Feeding your Baby
Do you need help or advice with feeding your baby?
If you need help or advice with feeding your baby you can call your community midwife on the number she has given you or call their office below.
- Southport & Formby Midwives Tel: 01704 704513
- Ormskirk Midwives Tel: 01695 656668
Please call these numbers between 9.00am to10.00am and 4.00pm-5.00pm (you can leave a message outside these hours)
You can call the Maternity ward at Ormskirk for feeding advice at any time Tel: 01695 956947.
If you have any urgent concerns that your baby is not feeding or that they are unwell you must seek medical help immediately.
Breastfeeding support Services
Breastfeeding Support Sefton: Breastfeeding Support Team :: Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
If you are pregnant or a new mum and need any support or information You can speak to a member of staff between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday.
Breastfeeding Support Sefton Tel: 0151 291 801 - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1682572338648246/
Families and Babies Lancashire
Families and Babies Peer Support Breast Feeding Support Tel: 01257 772 929
Breastfeeding Peer Support Services
There will be support from breastfeeding peer support services on the maternity ward and once you are at home.
Health Visiting Services
- Southport and Formby: Health Visiting Service :: Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
- West Lancashire: Health Visiting - Lancashire Healthy Young People and Families Service (lancsyoungpeoplefamilyservice.co.uk)
Infant Feeding Coordinator
Our Infant Feeding Coordinator can give you infant feeding support during and after pregnancy.
You can ask your midwife to arrange for an appointment to discuss any worries or concerns that you have about feeding your new baby. Infant Feeding coordinator Tel: 01695 656 502 / 07341 465 104
Breastfeeding help in other languages
For help and support in other languages : Breastfeeding Help in Other Languages - Breastfeeding Support
You can find infant feeding information in Arabic, Bengali, Polish, Romanian, and Urdu on the UNICEF UK Baby friendly website:
National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0212 - (9:30am to 9:30pm)
National Breastfeeding Helpline
National Childbirth Trust (NCT)
Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 3300 700 (10.00am – 10.00pm)
Breastfeeding Network (BFN) (9.30am – 9.30pm every day)
Supporter Line 0300 100 0210
Le Leche League
Helpline 0845 1202918
Building that special relationship with your baby.
Pregnancy is the perfect time to start connecting with your baby. You can include your partner, other children if you have them and family members with this. Talking and stroking your bump, taking time out to connect with your baby and responding to baby’s movements all help to develop this new relationship. Babies start to hear during the second trimester and will recognise your voices when they are born. When you connect with your baby during pregnancy you will release a hormone called OXYTOCIN which helps with your baby’s brain development.
If you would like to find out more about getting to know your baby and how to set up the strong foundations for a close and loving relationship you can read Building a Happy Baby leaflet: Building a happy baby: A Guide for Parents Leaflet - Baby Friendly Initiative (unicef.org.uk) and watch this video The Importance of relationship building video - Baby Friendly Initiative (unicef.org.uk)
If you would like to chat with a breastfeeding supporter during your pregnancy about breastfeeding, you can contact the following Breastfeeding support Services who will be happy to have a chat with you and answer your questions.
- Southport and Formby: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1682572338648246/
- Lancashire: https://www.facebook.com/FABLANCASHIRE
or speak with our Infant Feeding Coordinator Tel: 01695 656 502
If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or have developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy you can ask your midwife to arrange a talk with our Infant feeding coordinator or Diabetes specialist midwife about antenatal expressing to help support your breastfeeding journey.
For more online antenatal feeding resources including a breastfeeding video for parents of multiples
- Feeding your baby
Deciding how to feed your new baby is very important and you do not need to decide until your baby is born.
Your decision may be based on previous experience or what family or friends have told you. It is important to have as much information as you can about your feeding choices so you can make your own decision about giving your baby the best start in life. During pregnancy is a great time to start to prepare for how you are going to feed your baby, the more you know, the better prepared you will be.
The value of breastfeeding.
