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 contact us on the numbers below of your nearest clinic or e mail us on:

Infant Feeding & Breastfeeding Support

Infant Feeding & Breastfeeding Support
Monday Oldhill Children’s Centre (N16 6LR)
10am-12pm, drop-in
Tuesday Seabright Children’s Centre (E2 8NP)
10am-1pm, call to book
Wednesday Linden Children’s Centre (N16 7SH)
10am-12pm, drop-in
First Wednesday of every month City Child & Family Centre @ The Aldgate School (EC3A 5DE)
11am-1pm, drop-in
Third Wednesday of every month Barbican Children’s Library (EC2Y 8DS)
10am-12pm, drop-in
Thursday Woodberry Down Children’s Centre (N4 2NP)
10am-12pm, drop-in
Friday Morningside Children’s Centre (E9 6LL)
10am-1pm, call to book

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; and it means your partner can feed your baby using a bottle while your baby still gets lots of benefits from your milk.


Learning how to express your milk by hand or breast pump is a useful skill to learn. It helps you target blocked ducts, relieve engorgement and it means your partner can feed one of your babies using a bottle and it still gets lots of benefits from your milk.

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 (

How we helped

Fantastic support resource – very grateful for the expertise of this team! They enabled me to breastfeed my baby.

Excellent service. Whole team has great knowledge and practical skills on topic. Very agile and responsive team. I received very good support. Lifeline to families having difficulty with infant breastfeeding.

I have been really impressed by the support I’ve received. The team were very responsive to both a self-referral and a referral made by the midwife. Firstly a home visit at 7d followed by telephone/video when still having difficulty and signposting to drop ins. Really amazing to be given such a lot of 1 to 1 time to help with positioning and quick referrals sent. All the members of the team I have met are kind and supportive, giving me confidence and what seems to be pragmatic and personalised advice which was a relief, prior to the team input all the advice was generic and not really specific to the problems I was having.

You can also access telephone support from various services:

Breastfeeding Support Websites Breastfeeding Helpline
National Breastfeeding Helpline 0300 100 0212
Breastfeeding Network 0300 100 0210
Bengali/Sylheti helpline:
0300 4562421
National Childbirth Trust (NCT) 0300 330 0771
La Leche League 0345 120 2918
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers 0300 330 5453