Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby, with important benefits for both mother and baby. We therefore encourage and support you to breastfeed your baby. We also support the right of parents to make informed choices about infant feeding and our staff will support you in your decisions.
This Call to Action video below from Unicef explains why we are passionate about supporting new families giving babies the best start.
Building Close and loving relationships
The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months and continued breastfeeding alongside other foods for at the first two years and beyond.
The first few weeks can be the most difficult when you are establishing breastfeeding. Please use the tabs below for further help, tips and support. You might find it helpful to sign up to the fast, friendly, anytime, trusted NHS advice on breastfeeding. Click Breastfeeding Friend Chatbox to sign up.
Breastfeeding will give your baby the best start in life. However, any amount of your breastmilk will always be good for your baby's health and wellbeing.
Some of the health outcomes of human milk
Baby Friendly Initiative | Hand expression
This simple formula guide goes through how to choose an infant formula as well as what is meant by responsive bottle feeding.
First Steps Nutrition Trust is an independent public health nutrition charity that provides information and resources to support eating well from pre-conception to five years. View their useful, downloadable leaflets on infant formula.
You may also find the below Unicef baby friendly video clip on building close and loving relationships with your baby helpful.
Also look at the information below on how to bottle feed in a way that is gentle, responds to your baby's cues; encourages certain oral skills; and helps the development of a close relationship between you and your baby.
Bottle feeding advice
Skin to skin
Skin to skin contact is when the baby is wearing nothing or just a nappy and is laid against your skin in the chest area, a blanket or towel is laid over you both or baby can be tucked in under your top. It is important for all babies because it:
- Keeps baby warm
- Calms baby's heartbeat
- Reduces mum and baby's stress levels
- Regulates baby's breathing
- Helps with baby's first feed
We'll encourage you to have skin contact for as long as you want after birth and often in the early days as it has so many benefits.
We'll help you hold your baby in skin contact safely with your baby's neck straight and head upright so your baby can breathe easily. You also need to make sure you can see your baby's face so you can check s/he's OK.
Baby wearing (slings)
Wearing a sling to carry your baby or infant has many positive effects for the carer and the baby.
All babies have needs for comfort, closeness and food, and responding to these needs makes babies feel safe, loved and secure. Keep your baby close and enjoy spending time with her.
Talk and sing to her, and take time to pause and listen for her to copy you and respond to you. Hold her in skin contact, try carrying her in a sling and don't leave her to cry.
Responding to her needs in this way will help her grow into a secure, confident toddler and child, ready to cope with temporary separation from you (e.g. when she goes to nursery or when you go to work) and ready to keep learning and growing!
Our local leaflets provide you with more information about the benefits of wearing a sling whilst in hospital.
First Steps Nutrition Trust - is an independent public health nutrition charity that provides information and resources to support eating well from pre-conception to five years.