Infant feeding

Accredited as Baby Friendly by Unicef logo We are proud to be accredited as a Gold Baby Friendly Service, recognising our high standards in encouraging and supporting new mums to bond with their babies and make the best personal choice in how to feed their newborn. For more about the benefits this brings, please visit

We offer an antenatal infant feeding workshop and informal sessions before your baby arrives so you can talk to a healthcare professional about the best options for you to feed your baby.

We are one of the only hospital Trusts in the country to have a Maternity Unit receive the Gold Starndard by UNICEF. As we were one of the first to achieve this, UNICEF published a case study on the great work the Maternity Department have done and why our practice deserves this prestigious certification, please read the case study by clcking here.

Our fantastic Maternity Team being recognised by UNICEF for a gold standard of care

COVID-19 support


Video consultations

Antenatal services offered

Antenatal responsive parenting and infant feeding two and a half to three hour Zoom sessions for all parents, partners, grandparents and friends.

These are held twice a week every Tuesday and Thursday from 2pm-4.45pm.

These can be booked at your Antenatal clinic reception at both hospitals in person or via phone. Once an appointment is booked for you, you will receive a text the day before your session giving you your Zoom meeting ID and password.


A Merry Christmas from Get On Downs

Our wonderful colleagues at Get On Downs have made us a fantastic video this festive period, please below to take a look!


Have you had previous breastfeeding /lactation challenges or have concerns around previous breast /nipple procedures?

You can ask your Midwife or Doctor to book an appointment for a one-to-one with a member of our friendly Infant Feeding Team.


Breastfeeding support sessions

The Infant Feeding Team are now holding video consultations to support parents with challenges feeding.

Please note that these video consultations are only for breastfeeding support and not for tongue tie referrals. 

These consultations are available every Tuesday and Thursday between 9am and 1pm and can be accessed via Attend Anywhere, a secure video calling platform that is being used by the Infant Feeding Team at the Trust. 

You can access this functionality if you are using a laptop with Google Chrome or an iPad/phone with Safari. To access Attend Anywhere please click this link:

Once you click the above link you will be enteres into a virtual waiting room and then into a private session with a member of our Infant Feeding Team. Please be aware that you may have to wait depending on how many parents are trying to access a video consultation at this time. You will be supported by midwives and the health visitor team when you go home and video consultations are an additional support if feeding challenges do occur once you leave our hospitals.


NCT virtual breastfeeding drop-in appointments are being offered to all parents during lockdown. Please visit the NCT website for further details on these consultations and the Zoom login details.

Parents who speak Bengali/Sylheti ,The voluntary breast feeding network volunteer organisation has a national helpline: 0300 456 2421. They can be contacted on this number between 9.30am-9.30pm daily. For parents using this helpline please leave a voice message and then someone will call them back and give support.

Feeding your babyMidwife assisting a patient and baby

One of the main things you will be thinking about during pregnancy is whether you are going to breastfeed your baby or give formula milk; this has a lot to do with you and your partner's feelings and the attitude of your family and friends.

The most important thing to know is that however you decide to feed your baby, you will be supported and assisted by our midwifery and neonatal team. Please do take a few minutes to read the information below which explains the evidence to support why we recommend you breastfeed your baby. These will also be discussed with you at your antenatal appointment.


Midwife advising a pregnant patient about breastfeeding We encourage breastfeeding as there are many health benefits to both you and your baby. Practical advice and help is available from the staff within the unit on all aspects of infant feeding.

We would like to encourage our expectant and new mothers to watch the following video as an introduction to breastfeeding:


If you have any questions or anxieties, please speak to your midwife at your antenatal check-ups, at parent education classes, or on the maternity ward.

Black Breastfeeding Week

We celebrated Black Breastfeeding Week by asking staff and patients to complete a quiz that tested their knowledge about breastfeeding. Patients love the quiz, not only providing some entertainment but also informing patients all about infant feeding. Our maternity teams were also treated to some cupcakes! Thank you to everyone that got involved.

Black breastfeeding week

Online Resources

  • Infant feeding web pages:

  • Global Health Media Breastfeeding videos-








  • How milk is made-


Values of breast milk and breastfeeding

For your baby

As well as promoting optimal growth and development, breastfeeding helps protect babies from infections and diseases, particularly:

  • Gastroenteritis, diarrhoea and tummy upsets
  • Chest infections and wheezing
  • Ear infections
  • Asthma and eczema (especially if you have a family history)
  • Lower risk of childhood diabetes
  • Necrotising enterocolitis – this life threatening condition, which occurs mainly in premature babies, is much less frequent if the baby is given only breast milk
  • Childhood leukaemia
  • Cot death.
For you
  • Lowers risk of ovarian cancer
  • Lowers risk of breast cancer
  • Lowers risk of osteoporosis which means stronger bones later in life
  • Reduces postnatal depression
  • Uses up the fat you have stored during pregnancy and helps you return to your pre-maternal size
  • Helps your uterus to contract more quickly and return to its normal size
  • It is cheaper than formula feeding and it is less work as you don’t have to make up feeds, sterilize bottles and teats, etc.

