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Feeding & Relationships

Our maternity service has maintained UNICEF WHO Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative consistently since 1998.

Our infant feeding policy shows our commitment to helping women get all the help, support and information they need both before and after the birth of their baby.

Infant feeding policy

Baby inside tummy

The more you take time out to bond with your baby the more you help his/her brain development. You can feel proud that you are giving your baby the best start in life.

As baby your grows s/he will start to recognise sounds and become sensitive to all the things that are happening around him/her. 

Research has shown that your baby will begin to develop communication skills very early in your pregnancy.

Did you know that many vital skills are developed and practiced before your baby is born? 


  • touch
  • movement
  • hearing and listening
  • memory
  • the ability to practice 'silent crying'
  • sucking

These skills will help your baby’s development of speech, language and communication.

Parents and family members can interact and communicate with their baby in the pregnancy in many ways, and improve their baby’s experiences in the womb. 

  • From 20 weeks of pregnancy your babies brain grows very quickly.
  • Your baby can recognise their mum's voice from 16 weeks and your partners from 20 weeks
  • Your baby can respond to singing and being read to from 24 weeks. They may move about to show that they are listening
  • Babies develop preferences for music while in the womb, they can move in rhythm to music and their heart rate increases
  • Babies are able to remember from the 12 weeks of your pregnancy
  • Babies communicate through movement all the way through pregnancy
  • It is really important to communicate and stimulate a baby right from the start
  • You can help to keep your baby happy and help it to develop in lots of ways before it is born:

- stroke the tummy

- sing

- play music

- expose your tummy to light, and gentle vibrations.

  • Talking to your baby helps him/her to make sense of the world and start to link words and actions E.g. “Good morning”, “What shall we have for dinner” “Its bed time, let’s read a story”.
  • Communicating with your unborn baby helps attachment and bonding
  • Mothers communicate non-verbally to their babies through the way that they feel. Your baby will be aware of how their mum feels so try and take time to relax, this will help you control stress your levels. Baby will love and enjoy sharing this time with you!

Take note of when s/he is more active. If something like a loud noise startles her, you can comfort your baby by talking in a soothing voice and touching your bump. 

You may also have thought about how you intend to feed your baby. Talk to your midwife and health visitor who can answer your questions and give you some tips to help get feeding started.

See our information leaflet, building a loving relationship with your baby. 

Remember you don’t have to make a decision about how you will feed your baby until you hold her in your arms.

Woman breastfeeding her newborn baby

Talk to your midwife and health visitor who can answer your questions and give you some tips to help get feeding started.

We want to help and support you look at feeding options and to make the right feeding choice for you and your family.  

Remember you don’t have to make a decision about how you will feed your baby until you hold your baby in your arms.

Please go to the link below where you can access information and tips from NHS feeding experts and real life stories from mums. Whether you want to know about:

  • When to feed baby (responding to baby’s cues)
  • breast feeding, expressing your milk, mixed feeding or bottle feeding
  • when your baby who is being cared for on the Neonatal unit
  • when your baby is feeding frequently in the first few days and/or you are worried about your milk supply
  • when your baby is reluctant to feed  or is jaundiced 
  • sterilising your feeding equipment


You will be able to find everything you need to build your confidence and overcome any challenges you may have all in one place.

Visit and browse around this site for more information. http://www.feedgood.scot/ 

Watch this video clip at http://www.feedgood.scot/ to find out more about how special breast milk is more than just a food.

If you want to know more about breastfeeding, bottle feeding or feeding a preterm baby, follow the care pathways or watch the videos (animation about correct attachments, hand expressing, skin to skin contact and other subjects) click on the below links to find out what standards of support you should expect to receive you can also visit . this information is also available on the Baby Buddy App – support and useful information.



First Steps Nutrition is an independent site where you can get information about Eating well in pregnancy, different milks available in the UK, simple guide to formula and a statement about formula preparation machines. http://www.firststepsnutrition.org/

Portrait of a mother with her newborn baby

A lovely way to say hello is to spend time holding your baby in skin to skin contact whether you are breast or bottle feeding.

This special time together helps calm you both after labour and birth. Placing the baby on your skin so s/he can hear your heartbeat, recognise your smell and listen to your voice will reassure them that they are in a safe place. 

Skin to skin contact will also help keep your baby warm which is very important in the first hours after birth. It’s important that you and baby are not rushed at this time so ask the midwife to either weigh baby quickly just after birth or wait until he has had a first feed.

As baby relaxes s/he  will begin to search around for your breast making tiny mouthing and head bobbing movements. This is the best time for you to make the decision about how you would like to feed your baby.

If you decide to breastfeed or even to offer your baby just one breastfeed let her take her time to seek out and find your breast as she is learning exactly what to do to get that valuable first breast feed.

If you decide to bottle feed this is a good time to offer the first feed while still in skin contact with your baby . The first feed your and your baby share is very special so try to make sure it is you that offers this as it helps baby’s and your hormones levels. 

Partners and other family members  can be involved by staying close and talking to baby, whilst you have skin to skin contact and feed your baby . Baby will   already be familiar with your partner’s voice.  Ask your partner to have skin to skin contact with your baby whilst you are having a shower, if you are bottle feeding they can give baby their 2nd bottle feed in skin to skin.  

