Stories from Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding Families

These stories were collected by Helen Calvert, whose son David was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He first latched to the breast at 4 weeks old, and breastfed into toddlerhood and beyond! Her passion for breastfeeding in the context of complex medical problems drove her to set up a website and Twitter hashtag campaign (#hospitalbreastfeeding). As part of her campaign, she collected the following stories from other families. Helen is moving her energies to new pastures and kindly chose HIFN as the continuing forum for these powerful voices. To share your story, please email us

Also have a look at this beautiful video about breastfeeding children with life-threatening illnesses - "Breastfeeding The Brave"

Louise & Percy

Breastfeeding a child with a congenital heart defect

Anna & Erin

Expressing for a baby with a congenital heart defect


Breastfeeding and Kawasaki's disease

Jenny & Jess

Breastfeeding a baby with slow weight gain

Michelle & Beau

Breastfeeding a baby with slow weight gain


Breastfeeding when Mum is admitted to hospital

Jennifer & Lucy

Breastfeeding when Mum is admitted to hospital

Jennett & Clara

Breastfeeding when Mum is admitted to hospital

Gemma & Martha

Why I chose not to breastfeed with congenital heart disease


Breastfeeding a baby with jaundice

Sarah & Beth

Breastfeeding a baby undergoing surgery

Zoe & Dexter

Breastfeeding a baby with Down Syndrome


Breastfeeding a baby with DiGeorge Syndrome


Share your story of breastfeeding in a hospital setting


Share your story of breastfeeding in a hospital setting


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/chestfeeding 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. We do not always use additive language - for example when using infographics created by other organisations or referring to scientific research that didn't use additive language as this may not generalisable. There is a much more detailed description of the additive approach here.

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