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Getting Infant Feeding Off to a Good Start

We recommend that you build a close, loving, and responsive relationship with your baby from the time you are pregnant as well as after birth and beyond.  

We also recognise that there is a lot of confusing information on how you should parent, care for and feed your baby and what you should or shouldn’t do.

Please take the time to attend one of our ‘live’ Virtual Antenatal Infant Feeding Information Sessions for Parents/Carers to find out more information on how to build a close, loving and responsive relationship with your baby as well as information to help you get feeding off to a good start. There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the session.

Thursday, 18 April 2024 1100
Antenatal Infant Feeding Session – 18th April – Devon | Health for Under5s

Tuesday, 7 May 2024 1330
Antenatal Infant Feeding Session – 7th May – Devon | Health for Under5s

Thursday, 23 May 2024 1100
Antenatal Infant Feeding Session – 23rd May – Devon | Health for Under5s

Tuesday, 4 June 2024 1330
Antenatal Infant Feeding Session – 4th June – Devon | Health for Under5s

Thursday, 20 June 2024 1100
Antenatal Infant Feeding Session – 20th June – Devon | Health for Under5s

Tuesday, 2 July 2024 1330
Antenatal Infant Feeding Session – 2nd July – Devon | Health for Under5s

Thursday, 18 July 2024 1100
Antenatal Infant Feeding Session – 18th July – Devon | Health for Under5s

If you are unable to attend one of our ‘live’ sessions, you can watch a previously recorded Antenatal Infant Feeding Information session on YouTube.

Please also look at the links below which provide some key information to help guide you to make decisions that will be best for you and your baby.


Building a happy baby

Building a strong relationship between parents and their new baby will give them the best possible start in life and help them grow up to be happy and confident. The Building a Happy Baby – A Guide for Parents, which was created by UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) is an excellent resource.


How do we develop a close and loving relationship with our baby?

It is important to develop close, loving relationships with our babies in their early days and weeks. Responding to babies’ needs for comfort and food is hugely beneficial for brain development and makes more confident toddlers. Parents should be supported to feeding responsively and keep their babies close to help them become happy, healthy secure children and adults.


Skin-to-skin contact

As a core practice of Baby Friendly standards, skin-to-skin contact should be arranged as soon as possible after birth. It is a special time for mother and baby and helps them get to know each other through all senses. It also supports feeding and relationship building. The meeting baby for the first time video, which was produced by UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI), covers what skin-to-skin contact during the Golden Hour does for both mother and baby.


What do we mean by the ‘Golden Hour’ / Birth Crawl?

The transition from womb to the outside world can be challenging for the newborn baby so a quiet and calm environment is encouraged. For a full-term healthy baby, this time is known as the ‘Golden Hour’. Skin-to-skin contact between the mother and baby during this time can help regulate baby’s breathing and temperature and baby can smell, hear, and feel you which is calming for them. This contact also triggers the surge of good hormones like Oxytocin the love hormone, and Prolactin the breastmilk making hormone. This video shows how a healthy full-term baby left skin-to-skin with mother uninterrupted for the ‘Golden Hour’ after birth demonstrates the birth crawl and self-attachment to the breast.


What will my baby’s feeding cues look like?

Babies show the same signs of being ready to feed however they are being fed. If you learn how to spot early feeding cues and offer feeds at this time, you may find that your little one feeds more calmly and more easily. For further information on what the feeding cues are for any baby however they are fed and learn more about responsive feeding on the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) website.


The benefits of breastfeeding

From higher levels of gut bacteria and healthier growth patterns to lower rates of wheezing and asthma, the CHILD Cohort Study outlines some of the benefits of breastfeeding through a short video.


How does lactation (breastfeeding) work?

This video by the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM) explains how lactation (breastfeeding) works.


How should I position my baby for a breastfeed?

When getting a baby to feed at the breast some simple steps can help improve the changes of baby achieving a good position to ensure and deep latch at the breast and more successful breastfeeding. Using the CHINS technique (Close / Head free / In Line / Nose to nipple / Sustainable) steps can help with this.


How can I get my baby to attach to the breast?

The UNICEF Effective Attachment Video explains how a baby should be bought to the breast to achieve a good attachment. Good attachment helps ensure adequate transfer of breastmilk from mother to baby. There is also an article called how to help your baby latch on for breastfeeding on the Health for Under 5’s website, which can also be a helpful resource.