Because of the extensive health benefits for both you and your baby, breastfeeding or giving breastmilk is the healthiest way to feed your baby. It contains all the nutrients your baby needs for the first 6 months of life, but you can breastfeed your baby for as long as you want. If you are having twins or more your choices are just the same. Useful Links | Breastfeeding Twins and Triplets
Breastfeeding provides all the nutrition your baby needs to grow and develop. Holding, cuddling and talking to your baby will support their brain development and it helps develop a loving relationship between you and baby.
It also important to know that breastfeeding can comfort and reassure your baby. You cannot spoil your baby by responding to your baby’s needs. Being able to relax and feed or cuddle your baby in the early days will help you rest and get to know each other.
You can hear more about the amazing benefits of breastmilk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2adrIKweZTE
Babies who are breastfed have less:
- ill health
- skin problems
- asthma and respiratory problems
They are also less likely to be obese, require hospital admissions and are less likely to need antibiotics.
The risk of Sudden infant death is greatly reduced.
If your baby is born prematurely, breastmilk is especially important. Your milk will help protect your baby from infection and help to reduce the risk of Necrotising Enterocolitis, a potentially serious infection. Your immunity is constantly updating and is passed to your baby in your breastmilk protecting him or her, on a daily basis.
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for mothers too, such as protection from certain cancers and stronger bones in later life.
- Less work (with formula feeding you need to make each feed up as you need it)
- Less cost financially and to the environment
- Less time off work when babies/children are sick
- Overall, more convenient
Making milk for your baby
If you would like to find out more about how your milk making ‘superpower’ works watch this great video: ABM - How lactation works. - YouTube
- Skin to Skin
Skin to Skin contact
Holding your baby in skin to skin contact immediately following birth will help to protect your baby from infection and allow your baby to learn how to breastfeed by instinctively using their breastfeeding behaviours. You can hold your baby in skin to skin for as long as you wish. If you are breast or bottle feeding it is best to keep baby next to you in skin to skin until they have had their first feed.
Skin to skin contact has been shown to provide the following benefits:
- Calms and relaxes both mother and baby
- Regulates heart rate and breathing in the baby
- Stimulates digestion
- Regulates temperature
- Enables colonisation of baby’s skin with mother’s friendly bacteria, thus providing protection against infection
- Stimulates feeding behaviour
- Stimulates the release of hormones to support breastfeeding and mothering.
If you are unable to have immediate skin to skin when your baby is born, don’t worry, your partner or a family member can do this until you are able to do this yourself.
Skin to skin is especially important and is encouraged if your baby is being cared for on our Neonatal Unit; please talk to your midwife or nurse about this.
When your baby is born your midwife will help you to hold your baby in a way that will make it easier for him or her to feed effectively. This is important for both you and your baby as it will prevent you from getting sore and will make sure that your baby gets enough milk to help him or her grow. The first milk you produce is called colostrum and is a very concentrated food which your baby will initially need little and often. The more feeds that your baby has during the first few hours and days the more milk you will produce. In the early days, your baby may feed often, particularly in the evening. Although this can be challenging for you, it is normal for babies to do this as it sets up your milk supply for the future.
Responding to your baby and how to know when baby is ready for a feed (feeding cues)
Your baby will show you when he/she is ready for a feed by:
- Opening his/her eyes and mouth.
- Turning their head from side to side.
- Putting their tongue out.
- Getting more active.
- Hand to mouth movements
These are feeding cues, signs that your baby wants feeding. You will quickly learn your baby’s cues during the first couple of days.
Responsive feeding video ABM Responsive breastfeeding video: https://youtu.be/MYV2CPD0APw
It is important to respond to your baby’s early feeding cues for your baby to get the nutrition and comfort that they need. You can find out more about responsive feeding here:
Getting breastfeeding off to a good start
Learning how to breastfeed may feel a bit daunting but trained staff on the maternity unit will help you with your first few feeds until you become more confident.
- Hold your baby in skin to skin contact
- Feed your baby as soon as possible after the birth
- Give only breastmilk
- Keep your baby close to you so that you can notice early cues
- Breastfeed responsively
- Seek help if breastfeeding is painful
- Allow your baby to come off the breast himself/herself and always offer your other breast.
- Avoid introducing a teat or dummy while your baby is learning to breastfeed
- Consider joining a local breastfeeding support group
Positioning and attachment -what does this mean?
