Infant Feeding Support


The Baby Friendly Initiative aims to:

  1. Support pregnant women to recognise the importance of breastfeeding and early relationships for the health and wellbeing of their baby
  2. Enable mothers to continue breastfeeding for as long as they wish
  3. Support mothers to make informed decisions regarding the introduction of food or fluids other than breastmilk
  4. Support parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby

All of our Health Visiting Team are trained to the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative Standards and are here to provide you with help and support.

Our new Infant Feeding Team are on hand to offer help and support to all mothers and their babies. They provide the opportunity for parents with babies to receive support with breastfeeding, formula feeding or a mixture of both. There will be an Infant Feeding Specialist at each of our sessions to offer you tailored help and support. You may wish to attend for reassurance regarding positioning and attachment or responsive bottle feeding. We are also able to support with more complex feeding needs.

You can request additional help from the infant feeding team via the Enhanced Health Visiting Service HUB:  0207 683 4151


Infant Feeding & Breastfeeding Support

Monday Comet @ Thomas Fairchild Children’s Centre
10am-11:30am Drop-in
N1 7HT


Tuesday Sebright Childrens Centre

10am- 1pm Call to book

E2 8NP

020 7749 1210

Clissold One O’clock Club

10:45-12pm Drop-in

N16 9HJ


Wednesday Gainsborough Children’s Centre
10am-11:30am Drop-in
E9 5ND

020 8985 4622

First Wednesday of the month
City Child & Family Centre @ The Aldgate School
11am-1pm Drop-in
020 7283 1147 
Third Wednesday of the month
Barbican Children’s Library
10am-12pm Drop-in

020 7628 9447

Thursday Hillside Children’s Centre

12:30-2pm call to book

N16 5QR

020 8800 7325

Friday Morningside Children’s Centre
10am-1pm Call to book
E9 6LL

020 8525 2400

The Enhanced Health Visiting Service facilitate the below infant feeding support groups to embrace and celebrate our culturally diverse population:

Monday Infant feeding support group for Muslim Mums

Ihsan Children’s Centre

10am-11:30am – Drop-in

N16 6AA

020 8806 1147


Infant feeding support group for Turkish Mums

Comet @ Thomas Fairchild Children’s Centre


N1 7HT


Wednesday Infant feeding support group for Black and Black Mixed Heritage Mums

Gainsborough Children’s Centre


E9 5ND

020 8985 4622

Thursday Infant feeding support group for Orthodox Jewish Mums

Hillside Children’s Centre

10am-11:30am call to book


N16 5QR

020 8800 7325


  • Through Hackney’s Children and Family Hubs, NCT are now delivering infant feeding sessions and peer support groups in Hackney. The NCT offer is for mother-to-mother support strengthening community networks via emotional support and shared experiences. Benefits of peer support include enhanced confidence building and shared problem solving.

Please refer to the link below for dates and times of the infant feeding support groups in Hackney:

Hackney infant feeding peer support and parenting courses | About us | NCT


Getting started

If your birth goes to plan and you are able to meet your baby straight away there are some good tips for getting a good start, however we know that all births are very different and sometimes at the start mums are separated from their babies. It may be that Mum has had a Caesarean or baby needs some extra help, and this can be for hours or sometimes days.

Some babies may be in NICU (baby intensive care) and too tired or unable to suck from a breast or bottle, but in these situations nurses and midwives will be on hand to support you, however you choose to feed your baby.

Feeding your baby within the first hour of life and Skin to Skin

If all has gone to plan immediate skin to skin contact not only keeps babies warm and soothes them but stimulates the release of your hormones to begin to prepare to breastfeed. They can hear your heartbeat and begin to relax. It is also the best way for babies to get to know your smell and to find your breast All mums and dads are encouraged to do as much skin to skin in the first few weeks as they can. The best way is to do this is whilst sitting upright place baby with their head under your chin and lay them against your chest. In the early days if you are finding feeding difficult try this first to help baby adjust to begin to feed. He will be able to smell your milk and begin to learn this is where the milk is. Remember if you are tired or in bed it is better to put baby safely in their crib as you may fall asleep and baby will roll off.

Babies in Hospital

Most babies in NICU will be able to experience skin to skin and Mums and Dads will be supported by the nurses and midwives to begin to bond with their babies in this way.

Responsive Feeding

Responsive breastfeeding involves responding to baby’s cues, and knowing that  feeds are not just for nutrition, but also for love, comfort and reassurance between baby and mother. For example, when a mother breastfeeds her baby responsively, she may offer her breast when her baby shows signs of hunger or when her baby is distressed, unsettled or appears lonely. Breastfeeding can help settle her baby if her baby is unwell or to reassure him or her in an unfamiliar environment. You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby nor is there any such thing of spoiling your baby.

Bottles, dummies, nipple shields

Try and avoid using bottles, teats, dummies and nipple shields for at least the first month while breastfeeding is being established. The way babies suck at the breast and a teat on a bottle or a dummy is very different. Using dummies can sometimes result in babies being less likely to feed when they need to and taking in less milk.


Establishing good positioning and attachment at the breast is important to ensure your baby transfers milk effectively and also avoid nipple pain and complications. For information on good positioning and attachment please see this video which will help explain good positioning.

Positioning and attachment video – Baby Friendly Initiative (

Expressing milk

It can be useful to learn how to express your milk by hand. It helps you target blocked ducts, relieve fullness, tempt the baby to feed or for convenience

Further reading: Expressing and storing breastmilk (BfN) leaflet – Baby Friendly Initiative (

Antenatal Colostrum Harvesting

If you have decided to give your baby formula milk, it is important you know how to make up a feed and sterilise bottles safely.

Milk brands

It doesn’t matter which brand of milk you use, they are all very similar regardless of cost.

Types of milk

There is no evidence for the milks that claim to help hungry babies, prevent colic, wind, reflux or allergies and they may be less safe for your baby.

If you think your baby may need a different milk, including before choosing soy formula, speak to your health visitor, GP, or midwife.

There is no need for stage two, three or four milks (also known as follow on or growing up milks). Stick to a first ‘stage one’ infant formula throughout the first year.

When your baby is one year old, they can start to drink full fat cow’s milk or a plant based equivalent (however, avoid rice milk until five years).

Responsive feeding

The early days with your baby are a great time to get to know each other and bond. Responsive baby feeding means:

  • Feeding your baby when they show feeding cues; e.g. when they move their head from side to side or suck on their hands. Babies often cry after showing feeding cues so try and feed them before they cry.
  • Holding your baby close to you and in a semi-upright position. If possible, try and feed them in skin contact. Take the opportunity to look into their eyes and talk to them during the feed.
  • Starting the feed by rubbing the teat against their top lip. This encourages babies to open their mouth.
  • Gently insert the teat into your baby’s mouth and keep the bottle just above a horizontal position to keep the milk flow slow.
  • Watch your baby’s cues and stop the feed if needed. Never force your baby to finish a bottle as this can be distressing for them and cause them to become overfed.
  • Try and avoid your baby being fed by too many people. A bottle feed is an opportunity for your baby to bond with their parents/carers.

Important – always make sure you sterilise safely, this video from UNICEF baby friendly shows you how.

Infant formula and responsive bottle feeding – Baby Friendly Initiative (