Breastfeeding is a great way to get your baby off to the best start. Find out about the benefits and the local support available.

Breastfeeding benefits

  • Breast milk is the best food your baby can have. It's tailor-made for your baby and gives them all the nutrients they need in their first six months.
  • Breast milk boosts your baby's ability to fight illness and infection.
  • Breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and burns about 500 calories a day.
  • Breastfeeding is a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your baby.

Local services and support

You can find information on the breastfeeding support groups in your area on the breastfeeding support map.

View our breastfeeding support map

We provide breastfeeding support groups to families across the county. The groups offer a welcoming environment for new and expectant mums to meet other breastfeeding mums and form a social network, and help with breastfeeding issues. 

Midwives, health visitors and children's centre staff have been trained and are available to offer support and information to families across North Yorkshire. If you require support and information about any aspect of feeding your baby please speak to your midwife during pregnancy or in the early days after your baby is born, or ask your health visitor who will be happy to help.

Breastfeeding friendly venues award

Breastfeeding is great value for mums, babies and the environment, but many women feel nervous about breastfeeding out and about, and this can mean they choose not to breastfeed or that they stop breastfeeding before they want to.

The breastfeeding friendly venues award has been developed to help identify public places in North Yorkshire that offer a good level of facilities and welcome breastfeeding mothers. A successful pilot award scheme was launched in the Selby area in January 2018. The scheme was rolled out in Harrogate in July 2019. There are plans to introduce the Award in other areas of the county in the near future.

See our map of breastfeeding friendly venues in the North Yorkshire here.

Other useful breastfeeding information

You don’t need to stop breastfeeding because you are returning to work or study. In fact, continuing to breastfeed helps to keep the close relationship you’ve built with your baby when you are separated from each other for longer periods, and can provide your baby with extra comfort and security for as long as you both want. Many women find ways to continue breastfeeding their baby. Some suggestions of things to consider are to:

  • have childcare close to your work or college, so that you can breastfeed during breaks or before and after work;
  • breastfeed at home and express milk (taking milk from your breast by hand or using a pump) so that your baby’s carer can feed your baby while you are at work or study;
  • combine breastfeeding and formula feeding so your baby’s carer can give your baby infant formula while you are at work or study; and
  • try to get your baby used to taking expressed milk from a bottle or cup before you go back to work or study. 

It is a good idea to let your employer or course provider know if you will be breastfeeding on return to work or study. This is so that they can assess any health and safety risks. 

Although employers are not required by law to accommodate breastfeeding mothers, your employer should make sure you don't feel unfairly treated because you are breastfeeding. In accordance with the Health and Safety Executive it is good practice for employers to:

  • offer facilities to rest and time to express;
  • discuss flexible working hours;
  • discuss availability of a private space;
  • discuss the possibility of feeding baby during breaks; and
  • discuss availability of onsite childcare.

There is more information in this leaflet about breastfeeding after returning to work or study leaflet from the Department of Health.

If you have specific questions about medications or treatments, please message the Drugs in Breastmilk information service facebook page, or email druginformation@breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk

Through the Baby Friendly Initiative Accreditation, local services are demonstrating a commitment to promoting and supporting breastfeeding and strengthening mother-baby and family relationships, which is important for all babies, not only those who are breastfed.

Along with the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, we achieved joint Stage 3 UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Accreditation for our 0-5 health visiting service and 0-19 Early Help Service (children's centres) in April 2019.