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Baby and Infant Feeding

Please see our information leaflet on Infant Feeding and Coronavirus

Whichever way you decide to feed your baby, we are here to support you. We are here to support you to make feeding time a special time where you and your baby can build a close and loving relationship ensuring your baby has the best start in life.

​These pages aim to provide you with reliable and useful information to support you with feeding your baby. We also signpost to other useful websites providing lots of practical information and ideas for parents and families.

The East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust Maternity Department is working towards becoming accredited by the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative. We achieved our Stage One Accreditation in August 2019.  Information about the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative can be found here https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/

Responsive Breastfeeding

Responsive breastfeeding involves you responding to your baby’s feeding cues, as well as following your own needs or wishes to feed your baby. 

Babies tell us they would like a feed by showing feed cues, they may turn their heads, open their mouths and put their hand to their mouth.

Breastfeeding is not just for food, but also for love, comfort and reassurance between you and your baby.

You might offer the breast when your baby shows signs of hunger or when your baby is distressed, or in need of comforting. Breastfeeding can help settle your baby after an immunisation, if your baby is unwell or to reassure him or her in an unfamiliar environment.

We know Mums have needs too, so you can offer the breast to meet your own needs. Perhaps before you go out, when you want a sit down or have cuddle with baby. Feeds may be short or long and at different times of the day. Some babies feed very frequently, others feed less. You will soon get to know what your baby likes.

We often have a drink or food because we feel like it. Your baby is no different.  Before long it just becomes an easy part of your relationship with your little one.

You can’t spoil or overfeed a baby with too much breastfeeding. Holding and responding to your baby will not make him badly behaved or “clingy”. Just relax and enjoy it. If it hurts though do get help so you can start to enjoy it. 

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?

It is usual for parents to question whether they are feeding their baby enough and if they are getting all the milk the need.  There are lots of signs that you can look out for to help you recognise that breastfeeding is going well.

In the first 24 hours after your baby is born, it is usual for a baby to feed about 4 times.  After the first 24 hours the number of feeds should increase and a baby should be having between 8 and 12 feeds in 24 hours. Feeding should be comfortable for you and your nipples should not look squashed or pinched after a feed.  By day 5 you should be able to notice your baby swallowing milk.  It is important to keep an eye on your baby’s nappies as this is a really useful guide as to whether your baby is getting enough milk.  

After the birth of your baby a member of staff will complete a feeding assessment with you and your baby. This may be repeated several times during your stay in hospital and will also be carried out when your baby is 5 days old. Below is a link to a checklist which will help you to identify if your baby is getting enough milk and a guide to how many wet and dirty nappies you might expect your baby to have. If you are concerned that your baby may not be getting enough milk then please speak to your Midwife.


Expressing breastmilk

Learning to hand express your breastmilk during your pregnancy or in the early days is a useful skill to have. Hand expressing your colostrum may help you overcome early feeding challenges, encourage your baby to feed or help to maximise your milk supply.

We have breast pumps available on the ward should need to use one during your time in the hospital. Staff will be available to support you and ensure you have a feeding plan in place should you need to express breast milk for your baby. You may find our leaflet ‘Expressing and Handling Breastmilk in the Hospital’ useful.