For more information 


Baby feet in mother hands - hearth shape

Your baby will have a strong need to be close to you as parents, as this helps them to feel secure and loved. Your baby will not become “spoilt” or demanding if you give then too much attention. 

When your babies’ needs for love and comfort are met, your baby will be calmer and grow up to become happy, healthy, secure child and adult.
When your baby feels secure your baby will release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps your baby to be happy, and also help his/her brain to grow and develop. 

By holding, smiling and talking to your baby also releases oxytocin in you, which will help you to feel calm and happy. 

Breastfeeding provides everything your baby needs in terms of nutrition, protection and comfort. The hormones that make your milk are also the hormones that help you form a loving bond with your baby. 

Oxytocin levels are high during breastfeeding, helping your baby’s brain to grow.If you are bottle feeding your baby, you can help raise oxytocin levels too by holding your baby close, looking into his/her eyes, talking to your baby and also by spending time in skin to skin contact. 

Your baby will love looking into your eyes: when we look at babies in a loving way our pupils (the dark circle in the centre of our eyes) become bigger. Babies pick up on this and know that they are loved. This makes them feel happy and secure.

A good baby is a perception held by our society that babies should act in a certain way. Watch this video clip to find out more about routines, feeding and sleeping.


Talking about should babies sleep through the night?

For more information watch this video clip & download the leaflet Caring for your baby at night. 



You do not need to eat any special foods whilst breastfeeding, but it’s a good idea like everyone else to eat a healthy diet.  It is also recommended that all pregnant and breastfeeding women take a daily supplement of 10mcg of Vitamin D.

All babies living in the UK are vulnerable to a low vitamin D status.

A new-born baby’s Vitamin D status is dependent on their mothers vitamin D status in pregnancy and recommendations remain that all pregnant women should take a supplement during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  The amount of Vitamin D in the mother’s breast milk varies throughout the day, and will be dependent on her vitamin D intake and stores; therefore as a precaution, it is now suggested that breastfed babies are given additional vitamin D as well as their mother. Whilst there is little evidence of significant Vitamin D deficiency among breastfed babies, as it is likely that vitamin D is well absorbed from breast milk as fat absorption is particularly efficient, the government is taking a ‘precautionary’ approach to protect everyone.

Babies who are formula fed do not require additional vitamin D if they are having 500ml per day of infant formula or more, as infant formula already has added vitamin D as part of the mix of vitamins and minerals that must be added by law.

If you are breastfeeding and giving baby additional formula milk they may still need a supplement of vitamin D if they have less than 500mls of infant formula a day.

Woman breastfeeding her baby at home

From local antenatal and breastfeeding groups, to organisations offering advice and information, to support from family and friends, there's lots of help out there for new mums and families. You just need to know where and how to ask for it! 

  • 1st Talk to your midwife or health visitor.
  • Midwives, health visitors and local trained volunteer mothers (peer supporters) are there to help you get feeding off to a good start. They can give you lots of information and support just when you need it.  Most mothers’ needs for basic help and support about caring and feeding their baby is met via standard midwifery and health visiting provision.  

Health visitor contacts.

In Derby


In Derbyshire


However, your midwife or health visitor can refer you if required for specialist support services or you can contact specialist services.

Specialist Feeding Support—Local professional Infant Feeding Advisors

Please note availability: Monday to Friday 09.00– 17.00 excluding bank holidays.

Royal Derby Hospital: 

Specialist Midwife- Infant Feeding (during pregnancy or women receiving midwifery care with babies <28 days old).

01332 785388

Derby City (Derbyshire Health care Foundation Trust)

Infant feeding Team0300 1234 586 – choose option 1 (Health visitor)  and then option 7 (Infant Feeding Team)

For further details and local groups:


Derbyshire County 

All women discharged from midwifery care in Derbyshire are referred to their Breastfeeding Support Team.

Up to date contact numbers via www.breastfeedingderbys.co.uk

Friend and family support. Watch this video clip. 


National Support

 Helpline Contact number Availability
National Breastfeeding Helpline (Krajowa Infolinia Karmienia Piersia po czym wybierz 2) 0300 100 0212 09.30am-9.30pm
National Childbirth Trust 0300 330 0771 08.00am-10.00pm
La Leche League 0845 120 2918
24hr Service
Breastfeeding Network
0300 100 0210
Association of Breastfeeding Mothers
08444 122 949  09.30am-10.30pm


Baby Buddy App

Download the Baby Buddy App for lots of useful information in pregnancy and following the birth  http://www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/babybuddy

Baby Check Link

Go to this website for advice and information on your babys wellbeing  http://.lullabytrust.org.uk/document.doc?id=334  

Breastfeeding DVD

If you want to watch a DVD clip about breastfeeding your baby, including an animation about correct attachment at the breast, hand expressing, skin to skin contact and other subjects go to:


this information is also available on the Baby Buddy App - see above details

Feeding options

If you want to know more about breastfeeding, bottle feeding or feeding a preterm baby, follow the care pathways on the below link to find out what standards of support you should expect to receive.

http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/Parents/   or First Steps Nutrtion site


Sterilising baby feeding equipment

See the UNICEF website for information:


Breastfeeding and returning to work

For information on breastfeeding at work see: