You might feel a pressure from society or social media about how to feed your baby. You may feel pressured to breastfeed, or guilty and judged about formula feeding. You might feel isolated because you are nervous about breastfeeding in public or stop breastfeeding before you want to because you can’t get the right support.
Whether you choose to breastfeed, formula feed, or do a bit of both, there is lots of support out there! You should be able to discuss your options with your GP, midwife or health visitor, feel listened to and respected, and able to make an informed decision.
Breastfeeding and bottle feeding advice
National Childbirth Trust (NCT) Feeding Support Line: 0300 330 0700 (open every day 8am to midnight)
La Leche League
How to make up baby formula
Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend Chatbot on Facebook – If you have any breastfeeding questions you can get 24/7 information and advice from Start4Life’s Breastfeeding Friend chatbot (via Facebook Messenger)
A webchat service is available from the Breastfeeding Network
Best Beginnings information and videos to support breastfeeding
Attaching your baby to the breast video
Medication and breast milk information