The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life and that breastfeeding should continue alongside solid foods for at least the first two years. This is because breastfeeding has lots of amazing benefits for both mums and babies.

Benefits For Baby

  • Breastfeeding is protective; babies who are breastfed are less likely to have tummy upsets like diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Breastfed babies are less prone to allergies
  • Breastmilk contains unique antibodies, hormones and nutrients to help your baby grow and fight off infection
  • Breastfeeding helps brain development · Breastfeeding helps protect your child against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The Lullaby Trust – Safer sleep for babies, Support for families
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from obesity, heart disease or diabetes later in life
  • Breastfeeding is particularly important for premature babies as it can protect them against potentially life-threatening conditions

Benefits For Mum

Breastfeeding reduces risk of certain diseases including:

  • Breast cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis

Breastfeeding also causes the womb to contract, helping it to return to its normal size quickly after birth.

Other Benefits

  • Breastfeeding releases oxytocin, known as ‘the love hormone’, which makes mum feel good and can help bonding with baby
  • Breastfeeding is free!
  • It’s quicker and easier than bottle feeding as it doesn’t require any special equipment or preparation
  • Breastfeeding burns extra calories
  • Breastfeeding carries less risk. Unsafe bottle feeding practices may lead to infections that can affect the baby. Bottles need to be made up in a very precise way to kill bacteria that are present in formula preparations
  • Breastfeeding Benefits the Planet – Breastfeeding needs no manufacturing processes or transportation and has no packaging or recycling implications, Research on breastfeeding and climate change – Baby Friendly Initiative (
  • Breastfed babies need fewer antibiotics (studies show that babies are 5x less likely to be prescribed antibiotics in the first year of life.)
  • Breastfed babies require fewer hospital admissions, which helps reduce demand for our Health Service.

Blackburn With Darwen’s Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding may be natural and come with many benefits, but that doesn’t always mean that it goes smoothly. It’s normal for families to experience difficulties or need some support at any stage of their breastfeeding journey. Some families worry that their baby isn’t getting enough milk or worry that their baby is unsettled and would like to talk to someone to check everything is ok.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of support on offer in Blackburn and Darwen. Midwives, Health Visitors, Children Centre & Family Hub staff and Specialist Lactation Consultants are all available to offer help with infant feeding.

1-1 Support

All Children’s Centres and Family Hub in Blackburn with Darwen have staff that are trained to help parents with breastfeeding and expressing breastmilk. They can also let you know how and where to get further support if you need it. This includes the support from the specialist Lactation Consultants. 01254 585000 Blackburn with Darwen’s Best Start for Life | Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

Lactation Consultants

Our Baby Friendly Team offer one-to-one support to new mums who are experiencing breastfeeding difficulties. The Children’s Centre and Family Hubs staff can help parents access this team if they aren’t able to help with an issue or enquiry.

Support Groups

We have breastfeeding support groups across a range of locations at different days and times, making it easy to find local support. The great thing about our breastfeeding support groups is that not only are trained professionals on hand to offer advice but it’s also an opportunity to meet other mums and make new friends. There’s a group every weekday in different locations in Blackburn and Darwen. There is no need to book, just turn up. If you want more information about the groups, please phone a Children Centre or Family Hub on 01254 585000.

Breast Pump Loan Scheme

BwD mums can access our free Breast Pump Loan Scheme for parents who need specialist support. Contact the Family Hubs and Children Centres for more information: 01254 585000/ Blackburn with Darwen’s Best Start for Life | Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council

Free Sling Library

We also offer free sling loans and guidance to get started with slings and babywearing. Baby loves to be close to mum and this helps with bonding and attachment. West Pennine Slings | Darwen | Facebook

Virtual Support

The Anya App gives parenting and breastfeeding advice, information and videos. 1-1 support is also available. Parents with a Blackburn with Darwen postcode get a free premium subscription; download yours: Download Anya here

Blackburn With Darwen: Breastfeeding Friendly Borough

Blackburn with Darwen has been recognized as a breastfeeding-friendly borough since 2017 and has been awarded UNICEF Gold Baby Friendly Accreditation in acknowledgement of the support and encouragement offered to breastfeeding mums in the area.

We work directly with local shops, cafés and businesses to make sure that our mums feel safe and comfortable when breastfeeding in public. It is a legal right to be able to breastfeed your child in public without restriction. Many of our local businesses, cafes, leisure centres, libraries and museums welcome breastfeeding on their premises. Look out for the Breastfeeding Friendly stickers.

Find out where our borough’s breastfeeding friendly places are here.

If you’d like to find out more about breastfeeding in Blackburn or need help accessing support or services, you can contact your health visitor or Midwife.

Children’s Centre staff are also on hand to help: 01254 585000.

The National Breastfeeding Helpline number is 0300 100 0212 365 days per year, 9.30am – 9.30pm