Breast milk can protect against disease
Breast milk protects your baby against certain diseases.
Breastfeeding can also reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Baby formula can be a substitute for breast milk
Some people cannot or do not want to breastfeed. In such case, the baby can be given baby formula.
This is made to resemble breast milk as closely as possible.
Until what age should a baby breastfeed?
For the first six months, your baby should be given only breast milk or formula.
After six months, you can start giving your baby small amounts of food. Continue feeding them with breast milk or formula in parallel to this until your baby is at least one year old.
Starting to nurse a newborn baby
When your baby is a newborn, it is a good idea to hold them skin-to-skin.
Your baby may start to search for the breast on their own. Some babies may need a little help.
The first milk that comes is called colostrum. It is especially rich in nutrients.
It may take time to get started breastfeeding
It can sometimes take a few days for breastfeeding to get started. It may also take some time for the baby to learn to suckle in a way that works well.
The baby needs to latch on well
The baby needs to open their mouth wide and latch on to both the nipple and areola. The areola is the area around the nipple. This allows the baby to get enough milk. It also reduces the risk of you developing problems when breastfeeding.
How to tell when your baby has latched on well:
- Your baby needs to have as much of the areola as possible in their mouth.
- Your nipple looks the same after your baby has suckled.
- Your baby's lips are spread wide.
You may need to hand-express milk
If you are having trouble getting started with breastfeeding, you may need to hand-express milk or use a breast pump. Your baby may also need baby formula.
The staff at the BB ward (maternity ward) can show you how to hand-express milk or use a breast pump.
You can give your baby breast milk or formula with a spoon, cup or mug.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough?
Most babies show when they are satisfied and do not want any more.
Here is how you can tell whether your baby is getting enough breast milk:
- Your baby is alert.
- Your baby wakes up on their own and wants to suckle the breast.
- Your baby seems happy after nursing.
- Your baby gains weight. Your baby's weight will be checked at the children's health centre (BVC).
- Your baby pees so much that you have to change their nappy at least six times a day.
- Your baby's poo changes colour from black to yellow during the first week.
Advice and support
It may take some time to get started with breastfeeding and make it work smoothly. When this happens, it is good to have support, both from loved ones and healthcare professionals.
In the first week after the baby is born, you can contact BB.
After this, you can contact one of the following clinics:
- a midwifery clinic (barnmorskemottagning)
- a lactation support clinic, if one is available where you live.
Get help from an interpreter
You can get help from an interpreter if you do not speak Swedish.
Call 1177 for advice
Call the 1177 helpline if you need advice on what to do. Your call will be answered by a nurse. The nurse can speak both Swedish and English. Help is sometimes available in other languages. Call +46 771 11 77 00 if you are calling from a phone with a foreign number.