Tips for breastfeeding 

  • Keep your baby close with as much skin to skin contact as possible
  • CHINS:
    Head free
    In line
    Nose to nipple
    Sustainable for both 
  • Respond to your baby’s feeding cues
  • Feel reassured that your baby will be getting enough milk if they are feeding at least eight times in 24 hours, have a changing suckling pattern during a feed and they have at least six wet and two dirty nappies (from one week old; before this your baby may feed less and their urine and stool output will increase daily)
  • Always seek help if you have any concerns, especially if you have pain when your baby feeds
  • For further guidance, please see  Is my baby getting enough [pdf] 510KB.

For information about the safety of breastfeeding whilst taking medication, please visit (opens in a new window). This site has information for every medication and the safety of breastfeeding whilst taking it. You can also visit the Breastfeeding Network website (opens in a new window), or contact our Infant Feeding Team if you have any conerns or questions.

To find further information on breastfeeding you can ask your midwife or health visitor. In addition, you are invited to attend classes that cover responsive parenting and infant feeding. 

We are also very fortunate at both Epsom and St Helier hospitals to have the support of the local NCT La Leche League. On discharge, you will be given leaflets with details of our local breastfeeding clinics, baby cafés and contact numbers for extra support if you need it.

Responsive bottle feeding

If you choose to formula feed, we will support your choice. For more information, please read our Letter for formula feeding mothers [doc] 98KB.

Please be aware that all formulas have to reach a minimum standard, and independent evidence shows that there is very little significant difference between the formula brands.

For more information and guidance on responsive bottle feeding, please see Infant formula and responsive bottle feeding - A guide for parents[docx] 15KB.

Key messages to all parents

  • It is not possible to ‘spoil’ any baby with emotional attention
  • Responding early to your baby’s needs and not leaving a baby to cry for long periods, is good for baby’s development and brain growth
  • We will talk to you about the value of breast milk, and will give you the practical skills and knowledge to support you in breastfeeding

Exclusively breastfed babies can not be overfed.

Responsive breastfeeding is about:

  • Nutrition and acting on feeding cues
  • The comfort for the mother
  • The comfort for the baby
  • Allowing the mum to sit down, relax and bond with her baby.

Foreign language infosheets

Unicef Baby Friendly have updated their foreign language infosheets to make sure the translations for supporting you with Breastfeeding/Hand expressing/Bottle feeding more accessible and printed versions can be downloaded from the Unicef Website.  

Parents who speak Bengali/Sylheti ,The voluntary breast feeding network volunteer organisation has a national helpline: 0300 456 2421. They can be contacted on this number between 9.30am-9.30pm daily. For parents using this helpline please leave a voice message and then someone will call them back and give support.

Global Health Media have created a number of breastfeeding videos in different languages (including French, Spanish, Nepali, Swahili, lao, Khmer, Kinyarwanda) which are really useful to watch with your partner or family to help prepare you for feeding your baby.

Family advice line

A new Surrey-wide advice line has launched for families with children aged 0-19yrs. Please see the poster below for further information.

Interim Poster for New Advice Line FINAL 27 March 2019.pdf [pdf] 560KB

Epsom and St Helier are rated Good for this service by the CQC

National Breastfeeding Celebration Week 2020

National Breastfeeding Celebration Week gives the Infant Feeding Team a chance to celebrate breastfeeding and the benefits it brings to both mothers and new-borns. This is usually a week full of celebration but because of COVID-19 we marked the occasion by hosting a quiz and distributing to our patients on the ward. 

A patient completing the Breastfeeding Celebration Week 2020 Quiz A patient completing the Breastfeeding Celebration Week 2020 Quiz

Even our midwifery team got involved!

Staff completing the Breastfeeding Celebration Week 2020 Quiz Staff completing the Breastfeeding Celebration Week 2020 Quiz

Put your breastfeeding knowledge to the test and have a go at our Breastfeeding quiz parenting COVID-19 2020 [pdf] 867KB.

Please find some further information about Breastfeeding Celebration Week below:


You can download resources to help you share information about National Breastfeeding Week on Public Health Englands website here:

Useful information and resources

Buddy app

Download Buddy App (open in a new window) - a free mobile phone app for parents and parents-to-be with personalised content approved by doctors and midwives that spans from pregnancy right through to the first six months after birth, developed by Best Beginnings.

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