Breastmilk is amazing – find out why here

We recommend you feed your baby responsively, whether you are breast or bottle feeding.  Responsive feeding means looking for baby’s feeding cues (rooting, putting fingers in mouth, waking/eye movements).  Holding your baby close, comforting and cuddling increases loving hormones and lowers the stress hormones which is good for your baby’s brain development.

Breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by the Department of Health for the first 6 months of life as it provides the best start for babies. Breastfeeding gives your baby all the nutrients he or she needs to protect them from infection and other diseases. It also reduces your chances of getting some illnesses later in life. Breastfeeding also helps you and your baby get closer both physically and emotionally.

Click on this link to see the UNICEF Baby Friendly leaflet:  Building a Happy Baby

During your pregnancy your midwife should spend time talking with you about breast and artificial (formula) feeding so that you can make an informed decision about how to feed your baby.  You will be given information about the importance of skin to skin and of looking out for your baby’s early feeding cues (wriggling, licking their fingers or fists, rooting, rapid eye movements) which are important regardless of how you feed.

Click   to find out more about breastfeeding your baby:

Once your baby is born the midwives will help you with breastfeeding positioning and attachment.  Breastfeeding is a skill to be learnt by you and your baby and can sometimes take a little time to get the hang of - make sure you ask for as much help and support as possible in the early days – from your midwife, health visitor, infant feeding team, peer supporters, partner, friends, family etc.  Find out what support is available in your area in the way of Breastfeeding Cafes or support groups (see our “Support” page for those in Solihull).

At some point during breastfeeding, many mothers may choose or need to express their milk. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • to help prevent or relieve any breast engorgement, blocked ducts or mastitis
  • to provide her baby with breastmilk if he or she is in hospital and is unable to breastfeed directly
  • to increase the milk supply
  • if she is returning to work

Hand expressing is an incredibly useful skill for all breastfeeding mothers to learn as it can be used for so many different reasons! Here’s a link to the UNICEF Baby Friendly website’s clip on hand expressing.

Some babies may have a higher chance of having feeding difficulties or maintaining stable blood sugars after birth, in this case – your Midwife may discuss antenatal hand expressing, where you collect colostrum in syringes to save for after your baby is born. If you are thinking of starting hand expressing during pregnancy, please speak to your Midwife or Elaine or Amy, from the Infant Feeding Team who will be able to support you. This leaflet will also give you more information


Introducing solid foods

Introducing solid foods is a really exciting step in your baby’s development but try not to rush into it. Breastmilk (or infant formula) is all a baby needs for the first 6 months of life (World Health Organisation).

3 signs that your baby is ready for food – they can:

  1. stay sitting and hold their head steady
  2. co-ordinate their eyes, hand and mouth to pick up food and bring it to their mouth by themselves
  3. swallow food – babies who aren’t ready will push food back out, getting more on their face!

It’s rare that these signs will appear together before 6 months.

Some signs mistaken for readiness for food:

  1. chewing fists
  2. waking in the night when they have previously slept through
  3. wanting extra milk feeds

These are actually all normal behaviours and don’t necessarily mean your baby is hungry or ready to start solids. Sometimes a little extra milk is all that is required. (NHS Introducing Solid Foods leaflet, 2011)

You can see this information in full here

Here’s another link to Best Beginnings: Introducing Solid Foods video

It’s important to remember that each baby is individual, so if you think your baby is ready or if you have any questions about starting solid foods, please either speak to a member of the Infant Feeding Team or your Health Visitor who can advise about our  ’Introducing Solid Foods Groups’.

(Edited 05.07.2019)