Infant feeding – Breastfeeding

In addition to telephone contact with us for Breastfeeding support when you need it, every Thursday from 2pm – 4pm we hold a virtual Breastfeeding clinic. If you would like to book an appointment, please contact us via our live chat function or email us at If you prefer to have a telephone discussion instead of virtual, please contact us as above and a member of staff will call you.



All staff have been especially trained to help you to feed your baby. Whether you fully breastfeed, give expressed breast milk or formula by bottle. We will give you the best possible information and support.


Why breastfeed?

What happens in your baby’s first years has a big effect on how healthy they will be in the future. Mum’s milk gives your baby all the nutrients they need for around the first 6 months of life and it remains important, along with solid food, beyond 6 months. It helps to protect your baby from infections and other diseases and, as a mum, it also reduces your chances of getting some illnesses later in life.

Breastfeeding also helps you and your baby to get closer – physically and emotionally. So while you are feeding your baby, the bond between you grows stronger. Infant formula is made from cows’ milk and other ingredients. It doesn’t contain the ingredients that help protect your baby from infection and disease. Only your body can make those.


After your baby is born

Holding your baby against your skin straight after birth will calm your baby. It will also steady his breathing and heart rate and help to keep him warm. This is a great time to start your first breastfeed because your baby will be alert and will want to feed in the first hour after birth. Your midwife can help you with this.


Take a look at Unicef’s Baby Friendly video – Meeting baby for the first time:


Carry on with skin to skin when you get home; this helps you and baby to feel calm and also with feeding an older baby. Your baby will be happier if you keep them near you and feed them whenever they are hungry. This will remind your body to produce plenty of milk. It is fine to feed your baby when they need comforting, when your breasts feel full or when you just want to sit down and have a rest. It is not possible to overfeed a breastfed baby. This is called responsive breastfeeding – feeds are not just for nutrition, but also for love, comfort and reassurance between both baby and mother.


Take a look at Unicef’s Baby Friendly video – Breastfeeding and early relationships:



How to breastfeed

What position should you use?

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


  • Is 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, and they shouldn’t have to reach out to feed.
  • Is your baby’s nose opposite your nipple? Your baby needs to get a big mouthful of breast from underneath the nipple. Placing your baby’s nose level with your nipple will allow them to reach up and get your nipple back to the soft part of their palette; this will stop your nipples getting sore from rubbing on the hard part of their palette.
  • Are you comfortable? It’s worth getting comfortable before a feed, although it’s ok to change your position slightly once your baby is attached to your breast.


Take a look at Unicef’s Baby Friendly video – Positioning and attachment:



Top tips

Good attachment really is the key to successful breastfeeding!

It’s important to get this right so that:


  • Your baby takes plenty of milk and grows
  • You make plenty of milk
  • You don’t develop problems such as sore nipples, blocked ducts or mastitis


Responsive breastfeeding

Your baby needs you to respond to their feeding cues. Waiting until they cry for food will make it more difficult to breastfeed them.


  • Hands to mouth
  • Turning head
  • Licking lips
  • Mouthing
  • Squeaking noises
  • Light fussing
  • Rooting (moving mouth and head as if looking for a feed)


For successful breastfeeding, you need to feed your baby whenever they asks, and for as long as they want at each feed. In the first few weeks you will get to know your baby and settle into a feeding pattern.

The more mum’s milk you give your baby, the more milk you will produce. Giving other food or drink will reduce your milk supply.


Responsive breastfeeding is a reciprocal relationship, of you need to feed you baby for whatever reason for example, if you breasts are full or you need to pop out and you would not be able to feed whilst you are out. But also if you would like to reconnect with your baby or them with you.

Remember – babies don’t need anything other than breastmilk for about the first 6 months.


If you are feeding your baby by both breast and bottle please do ask for help and information. We can help you to increase the amount of breastfeeding/breastmilk or continue to do both for as long as possible – whatever is your choice.


Signs that your baby is feeding well

  • Your baby has a large mouthful of breast.
  • Your baby’s chin is firmly touching your breast.
  • It doesn’t hurt you when your baby feeds (although the first few sucks may feel strong).
  • If you can see the dark skin around your nipple, you should see more dark skin above your baby’s top lip than below your baby’s bottom lip.
  • Your baby’s cheeks stay rounded during sucking.
  • Your baby rhythmically takes long sucks and swallows (it is normal for your baby to pause from time to time).
  • Your baby finishes the feed and comes off the breast on his or her own.
  • Your baby should be having at least 6 heavy wet nappies and 2 dirty nappies in 24 hours.


Feeding out and about

You will find that some places have the blue picture of a mother feeding her baby in the window and this means that this establishment welcomes breastfeeding mothers but this is not an exclusive scheme. By law, the only places you can be refused access to breastfeed are places where there is a risk to the health and safety to you or your baby.


Top tips


  • Practice makes perfect – if you’re feeling nervous, go with people to support you for the first few times to build your confidence.
  • Wear a nursing bra – this will make it easier to access you breast. You can buy special breastfeeding tops from most clothes store, but you don’t have to buy specific breastfeeding clothing. Many mothers find by wearing a camisole top underneath a looser top they can simply lift up the looser top and feed. Wearing a wrap cardigan or a big scarf that can be draped over you breast may help you feel more comfortable.


If you’re planning on going back to work you can find some useful information on Start 4 Life


Breastfeeding resources

Got a breastfeeding question?

  • Sign into Facebook and message the Start4Life Breastfeeding Friend chatbot for fast, friendly, trusted NHS advice anytime, day or night.
  • Contact your local Bexley health visitor here