How your body prepares to feed your baby

Producing breast milk is a natural process and your body starts to get ready for it during pregnancy.

Changes in your breasts

In early pregnancy, there may be small changes in your breasts as the amount of breast tissue increases for making breast milk. They can feel a bit tender at this time. For many women, these changes are the first signs of pregnancy.

Sometimes you'll notice droplets of milk on your nipples before your baby's born. This is normal.

How you'll feed your baby

While you’re pregnant it’s a good idea to think about how you’ll feed your baby and get some information and advice.

However you decide to feed your baby, there’s lots of support available. Your midwife, health visitor or family nurse can:

  • help you to think about feeding
  • talk to you about what to expect
  • answer your questions

Responsive feeding

Your midwife, family nurse or health visitor will talk to you about responsive feeding. This means taking your baby’s lead on when they want to be fed and stopping when they’re full.

Discussing your plans

You and your partner should discuss how you plan to feed your baby and support each other.

You don’t have to decide until your baby's born. Try and keep an open mind while you’re pregnant and see how things go after your baby's born.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is easy and convenient (with a bit of practice) and helps you lose the extra pregnancy weight.

Mums also tell us they love the special closeness of breastfeeding.

Although you might think breastfeeding would be a natural and easy thing to do, it does take some practice. Your midwife, family nurse and health visitor can give you support and suggestions.

More about breastfeeding

Mum's milk

Human milk has special properties that feed the healthy bacteria and help your baby’s gut and immune system to develop.

Your breast milk:

  • has everything your baby needs to grow and develop well
  • is free and can make a big difference to your family budget
  • helps your baby develop a healthier immune system

Skin-to-skin contact

Skin-to-skin is a lovely way to say hello and to start to get to know each other. Being close to each other like this causes your body to release oxytocin which makes you and your baby calm and relaxed.

More about skin-to-skin contact when you meet your baby for the first time


Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.