Here are some frequently asked questions new parents ask

Before your little one arrived you may have already made a decision on how you would feed your baby.

It’s important to know that now your little one has arrived things may have not gone as you had planned, and that’s okay.

This page covers common feeding questions and advice.

If your little one is now at 6 months and you are ready to start weaning click here 

How should I feed my baby

Firstly its important to remember It’s your choice. Experts recommend breastfeeding for a number of reasons, you can find out more here.

However, everyone is different, so choose what’s right for you and your baby. Some women find it challenging, or can’t breastfeed even if they want to. Lots of mums decide to express their milk, and feed their baby by bottle. And other mums choose to bottle feed using formula. If you decide to use a bottle, hold your baby close in your arms and tilt them slightly backwards, making sure their head is supported and the teat is full of milk. No matter which way you feed your baby, your midwife or health visitor is there to help you.

These videos will support you with feeding your baby:

What if I’m finding breastfeeding difficult?

Breastfeeding is a skill that you and baby need to learn, but trust us, practice makes perfect. There’s nothing more natural or healthier for you and your baby, but equally nothing can really prepare you for it. So don’t be too hard on yourself, and remember to just take it one feed at a time.

Breastfeeding Peer Support Sandwell offer free virtual drop-in group sessions. This is a great way to receive support and see a friendly face. These sessions are Mondays 12:30pm -2pm, Wednesdays 10:30am - 12pm and Fridays 10:30am - 12pm. Click here for more information on how Breastfeeding Peer Support Sandwell can help you.

If you have any difficulties or you’re worried about anything, you’re not alone, no one breastfeeds alone. Talk to your midwife or health visitor as soon as possible. You can also get help from your local feeding infant feeding team by calling 07816061633 or the national breastfeeding help line 0300 100 0212.

How do I know if my baby is hungry?

You’ll probably find very quickly that your baby starts to do certain things to show you they’re ready to be fed. They might turn their head, stretch or move their hand to their mouth. Learning these cues could help you stop any crying early, too – and this gets easier to spot with practice. Click here for more advice for knowing when your baby is hungry.

How can I tell if my baby’s full?

You’ll soon learn to spot the signs that your baby’s had enough milk. When they come off your breast and look sleepy and happy, hold them over your shoulder and gently rub their back until they burp. If they look awake after burping, see if they want more milk. Generally, if they look sleepy and content, they’ve probably had enough. Wet and dirty nappies are also a good indication that your baby is getting what they need. Click this video for more support.

How do I express?

Expressing milk is a great way to give your baby your nutrient rich breastmilk if you’re not able to breastfeed, need to go out without your baby, want to let your partner feed your wee one or some women just don’t want to breastfeed and prefer to express their milk and that’s a very valid choice. For more advice on expressing click here.

What should I do if I’m formula feeding?

Which formula milk should I choose?

Choose any brand of first infant milk for the first year of life. All first infant milks in the UK have to meet the same nutritional standards. Some manufacturers add additional ingredients or use different formulations, but these additions are not agreed to offer any benefit, and simply make the products more expensive for families.

How do I make up feeds?

Powdered infant formula is not sterile so it is important you make up feeds according to the NHS guidelines. See the NHS leaflet here.

Remember make one feed up at a time, put the water in first and powder second and use boiling water in the kettle which has been allowed to cool for no more than 30 minutes.

Make the powered up according to the instructions on the tub. Don’t add any extra powder, water or anything else as this can cause your baby serious harm.

Milk preparation devices are available to buy. The food standards agency and NHS website do not recommend the use of milk preparation devices and still advocate the use of our Best Practice Guidance, to use cooled, boiled water at more than 70ºC to make up infant formula. For more information on milk preparation devices and kettle taps go to First Steps Nutrition.

You can sterilise your bottle feeding equipment by using steam, cold water sterilising solution or by boiling. Other devices to sterilise equipment are available to buy but they are not currently recommended on the NHS website. Speak to your midwife or health visitor if you are not sure and look at the NHS bottle feeding leaflet.

What is responsive bottle feeding?

Feeds are a time for you and your baby to love and bond with each other so follow these tips to help your baby feel more secure. You might like this film where responsive bottle feeding is demonstrated.

  • Limit the number of people who bottle feed baby to one or two main care givers, especially in the first few weeks. This is usually mom and partner.
  • Hold baby semi upright and close to your body.
  • Encourage baby to open their mouth by tickling their lips with the teat.
  • Gently insert the teat, keep the bottle horizontal and just slightly tipped so baby doesn’t feed too fast.
  • If baby is feeding fast, lower the teat so the milk flow slows down.
  • Never use a prop for the bottle or leave baby alone with the bottle because they could choke.
  • Don’t force baby to finish the bottle, it can be distressing for baby and can mean they are overfed.

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