Some obstetric complications may create extra challenges for the establishment of breastfeeding, and it is particularly important that these mothers receive intensive, expert support and education as soon as the complications are identified - often antenatally. In many cases breastfeeding is likely to have an added positive impact on these mothers and babies, above the usual impact of breastfeeding in all dyads. The effect of a complicated pregnancy or delivery on mental wellbeing must also be considered - if breastfeeding can be supported this may be healing for the family, whereas if it is an added difficulty this adds yet another trauma. The following pages discuss specific complication:

Antenatal complications

Intrapartum complications

Postpartum complications

With thanks to Caitlin Scott for content on these pages @cdescott


Thank you for visiting the Hospital Infant Feeding Network. This website is a repository of relevant knowledge and best practice resources for health professionals. To join the conversation, ask questions and share your experiences please join us on Facebook or Twitter.


We will be running Q&A sessions on various topics, which will be advertised on our social media sites. Please email if you have ideas or want to get more involved. We welcome health professionals passionate about supporting breastfeeding and lactation in the hospital setting to join our steering group, please get in contact if this is you!

You may have noticed that we use 'additive' language on our website to refer to lactation and human milk feeding. This means that we might refer to 'breastfeeding/chestfeeding'. Chestfeeding is a term that some non-binary people use to refer to feeding their child at the chest if the word breast is not congruent with their gender identity. Using additive language helps reduce a feeling of exclusion for non-binary and transgender people, without taking away from the importance of words like breastfeeding and mother. There is a much more detailed description of the additive approach here.

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