COVID19 Update - Information on breastfeeding and bottle feeding your baby during the Covid19 pandemic can be found on the UNICEF Baby Friendly website This information is regularly updated and includes guidelines on:
- Continuing to breastfeed your baby even if you have symptoms of the virus (due to the protection it gives)
- Maximising breastmilk for your baby if you are mixed feeding and relactation guidance if you are looking to resume breastfeeding after a break
- Bottle feeding - additional hygiene guidance and what to do if you can't find your normal brand
Whilst our face to face support groups mentioned below are not currently running you can get still get infant feeding support in a variety of ways:
- Contact your midwife or health visitor who will be happy to discuss feeding with you (some video conferencing possible)
- Join your local Facebook group for virtual support from local trained mums. (links below) Our peer supporters understand the challenges you might be facing and are on hand to answer your questions however small or just to have a chat about how things are going :-)
- Our breastfeeding specialist clinic is still running by phone/video where possible so if you are in need of additional support please ask to be referred by your health professional
- If you're feeling like you need some virtual face to face contact then you can join the local weekly Zoom Breastfeeding support sessions currently running every Monday morning from 10-11.30. We have a weekly topic followed by lots of time for support, chat and questions. Please check our Facebook groups (links below) for details of the weekly topics and register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. On registering you will be given the zoom link to use every week :-)
- National Breastfeeding Helpline are open every day of the year 9.30am to 9.30pm on the phone or via webchat
- You will also find lots of information and links to video clips below that might be helpful
Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby. The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months and continued breastfeeding alongside solid foods for at least the first two years and beyond. This will give your baby the best start in life. However, any amount of your breastmilk will always be good for your baby's health and wellbeing. If you would like to know more about the benefits of breastfeeding to both mother and baby please refer to our 'Essential guide to feeding & caring for your baby'.
Breastfeeding support in North Somerset
There are lots of ways to access friendly breastfeeding support in North Somerset. Midwives, health visitors and local trained peer supporters are here to help you. They can give you lots of information and support if you need it.
Midwifery & Health visiting services
Your Midwife or Health Visitor will be able to provide you with information and support about infant feeding and early relationship building whatever your feeding choice. Both midwifery and health visiting services offer specialist breastfeeding clinics which you can be referred to if you need more specialist help.
You can find contact details for your local midwifery team in your hand held maternity record or through the hospital website, and your local health visitor team in your red book or call the Health Visiting hub on 01934 533300
Breastfeeding support groups
Breastfeeding support groups welcome all expectant mums and any mum who is breastfeeding or giving any amount of breastmilk to her baby. All the support groups are friendly and welcoming and run by local peer supporters in conjunction with North Somerset Children’s Centres.
Peer support is available from mums who have had experience of breastfeeding and who have had training to provide mother to mother support for breastfeeding. If you are interested in training as a volunteer breastfeeding peer supporter and supporting local women on their breastfeeding journey please contact us for further information on email@example.com and look at our information page on Breastfeeding Peer Supporter Training
All groups are very welcoming to new mums, you don’t have to have a problem to attend. Groups can be great for moral support, company from like-minded mums and to borrow resources and get information. Partners or other supporters are welcome to come with you and older children are also welcome, with toys and books available to keep them entertained.
For more information on when and where your local support group meets ask at your local Children’s Centre, or join your local Facebook group:
- Breastfeeding Support Weston
- Breastfeeding Support Clevedon, Yatton and Yeo
- Cafe Mamma Portishead
- Cafe Mamma Backwell, Nailsea & Long Ashton
The Facebook groups are run by volunteer breastfeeding peer supporters and provide information and support between weekly groups. They're a great place to post a question, get reassurance and connect with other breastfeeding mums in your area.
You can also call the National Breastfeeding helpline: 0300 100 0212, for immediate breastfeeding support (available 9:30am-9:30pm every day).
Infant feeding information
There is lots of information available about feeding and caring for your baby and you may find the following leaflets helpful. Your Children’s Centre will have hard copies of all of these leaflets if you need them.
You may also want to watch 'From Bump to Breastfeeding' video clips online to hear real mothers' stories, find out how to get started with breastfeeding, positioning and attachment tips, how to hand express and practical answers to the common problems.
Early breastfeeding & relationship building
- Essential Guide to Feeding and Caring for your baby
- Start4life Off to the Best Start
- Building a happy baby: A guide for parents
- Caring for your baby at night
Introducing solid foods
Returning to work or study while breastfeeding
Many women continue to breastfeed when they return to work or study. How this will work depends partly on the age of your baby and your working patterns but you will find lots of information in the leaflet below and your local peer support group will be happy to talk through all your options and any concerns you may have to find something that works well for you and your baby.
Responsive bottle feeding
If you are offering your baby expressed breastmilk or formula milk from a bottle or mixed feeding:
- UNICEF responsive feeding & infant formula guide
- Start4life Guide to bottle feeding
- NHS Bottle feeding advice
Alcohol, smoking & medicines
If you have any questions around alcohol, smoking or taking medicines whilst breastfeeding please consult your health professional in the first instance. There is also some reliable information in the leaflet and weblinks below:
- How safe is…? Alcohol, smoking, medicines and Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding Network - Drugs in breastmilk information service
- Breastfeeding Network drugs factsheets
Breastfeeding out and about
Our breastfeeding groups are a great place to try your first feed out of the house and build confidence in feeding away from home. Peer supporters can also give you hints and tips on what to wear to make you feel more comfortable as well as particularly welcoming local places to go. Some groups also organise 'out and about' meet ups where breastfeeding women and their babies can meet up at a local cafe.
Breastfeeding mothers have a legal right to feed their baby wherever they would like to. However, in North Somerset, local venues can choose to be part of the Breastfeeding Welcome scheme. Any businesses or venues signed up to this scheme are showing their commitment to support breastfeeding women and make their visit more comfortable. Venues that support the scheme will display the Breastfeeding Welcome logo (at the top of this page) on their premises. Our list of breastfeeding welcome venues is regularly updated with new venues.
Breastfeeding Welcome, information for businesses
We would like to thank those venues that are “Breastfeeding Welcome” for their ongoing support! Joining the scheme is free, and a great way to attract new mums and their families to your business. If you are interested in joining the scheme or know of anywhere that you think would be interested in signing up, then please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
UNICEF Baby friendly initiative
All Midwifery, Health Visiting and Children's Centre services that serve North Somerset are fully accredited by UNICEF as baby friendly. The UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative aims to ensure that the best standards are implemented for infant feeding and relationship building. For more information please see the North Somerset Infant feeding policy in the downloads section and the UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative webite.
Other sources of information
If you need any further information on feeding or caring for your baby then you may find the following trusted websites/organisations useful
- NHS Choices
- The UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative
- The Breastfeeding Network
- Drugs in breastmilk
- Association of Breastfeeding Mothers
- National Childbirth Trust
- La Leche League
- Best Beginnings
- Real Baby Milk
- First Steps Nutrition Trust