Correct positioning and attachment when breastfeeding your baby will make sure that your baby gets the milk they need and will prevent you from becoming sore. Your midwife will show you during pregnancy how to correctly position and attach your baby for feeding.
Positioning is how you hold your baby to feed at the breast and attachment is how your baby latches to the breast to feed effectively.
This Global Health Media video explains how to correctly attach your baby to the breast so your baby can feed effectively. Attaching Your Baby at the Breast - Video - Global Health Media Project
Signs of effective attachment can be found here Signs of Effective Attachment - The Breastfeeding Network
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
When you first start breastfeeding you may worry if your baby is getting enough milk. There are a few easy ways to check which will reassure you and help you to feel confident your baby is getting what they need. Breastfeeding: is my baby getting enough milk? - NHS (www.nhs.uk) The UNICEF checklist is a great guide too Breastfeeding assessment tool - maternity (unicef.org.uk)
Expressing your milk
Your midwife will show you how to express your milk by hand, although you may never need to do this, it is useful to know how as it can help to soften your breasts if they become very full or if you get lumpy red areas (a sign that one of your milk ducts is blocked).
You can also hand express provide colostrum/milk if your baby is unable to feed at the breast.
Follow this link for expressing information and a video on how to hand express:
Giving Your Baby Supplementary Feeds
Evidence shows that giving a breastfed baby supplementary formula feeds (top-up feeds) can interfere in the breastfeeding process, including the establishment of your milk supply. Introducing formula top-up feeds can have potential health risks for your baby. Occasionally, there may be medical reasons for your baby being prescribed formula milk supplements which will be discussed on an individual basis with your Paediatrician or Midwife.
If you have chosen to breastfeed you do not need to bring formula into the hospital with you as formula milk can be prescribed if your baby needs it for a medical reason. You can still breastfeed /express and provide breastmilk and can resume exclusive breastfeeding as soon as possible.
Safer Sleep advice and Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding and SIDS - The Lullaby Trust
- Co-sleeping with your baby: advice from The Lullaby Trust - The Lullaby Trust
- Bottle feeding
Provision of formula milk
If you have chosen to bottle feed, you will need to bring your chosen first stage formula milk into hospital with you as we do not provide formula milk on the Maternity Unit. We recommend bringing in a First Milk starter pack of your chosen formula which includes ready-made formula in small bottles and teats. You can also bring in small bottles/cartons of the ready-made formula and we will provide sterile bottles and teats if needed. We do recommend you only bring in ready-made formula in small bottles as we do not have the facilities to make up powdered milk or have the storage facilities for larger bottles/cartons.
Further information on types of infant formula from the First Steps Nutrition Trust can be found here: Infant milks for parents & carers — First Steps Nutrition Trust
Responsive bottle feeding
Your baby will let you know when he/she wants to feed by showing you feeding cues, these are signs that they will show you that they want to feed. Offering a feed before he/she begins to get upset and cry will make the feeding easier for both of you. Your baby will show you when he/she is ready for a feed by:
- Opening his/her eyes and mouth.
- Turning their head from side to side.
- Putting their tongue out.
- Getting more active.
- Hand to mouth movements
If you have chosen to bottle feed your baby will enjoy being held close and being fed by you and your partner rather than by lots of different people. We recommend that when your baby is born you give baby their first bottle feed in skin to skin contact. Bottle feeding advice - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
It is really important that you know how to make up powdered formula milk correctly and safely and that you know how to sterilise your feeding equipment. You can find all the information in this booklet Bottle feeding leaflet (unicef.org.uk)
Formula preparation machines, Cooling Flasks and Formula Tablets
There are a number of products on the market that parents often ask their midwife about. Unfortunately, we are unable to say if these are safe to use and so cannot advocate their use. Our advice on making infant formula will always be to follow the Department of health guidance given in the Bottle Feeding leaflet link above. You can find more information on this here: Bacterial+contamination_April+22.pdf (squarespace.com)
Combining Breastfeeding and Formula feeding (combination feeding)
Some mothers decide to breastfeed and give some formula milk. Becoming confident and comfortable with breastfeeding may take a few weeks and every breastfeed you give your baby makes a difference. If you do decide to give some formula milk, try to give your baby as many breastfeeds as you can especially at night time when the hormone that produces milk is higher. If you choose to express your breastmilk, make sure you know how to store it safely and how to sterilise your equipment.