What do the different stages of breastmilk look like?

Have a look  at the Calderdale Breastfeeding Peer Supporter video to see what a breastfeed looks like and how the fat content in breastmilk changes throughout the duration of a breastfeed. this information can help us decide if a baby has fully finished their breastfeed.

For further information about breastfeeding, check out our All about breastfeeding page and also our step by step guide to breastfeeding articles on the Health for Under 5’s website. Both can help you with tips on how to get started, what to do if baby’s latch to the breast doesn’t feel right and also tells you the signs that your baby is getting enough milk.


What should the contents of my baby’s nappy look like?

The contents of a babies nappy can tell you a lot. The colours can be surprising at first, but knowing what to expect, and what is normal can ease your mind. The New newborn baby poo in nappies: what to expect


HELP! How can I get support for infant feeding?

Feeding can be hard, but you are not alone. We support every parent with infant feeding however they are feeding their baby. For further information about the support available and how to access this please click on this link – Supporting Infant Feeding – Devon | Health for Under5s

How to hand express: How to hand express | Baby | Health for Under 5s

Expressing breastmilk: Expressing breastmilk | Baby | Health for Under 5s

Expressing breast milk – your questions answered: Expressing – your questions answered | Baby | Health for Under 5s

Expressing and storing breastmilk: Expressing and storing breast milk – NHS ( / BFN Expressing Leaflet 2019.pdf (

Breastfeeding and returning to work or study: Expressing and returning to work | Best Beginnings


Where can I hire a breast pump?

There are breast pumps available in the community for hire to use and the cost of hiring these is usually minimal.

They can be accessed via the following breastfeeding peer support groups:


Where can I find a breastfeeding Peer Supporter?

There is an amazing community of breastfeeding peer supporters. These are mothers like you who have breastfed their babies and volunteer to provide you with mother-to-mother peer support. To find out where your nearest group is, please access the Devon Positive about Breastfeeding Scheme website and click on the ‘Support Groups’ tab. Here is the link to the website The Devon Positive about Breastfeeding Scheme – Positive about Breastfeeding Scheme.


What do I need to know about Infant Formula milk?

There are many different types of infant formula, and it can seem confusing when you see lots of different ones on the shelf in the supermarket.  However, as a parent or carer it is recommended that infants who are formula or mixed fed should be given a first infant milk (sometimes called first stage or stage 1 milk) throughout the first year of life.

All infant formula on the UK market must meet compositional regulations and expensive brands meet the same compositional standards as cheaper brands.  If you would like to read more information on infant formulas and have your questions answered, please have a look at the information for parents and carers on the First Steps Nutrition website where you will find unbiased, up-to-date information regarding the different infant formulas on the market.  Infant milks for parents & carers — First Steps Nutrition Trust

You could also check out our page on facts about formula milk where you will find information on how to prepare formula milk safely, paced feeding and formula feeding when out and about Formula Feeding | Baby | Health for Under 5s.

The Better Health Start for Life website can provide further information about bottle feeding including how to bottle feed, how to make up a feed and common bottle feeding challenges and what you can do about them – Bottle feeding – Start for Life – NHS (


What does ‘Responsive’ bottle feeding mean?

If you are giving your baby milk from a bottle, whether that be expressed breast milk or formula it is important to always feeding responsively. This means offering feeds when baby shows the feeding cues, holding your baby close and giving eye contact and limiting the number of those that offer the bottle feeds to the primary carers only. Using paced feeding techniques during a bottle feeding helps baby to control the volume and flow of the feed. Babies should never be forced to finish a feed and they should never be left to feed alone. This video shows how to responsively bottle feed a baby using the paced feeding method –  Responsive bottle feeding ( / The dangers of prop feeding and bottle propping – Health Under 5s ( / Infant formula and responsive bottle feeding (


Other useful links/resources:

Have your say

Help us improve the local information on this website and give us feedback about any contacts you have had with our service by completing the Devon Public Health Nursing feedback form.

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Devon County Council runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called ChatHealth. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health nurse (health visitor/school nurse) within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens. You can also call our Public Health Nursing hubs on the numbers listed below.

If you are concerned about the safety of a child in Devon, contact our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0345 155 1071 or email with as much information as possible.

This page was last reviewed on 03-04-2024

This page will be next reviewed on 03-04-2027