How to feed your baby is one of the most important decisions you will make once they are born
How to feed your baby is one of the most important decisions you will make once they are born. We will provide you with support to feed your baby irrespective of the method you choose.
Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby’s life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop. Breastfeeding also has lots of health benefits for mums.
We have been accredited as Baby Friendly. The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, is a global programme. In the UK, the initiative works with health professionals to ensure that mothers and babies receive high-quality support to facilitate successful breastfeeding. This recognises our commitment to support mothers to breastfeed their babies.
Find out more information, help and support about breastfeeding from NHS Choices
Weaning from 6 months:
When to weigh:
Portion sizes for toddlers:
We aspire to ensure all parents/carers receive accurate information about feeding their babies from their health visiting teams. We work according to UNICEF Baby Friendly best practice standards, our organisation earned full accreditation of baby friendly status in August 2013. Stage two accreditation was awarded in January 2012
We were reassessed in January 2016 when Unicef confirmed that we continue to meet all of the criteria for Baby Friendly accreditation, our Health Visitor teams were commended for their hard work and supportive attitude. The inspectors reported that it was clear that pregnant women and new mothers receive a very high standard of care. Details of the award can be found on http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/ where you will also find evidence based practical information about caring for your baby including breastfeeding and formula.
Our Health Visitor teams wish to ensure that all parents have appropriate information and knowledge regarding infant feeding.
If you are a parent reading this we guarantee that our Health Visiting staff will support you in your choices. We are however mindful of the large quantity of research that confirms that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. We recognise that breastfeeding is much more than a food. Your milk is unique and changes during each feed, with the time of day, your diet and the baby’s needs and protects and comforts your baby. We therefore will encourage you to breastfeed your baby.
How will we support you?
Please see below additional information and resources
We launched a new volunteer support scheme in November 2016.
The volunteer supporters who are being recruited are mothers of any age who have breastfed their own babies or are still breastfeeding and want to support other mothers to have a positive breastfeeding experience.
Following routine DBS checks, the volunteers will support groups alongside their local Health Visitor. Our volunteer colleagues will support the encouragement of breastfeeding and improve the sustainability of feeding, they have the unique quality of being able to relate to mothers from a similar community, culture and values set. We are hoping that they will also provide evidence based information and research which enables mothers and families to make a fully informed choice about how they would like to feed their babies. Training will be offered to these colleagues on an annual basis by the Health Visiting service and supervision is planned regularly within getset centres.
We are keen to promote volunteers working alongside our service to support infant feeding because we are aware that:
We feel that Volunteer Supporters are uniquely positioned to give brief interventions and signpost women to other important services. For example; smoking cessation, healthy lifestyles support and domestic abuse support. The programme will also help reduce social isolation and offers parents an opportunity to socialise and exchange experiences.
If you are interested in joining this programme please contact your local Health Visitor.
What should I do if I am concerned?
We have specialist trained Health Visitors who are available to assess your babies feeding and if necessary offer this procedure. Please seek information from your Health Visitor if you wish to be referred for this assessment.
In summary, we believe that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby, with important benefits for both mother and baby. We are therefore committed to offer you the support that you require to feed for as long as you wish to.
Frenulotomy (Tongue tie division)
Tongue-tie (also known as ankyloglossia) is caused by a tight or short membrane under the tongue (the lingual frenulum). The tongue tip may appear blunt or forked, or have a heart shaped appearance. The membrane may be attached at the tongue tip or much further back. Sometimes it is difficult to see a tongue-tie but it can be detected by feeling the floor of the baby’s mouth with a finger. There is often a family history of tongue-tie. It is thought that as many as 1 in 10 babies are tongue tied, with half of those likely to have feeding difficulties.
Feeding problems caused by a tongue-tie
Most babies have no feeding problems at all; others may be helped by optimising the baby’s latch on the breast with specialist help. There seems to be no correlation between the severity of the tongue-tie and the effect on feeding.
The effects on feeding for the mother may be: sore and damaged nipples, misshapen or discoloured nipples after a feed, recurring mastitis, reduced milk supply, distress due to frequent feeding and inability to establish breastfeeding.
The effects on the baby may be: difficulty maintaining a latch on the breast and coming on and off and being unsettled during the feed, ending the feed due to exhaustion but wanting feeding soon after, clicking noises during the feed, weight loss and/or slow weight gain, colic, wind.
Many babies will manage to bottle feed but some also have difficulty with a bottle with dribbling and spurting milk out from the sides of their mouths.
How is tongue-tie treated?
Treatment is not necessary if your baby has a piece of skin connecting the underside of their tongue to the floor of their mouth, but they can feed without any problems.
If feeding is affected, the tongue-tie needs to be divided.
Tongue-tie division involves cutting the short, tight piece of skin connecting the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. It’s a simple and almost painless procedure that usually resolves feeding problems straight away.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) supports the use of tongue-tie division, as it is safe and there is evidence it can improve breastfeeding.
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