We are committed to supporting you to feed your baby in a way which allows you both to thrive.
During pregnancy, your midwife will share information with you about feeding your baby. This will include information on the value of breastfeeding and breast milk for both you and your baby. This will give you the facts you need to make an informed choice.
Breast milk has all the nutrients that your baby needs for the first six months. It also helps to protect your baby from lots of infections and other diseases. Every day you breast feed your baby makes a difference to their well-being,
- saves money (formula feeding can cost as much as £45 a month)
- can make it easier to lose pregnancy weight
- reduces your chance getting breast and ovarian cancer
- reduces your risk of bone fractures and high blood pressure in later life
- creates a strong bond between you and your baby as you spend time so closely together
- helps to protect your baby from infections.
We will support you to breastfeed successfully. It is a skill to learn. In the early days, many people struggle with positioning and have questions about whether their baby is getting enough. Fortunately, there are also lots of resources available to help you.Breastfeeding | Start for Life (NHS)
Expressing breast milk
Hand expressing is a useful technique to learn, especially if your baby is a little sleepy in the first few days after birth or needs to go to Special Care. You can start hand expressing whilst you are pregnant from 36 weeks. Watch this useful video from Unicef for more information. You can also have a look at our leaflet about hand expressing during pregnancy.
There are lots of different breast pumps available to express breast milk, from day 2 following birth.
You can store breast milk in a sterilised container:
- in the fridge for up to five days at 4C or lower
- for two weeks in the ice compartment of a fridge
- for up to six months in a freezer
Formula milk does not provide the same benefits for your baby that breast milk can, such as protection against illness and infection. If you are unable to fully breastfeed, or choose not to, we will provide the support you need to bottle feed as safely as possible.
If you are choosing to bottle feed, please bring in your own starter pack of ready-made infant formula, suitable from birth. We supply disposable sterile bottles and teats. but we don’t supply infant formula in hospital unless it’s needed for a medical reason.
Many new parents aren’t sure how much formula their baby needs and have questions about burping and positioning their baby during a feed. We will help you while you are on the ward and there are lots of resources online to advise you.Bottle feeding | Start4Life (NHS)
It is not only normal but essential for your baby to feed during the night.
Your baby is growing fast and has a tiny stomach which means they need to feed around the clock to meet their needs. This can be challenging and frustrating especially when you are tired and your baby wakes often to feed during the night.
If you can, try and rest during the day when your baby sleeps.
How do I know my baby is hungry?
Babies have many ways of letting you know they need food. They only begin to cry to be fed once other signals they have given have not been recognised. Some newborn babies will not have the energy to cry and may just go back to sleep if their feeding signals are ignored. Newborn babies need to feed regularly so look out for signals such as:
- Rapid eye movements seen under closed eyelids
- Flexing of arms while still asleep
- Making sighing noises
- Lip sucking
- Mouth gaping
- Rooting and putting hand to mouth
- Following their hand with gaping mouth
- Waking and making quiet eye contact.
How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?
- After the first two weeks your baby should be gaining weight. (It is normal for babies to lose a little bit of weight after they are first born)
- Your baby has wet and dirty nappies
- Your baby will be content and satisfied after a feed and will come off the breast/bottle on their own.
If you are worried, talk to your midwife or health visitor.
Postnatal feeding contacts
Our aim is to give you all the help and support you need during your infant feeding journey. Support can be provided by a variety of health professionals including midwives, health visitors or maternity support workers as well as breastfeeding peer supporters too.
Princess Royal hospitals
Community midwives 01444 448608
Royal Sussex County Hospital
Community midwives 01273 664794
Call 07808 099816
St Richard’s Hospital
Call 07808 099829
We are proud to be part of the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative. The initiative sets evidence-based standards for our service. This helps us better support families with feeding and developing close and loving relationships, so that all babies get the best possible start in life.