The Public Health Nursing team are there to give support and clear information during pregnancy and after birth to enable parents to make a fully informed decision as to how they feed their babies. We can support you through the early months after birth, and offer guidance about introducing solid foods and how best to ensure that you provide a balanced diet for your baby.
Welcome to the Virgin Care Infant Feeding service
You can find useful advice and information, links, leaflets and details on how to access the service on this page. This is most useful for parents wanting to know more or experiencing problems with feeding their baby and breastfeeding.
Guidance and helpful information
As part of becoming baby friendly, we have seen many changes and improvements made to health teams and children’s centre’s working together to offer support to all expectant and new parents.
The following applies to all parents, however you choose to feed your baby.
Skin to skin
Skin to skin contact with your baby, wherever possible, and for as long as possible after birth helps to:
- maintain baby’s temperature
- calm and soothe both baby and mother
- get breastfeeding off to a good start
- calm and soothe a crying baby and relax mums at any time
Skin to skin contact is a great opportunity for Dads, partners and other close family members to increase close bonds with the baby and also has a calming effect.
This is a relaxed and laid back approach to spending quality time with your baby while feeding. There is no right or wrong way, you simply sit back and allow mother and baby to find a comfortable position to feed. This also allows baby’s natural behaviours to take place to make feeding easier and is promoted however you choose to feed your baby.
Keeping mum and baby together
Wherever possible it is important for mother and baby to be kept together at home and in hospital after birth as this allows mothers to recognise feeding cues, get to know her baby and her baby’s needs as well as for baby to recognise his/her mother.
This was previously referred to as ‘demand’ or ‘baby led’ feeding and applies to both breastfeeding and formula feeding mothers and babies. This is holding your baby close and letting mother and baby feed in response to their needs, e.g. when baby shows signs of hunger or needs to be comforted, if the mother needs to feed or simply wants a rest.
The same ‘Feeding your baby’ antenatal session is used across Devon by children’s centres. The session gives information about close and loving infant feeding relationships and the importance of these for bonding, mother and baby’s physical and emotional health and development, however you choose to feed your baby. Ask about these sessions at your local children’s centre.
We understand that you may want to read more about feeding your baby so we have pulled together a number of essential guides to help support you through this important time. Please find a selection of helpful links to the right of the page.
How we can help
The feeding your baby initiative provides support to parents and expectant parents across Devon.
We are part of the baby friendly initiative project that is supported by health visiting teams county wide.
What happens next?
All pregnant women will be given the opportunity to discuss making a relationship with their unborn baby and what their thoughts and feelings are about feeding their baby on a one-to-one basis with a midwife and/or a health visitor by 36 weeks of pregnancy. At the new birth visit, the health visitor will assess the mother and baby’s progress and an individualised plan of care will be developed as necessary.
Some children’s centres offer support group drop-ins which may be facilitated by a number of health professionals and/or peer supporters.