Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

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Responsive feeding and relationship building

During pregnancy, your baby’s brain is growing very quickly, and you can help this growth by taking some time out to relax and talk to him, to stroke your bump and maybe play some music to him. Encourage other close family members to do the same. You can help your baby’s brain development during pregnancy by talking, reading, stroking and playing music.

Below are some links to some short videos from Baby Friendly:

Immediately after birth, the warmth of the mother’s body and the familiar sound of her heartbeat and voice will help the baby feel calm and safe. This special time in skin contact lays the foundation for strong mother and baby relationships. Skin to skin also helps baby to regulate heart rate, temperature and breathing. It encourages breastfeeding behaviour in babies and stimulates digestion. Skin to skin is not just for immediately after birth – it is beneficial after this and often helps resolve breastfeeding issues.

New babies have a strong need to be close to their parents, as this helps them to feel secure, loved and release oxytocin which develops baby brain and helps them to be happy babies and more confident children and adults. Holding, smiling and talking to your baby also releases oxytocin in you, which helps you to feel calm and happy. When babies’ needs for love and comfort are met, they will be calmer and grow up to be more confident.

Cuddling your baby next to your skin allows him to smell you and hear your heartbeat, which will comfort and calm him. This will also help you to feel calm and relaxed and will help with breastfeeding. Breastfed babies cannot be overfed, so you can use breastfeeding to soothe your baby and as a way of spending time together, or having a rest whenever you both want.

Keep your baby close to you so that you start to recognise the signals he makes to tell you he is hungry or wants a cuddle. Responding to these signals will make your baby feel safe.

ChatHealth Logo

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-5 years called ChatHealth. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a health visitor 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 service reopens.

Should you require urgent health advice in the meantime, please contact your GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call NHS 111. For emergencies, dial 999 or visit A&E.

This page was last reviewed on 03-11-2021

This page will be next reviewed on 03-11-2024