If you choose to return to exclusive breastfeeding help and support can be found in the support section above.
Reflux is when a baby brings up small amounts of milk or sick, during or shortly after feeding. It is common and usually gets better on its own. It usually starts before your baby is 8 weeks old and stops before they are 1. For more information follow this link to the NHS webpage: Reflux in babies - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Starting Solid Foods
You may be wondering when your baby can start to have solid foods. Introducing solid foods, also referred to as complementary foods or weaning, starts when your baby is about 6 months old. Speak to your Health Visitor if you are unsure.
For a guide on how and when to start follow this link: Weaning | Start 4 Life (www.nhs.uk)
- Breastfeeding and Returning to Work or Study
For some this can be a challenging time returning to work or study after having a baby and you may think that if you are still breastfeeding it will be more challenging. This can actually be the opposite and many mothers find that continuing to breastfeed and/or expressing allows their babies and themselves to cope better with the separation and that reconnecting after work or study with a breastfeed can bring comfort and routine to that loving relationship. There are lots of places where you can get help and support.
Here are a few:
- Returning to Work - The Breastfeeding Network
- Going Back to Work | Breastfeeding | Start for Life (www.nhs.uk)
For employment advice and how to discuss with your employer
- Tongue Tie
A Visible Lingual Frenulum
Beneath the tongue is a piece of skin which attaches the front of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This is called the lingual frenulum (lingual means tongue). In some newborn babies the frenulum can be abnormally short and restrictive to the movement of the tongue—known as a Tongue Tie. This means the tongue does not move up and forward as it would with a normal frenulum.
Many visible frenulum’s’ do not cause any problems at all and do not need to be treated.
A restricted frenulum – otherwise known as a tongue tie, may cause problems with breast feeding and less often bottle feeding. The problems caused by tongue tie during breastfeeding are due to trouble with latching. Latching is the name given for the connection between the baby’s mouth and the mother’s breast.
Problems for the baby:
- Difficulty in staying on the breast or bottle during feeding
- Slow to gain enough weight
- Leaking milk from side of mouth whilst sucking
- Clicking during feeding
- Colic and wind (caused by the baby swallowing air during feeds).
Problems for the mother:
- Sore, cracked nipples
- Mastitis (painful, swollen breasts)
- Poor latch
- Short, frequent or longer feeds. This can be exhausting for the mother.
- Frustration and a sense of failure with breastfeeding
If your baby is feeding well, tongue-tie division is not considered necessary as your baby grows the tongue-tie may stretch or naturally divide. However, it is important to reconsider dividing your baby’s tongue tie if the transfer of food from the front to the back of the mouth and ability to chew properly appears to be affected when you introduce solid foods. Tongue tie division may then be indicated clinically; however older babies will require a light general anaesthetic, as they are less likely to remain still during the procedure.
Whilst the majority of children who have a frenulum under their tongue that is not divided have no difficulties with their speech, the presence of a tongue tie has been shown to influence the ability to pronounce certain sounds in some children. However, it is not possible to predict which children will be affected, or to determine whether intervention as a baby will prevent this. Some babies that have tongue tie division still go on to need further intervention as a child. This will normally be noticeable when your baby reaches three years of age and may necessitate referral to a speech and language therapist, who will advise you as to whether or not division of the tongue tie under a general anaesthetic will be of benefit.
If you are having problems feeding your baby and suspect there is a tongue tie you can speak to your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor they will know how to refer you to a local assessment service.
During this appointment, your baby’s mouth and tongue will be assessed for suitability of releasing the Tongue Tie. Releasing the Tongue Tie may not be appropriate if the assessment identifies adequate tongue movement which shows the frenulum does not restrict the tongue. In this case the specialist will suggest other ways in which we can help you with your feeding concerns.
- Safer Sleep
Here are more videos covering different scenarios when the normal sleep routine may be different than usual. For example on holiday or when parents have had a night out.