Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby and we encourage women to breastfeed their babies and aim to support you to achieve this. For more support and resources about infant feeding please click here to view our Homerton Infant Feeding Padlet
Homerton hospital is committed to promoting breastfeeding and is working towards achieving Unicef Baby Friendly status. The Baby Friendly Initiative is a global programme of UNICEF and the World Health Organisation. It works with health services to improve practice so that parents are enabled and supported to make informed choices about how they feed and care for their babies. Find more information from the Unicef Baby Friendly web pages, and about breastfeeding in general.
Supporting close and loving relationships
Babies need warm reactive relationships with their primary carers. Keep babies close and respond to their cues for food, love and comfort. This is essential for babies’ health, wellbeing and brain development. In addition it can help new parents to also cope with the changes in their lifestyles during the early postnatal period..
Infant Feeding Team support
Please include the following details:
• your name, telephone number, and hospital number (this is a 6 digit number which can be found on the front of your blue notes)
• the date and time of your baby’s birth
How should I position my baby?
C – Close
Baby should face the breast and be as close as possible to gain a deep latch
H – Head free
Supporting the baby around the neck and shoulders rather than by the head will allow them to tilt their head back and open wide to take in your breast tissue
I – In line
Have you tried swallowing with your head twisted over your shoulder? You will soon get tired. Babies also need to have their head in line with their bodies to help them swallow.
N – Nose to nipple
The chin should lead and the mouth should be wide open when the baby latches with the nipple pointing up toward the baby’s nose so that when you latch it reaches far back into the baby’s mouth.
S – Sustainably
Will you be able to sit in this position for a whole feed? Do you have water nearby?
How do I know if my baby is latching on properly?
- they take a large mouthful of breast tissue and you can see more of the darker area of your breast (areola) at the top of the baby’s mouth.
- Baby should have rounded cheeks
- the chin should be the first thing to touch the breast and should indent the breast and massage the tissue during the feed
- Baby’s lips (top and bottom) should be turned outward
- you should hear a 2:1 suck and swallow pattern after the initial let down.
While breastfeeding can be uncomfortable, especially for first-time mothers, it shouldn’t be painful. If you experience pinched, sore or bleeding nipples, or your baby still seems hungry after a feed, these could be signs that your baby isn’t attaching well. Seek help from your midwife.
Seek advice if breastfeeding is painful
If you’re finding that breastfeeding is painful, you should get a healthcare professional to look at how your baby latches on and the position you’re sitting in to breastfeed. You may just need to adjust your position. For drop in support visit the Hackney Breastfeeding Network.
You cannot over feed a baby who is only having breast milk. Often babies will feed for comfort as well as for nutrition and responsive feeding means breastfeeding whenever your baby shows feeding cues that it wants to be fed. It also means you can offer a breastfeed if your breasts feel full or for your own needs. Feeding regularly will ensure that you have a good milk supply and that the baby feels loved and supported. However, it is not usual for babies to have large gaps between feeds so if your baby is going for a long time (more than 3 hours) without showing feeding cues try to wake them and offer the breast - a baby should feed at minimum eight to ten times in 24 hours, with feeds lasting between 10 and 45 minutes. If your baby comes off the breast, this can mean the breast is nearly empty, so you can offer the other side.
How will I know by baby is getting enough milk?
If your baby is getting enough milk, they should relax during breastfeeding and not be agitated. The best way of knowing how much they are drinking is to see what is coming out. After the first week they should have at least six or more wet nappies and at least two dirty nappies a day. If your baby still seems hungry, they may not be latching on properly and you might need some extra support, so drop into one of our breastfeeding drop-in’s or use the support contact below.
Antenatal colostrum harvesting
Colostrum is a concentrated yellowy fluid produced from the breast for the first few days of your baby’s life to provide complete nutrition for them while their stomach is still tiny.
Colostrum is packed full of antibodies and white bloods cells which help build your babies immune system and protects the baby’s digestive system from infections.
Being able to hand express colostrum will give you the confidence to provide food in the early days to your baby. Expressing colostrum before you give birth ensures that your baby will have access to your milk early and can be particularly useful for:
- diabetic mothers
- twin Pregnancies
- expected Pre-term pregnancies
- small babies
- women who have breast abnormalities
- anyone on Beta-blocker medications
Ask your midwife for a colostrum harvesting pack.
Download a PDF of our expressing pack https://www.homerton.nhs.uk/download/doc/docm93jijm4n7855.pdf?amp;ver=16371
Storing, freezing and defrosting breast milk safely
You can store breast milk in a sterile container:
- in the back of the fridge for up to 6 days
- for 2 weeks in the ice compartment of a fridge
- for up to 6 months in a freezer, if it's -18C or lower
Storing breast milk in small quantities will help avoid waste. If you're freezing it, make sure you label and date it first.
Defrosting frozen breast milk
It's best to defrost frozen breast milk slowly before giving it to your baby. If you need to use it straight away, you can defrost it by putting it in a jug of warm water. Use it straight away.
Never re-freeze milk that's been defrosted
Once your baby has drunk from a bottle of breast milk it should be used within 1 hour and anything left over should be thrown away.
Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. If you are unable to, or choose not to breastfeed, we will support you in this decision. Advice and support is available from your midwife and health visitor. It is also important to be responsive to your babies feeding cues and also pick up on when they might be full as it is possible to overfeed a bottle fed baby. Hold the bottle at a horizontal level and pace the feed so the baby can take breaks and let you know when it has had enough.
If you had your baby at Homerton Hospital we provide a service to assess tongue tie and if necessary undertake a frenulotomy (tongue tie division). Referrals can be made by contacting your midwife, Health Visitor or GP to complete a referral to the service.