Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital are proud to be a UNICEF Baby Friendly hospital. We pride ourselves on providing a service that supports breastfeeding and building close and loving relationships between parents and their babies.
We want to ensure that all parents are enabled to make informed decisions about feeding their babies and are supported to feed their baby safely and responsively whatever their feeding method.
Feeding and Nurturing Padlet
- See this Feeding and Nurturing Padlet for helpful videos and resources about feeding and nurturing your baby, including information on infant feeding and COVID-19
Nurturing and building your baby’s brain through love
Building a loving relationship with your new baby will give them the best possible start in life and help them to grow up happy and confident. Whatever your feeding choice we will help you recognise their feeding cues and encourage you to hold and feed your baby in skin to skin throughout the newborn period.
Cuddling and comforting your baby releases love hormones and this helps your baby’s brain to develop.
- Find out more about building a relationship with your baby
Your antenatal midwife will discuss your thoughts and feelings around looking after and feeding your baby. Our antenatal feeding workshops and birth preparation classes can help you make an informed choice about feeding, learn more about responding to your baby’s cues and enable you to feel more confident about getting feeding off to a good start.
We advise you start collecting your colostrum from 36 weeks pregnant whatever your long-term feeding plans.
There are many benefits to giving hand expressed colostrum in the first hours and days after birth including health and emotional benefits for you and your baby while you both learn to breastfeed confidently.
We advise giving hand expressed colostrum in addition to responsive feeding every 2-3 hours from birth until the milk ‘comes in’ day 2-4 to help prevent readmissions for weight loss, jaundice, and avoidable formula supplementation.
Hospital feeding support
In hospital, staff including midwives, nurses, nursery nurses, maternity support workers and breastfeeding peer support volunteers, will help you learn how to put your baby to your breast, hand express your milk and how to tell if breastfeeding is going well. If you choose to bottle feed, staff will teach you how to bottle feed safely and responsively.
Staff will refer to your parent information leaflet and the feeding and nurturing padlet which includes advice on responsive feeding, recognising effective feeding and seeking community feeding support to ensure we provide consistent and evidence based advice.
Vulnerable babies / babies who are admitted to NICU
Babies who are born early, small or who are unwell can take a little longer to establish fully responsive feeding. Your breastmilk will help to protect them from illness and protect their fragile guts until they are well/ mature enough to establish your long-term feeding choice.
Staff will refer to your vulnerable baby parent information leaflet and / or your Milk as Medicine parent information leaflet to ensure we provide consistent and evidence-based feeding advice while you baby builds up to fully responsive feeding.
You will be provided with a breast pump in hospital and advised to start expressing as soon as possible after birth (preferably within 1-2 hours). To initiate, maximise and protect your breastmilk supply we advise you express at least 8 times in 24 hours including once overnight until your baby is breastfeeding responsively and is gaining weight
- Find out more on our infant feeding NICU page
Community feeding support
Your community midwife will visit you at home or contact you by telephone to assess how well your baby is feeding and support you with any difficulties.
Your health visitor will see you at home after the birth and continue to review your child’s development at a child health clinic. They will give ongoing support with infant feeding, starting solids from six months and going back to work.
- Attend our drop-in peer/ feeding support groups and our weekly infant feeding workshop while you and your baby establish fully responsive feeding.
- Beyond maternity support find peer / feeding support in your local area
If you have questions or concerns in relation to feeding your baby, please get in touch.
Infant Feeding Team Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital: