Feeding your baby

The best start in life

At birth, giving your baby long skin-to-skin contact for consistency and to maximise benefits will help to keep baby warm, calm you both, regulate baby's heart rate and breathing, and stimulate mothering hormones which helps you form a close bond and increase breast milk supply. This helps breastfeeding get off to a good start. We offer Breastfeeding in the Early Weeks workshops as well as breastfeeding drop in clinics. For more information look at our local infant feeding services (Community Breastfeeding Services leaflet) or contact the health visiting team on 020 8661 3904 or email

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way for a mum to feed her baby with many health benefits for both mother and child. Breastfeeding isn’t just about food - baby’s immediate needs are to feel safe and secure, and to be able to feed whenever hungry. We encourage responsive feeding, which means recognising your baby’s cues to feed, whenever and for as long as baby needs. Frequent feeding is normal. Exclusive breastfeeding is all your baby needs for the best start in life, babies need no food or drink other than breast milk for the first six months.

If you choose to, are advised to or have to bottle feed your baby, you will be given information to help you bottle feed as safely as possible and help your baby have a close and loving experience. It is best for you and your partner to feed your baby in the early weeks. This will help your baby to feel safe and secure, get used to your way of bottle feeding, and enable you to form a close and loving bond.

Health visitor says

You can look out for the following signs that show your baby is getting enough milk for their needs:

  • Your baby will be content and satisfied after most feeds.

  • Your baby may lose weight in the first few days, but should be back to their birth weight by two weeks of age.

  • Your baby should be happy and alert when they’re awake.

  • In the early weeks, your baby’s nappies are a good sign of how much milk your baby is getting. From day 5 onwards, babies should have at least 6 wet nappies a day and 2 soft yellow stools a day. After around 4-6 weeks, breastfed babies might not have their bowels open every day.

Source: 2017

Sterilising and bottle hygiene

  • Infections (like gastroenteritis) are rare, but if they do occur, can be very serious.

  • All the equipment needs to be washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and sterilised.

  • Cleaning and sterilising is important, whether you are using expressed breast milk or infant formula milk.

  • Keep sterilising feeding equipment until your child is one year old.

  • Formula preparation machines do not heat all the water to the recommended boiling temperature. This may lead to an increased risk of gastroenteritis.

How do I know if my baby is properly latched?


Hold your baby’s whole body close with their nose level with your nipple to help them attach correctly.

Let your baby’s head tip back a little so that their top lip can brush against your nipple. This should help your baby to make a wide open mouth.

When your baby’s mouth opens wide, their chin is able to touch your breast first, with their head tilted, so that their lower lip can make contact with the breast 2-3cm below the nipple.

With their chin firmly touching and their nose clear, their mouth is wide open and there will be much more of the darker skin visible above your baby’s top lip than below their bottom lip. Your baby’s cheeks will look full and rounded as they feed.

There are lots of different positions for breastfeeding. You just need to check the following:

  • Are your baby’s head and body in a straight line?
    If not, your baby might not be able to swallow easily.

  • Are you holding your baby close to you?
    Support their neck, shoulders and back. They should be able to tilt their head back easily.

Tongue-tie can sometimes affect feeding, making it hard to attach properly to the breast. Speak to your health visitor.

Some babies with tongue tie have difficulty breastfeeding, and, occasionally, a bottle fed baby may also have difficulty feeding. If you think your baby may have a tongue tie or an unexplained feeding problem, contact our local infant feeding team (Breastfeeding in the Early Weeks leaflet) or contact a member of the health visiting team on 020 8661 3904


I feel worried and anxious about breastfeeding.


Our community breastfeeding services provide support and advice for all pregnant women, breastfeeding mums and their families.


You will be contacted in the early weeks to discuss breastfeeding. Come along to one of our breastfeeding sessions, or call the health visiting team on 020 8661 3904.

Source: DoH,