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This is a summary of the Newborn Feeding Policy and outlines the standards of care you may expect from any member of staff.
Exclusive Breastfeeding is Important
It is particularly important during establishment of breastfeeding to exclusively breastfeed. It takes the first two weeks at least to establish your supply. If it is not possible to exclusively breastfeed
due to a clinical reason you will be supported to maximise the amount of breastmilk your baby receives. Breast pump equipment is freely available and any member of staff can ensure you are shown how to use this and where to safely store your breastmilk. You will be supported to give other feeds as safely as possible with as little disruption to your breastfeeding. The plan will be to
eventually exclusively breastfeed your baby to ensure they have the best health outcomes.
Why do we have a Newborn Feeding Policy?
To promote breastfeeding and safe artificial feeding by:
• creating an environment that enables you to start your breastfeeding relationship with your baby.
• creating an environment where you are supported and given information to enable you to feed your baby safely.
• ensuring you receive consistent evidence based feeding advice.
• preventing the promotion of any artificial milks, bottle, teats and dummies in line with the International Code for the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes and other breast substitutes (UNICEF 1981).
What to Expect From Your Care
You will have the opportunity to discuss feeding and caring for your baby, highlighting the value of:
• connecting with your growing baby while you are pregnant and explanation of how this helps your baby’s development
• skin to skin contact with your baby.
• getting breastfeeding off to a good start.
• the information you have already had about infant feeding.
• breastfeeding as protection, comfort and food.
• responding to your baby’s needs for comfort, closeness and feeding after birth and the role that keeping your baby close has in supporting this.
Support for Breastfeeding
Any member of the clinical staff will be able to:
• provide support to enable you to achieve effective breastfeeding as you require, including positioning, attachment, hand expressing and recognising signs of effective feeding.
• explain responsive feeding and feeding cues.
• assess your baby’s feeding and develop a plan to improve feeding as necessary.
• show you how to express your milk effectively, at least 8-10 times in 24 hours, including once at night (if necessary).
• before you are discharged provide you with details of who to call if you require additional support, or if you have any concerns regarding feeding.
• ensure you are not separated from your baby unnecessarily throughout the postnatal period.
• provide you with information outlining all local support groups and national helplines, upon discharge.
• offer support of Infant Feeding Specialist Midwife if you have more complex breastfeeding challenges
Previously described as ‘demand’ or ‘baby-led’ feeding, this term describes a feeding relationship that is sensitive, reciprocal and about more than merely feeding your baby.
• Breastfeeding is for comfort and calming your baby.
• Breastfeeds can last a long or short time.
• Breastfed babies cannot be overfed or ‘spoiled’ by feeding too much.
• Breastfeeding will not tire you or your baby any more than other methods of feeding.
Artificial Milk Feeding
If you choose to give your baby artificial milk you will be supported to do this safely, discussing how to prepare infant artificial milk and you are encouraged to feed your baby ‘responsively’ by:
• responding to their hunger cues.
• encouraging your baby to draw the teat in.
• pace the feed so you are not encouraging them to feed more than they want to.
• alternating the arm in which you hold your baby.
• recognise your baby’s cues that they have had enough milk and avoid offering them to take more than they want.
Skin to Skin Contact
• You will be encouraged to hold your baby in skin to skin contact immediately after birth (whenever possible)
• Skin to skin contact should last for at least an hour, until the first feed and for as long as you want.
• You will be shown how to understand the needs of your newborn baby; encouraging frequent touch and sensitive verbal/visual communication, keeping your baby close, feeding responsively and safe sleeping practices.
• If you are bottle feeding your baby you will be encouraged to hold your baby close during feeds and offer most of the feeds yourself to enhance you and your baby’s bonding relationship.
Safety of Your Baby Whilst in Skin Contact
• Your baby will be checked during the first few hours after birth, for warmth, breathing, colour and tone. The midwives will carry these out while you maintain skin to skin contact, where possible.
• It is important you are supported to hold your baby safely. Staff will assist you with safe handling of your baby whilst in skin contact until you feel confident. We can advise you of safe bed sharing practices and help you to ensure that your baby is able to breathe with good body positioning.
• If you are feeling drowsy or sleepy, it is important to place the baby into the cot for safety. If you are unable to do that, a member can help you.
• The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a cot by your bed.
• Some parents will choose to share a sleep surface with their baby. We can provide you with information on how to share a bed safely with your baby.
Further information, advice or support is available from your midwife. The Infant Feeding Team are also available for more direct on 01908 996402 (answerphone) during office hours. A full version of the Newborn Feeding Policy is available on request from the Midwifery Staff who care for you.
(2006) Routine postnatal care of women and their babies. National Library of Guidelines. NICE.
World Health Organistation (WHO) (1981) International Code for the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Geneva. WHO.
Vennemann et al. 2012. Bed Sharing and the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Can We Resolve the Debate? The Journal of Pediatrics. 160(1):44-48
Ball et al. 2012 Bed- and Sofa-Sharing Practices in a UK Biethnic Population Pediatrics 2012; 129:3 e673-e681; published ahead of print February 20, 2012, doi:10.1542/peds.2011-1964
UNICEF, Baby Friendly Initiative, http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/