Feeding your Baby

We have held the Baby Friendly Initiative for more than 15 years and are very proud to be a 'Baby Friendly' hospital. 

We strongly support the right of all parents to make informed choices about infant feeding, and all Trust staff will support you in your decision to breast feed, feed using formula, or mix feed your baby. However, we do believe that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby and we recognise the important benefits which breastfeeding provides for both you and your child. We therefore encourage you to breastfeed your baby.

If you choose not to breastfeed, we will support you to feed your baby using formula, for instance our maternity support workers conduct daily demonstrations on Shere Ward to make sure you are happy making up bottles for your baby when you go home. 

If you are planning to feed using formula, please ensure you bring the formula of your choice with you into the hospital – this should be a ready made variety, not powdered. We will provide disposable bottles and teats.

Successful breastfeeding

Ways in which we will help you breastfeed successfully: 

  • All the staff have been specially trained to help you to breastfeed your baby

  • During your pregnancy, you will be able to discuss breastfeeding individually with a midwife or health visitor who will answer any questions you may have

  • You will have the opportunity to hold your new baby against your skin soon after birth. The staff will not interfere or hurry you but will be there to support you and to help you with your first breastfeed

  • A midwife will be available to explain how to put your baby to the breast correctly and to help with feeds while you are in hospital

  • You will be shown how to express your breast milk and you will be given information on this which you can refer to once you are home

  • Most babies do not need to be given anything other than breast milk for their first six months. If for some reason your baby needs some other feed, this will be explained to you by the staff before you are asked to give your permission

  • Normally, your baby will be with you at all times. If any medical procedures are necessary, you will always be invited to accompany your baby

  • You will be encouraged to feed your baby whenever he or she seems to be hungry

  • We recommend that you avoid using bottles, dummies and nipple shields while your baby is learning to breastfeed. These may change the way your baby sucks, meaning that it may be more difficult for your baby to breastfeed successfully

  • Before you leave hospital, you will be given a list of telephone numbers of people and local support groups who can provide extra help and support with breastfeeding when you are at home.

When to feed your baby

It is common for the length and frequency of feeds to vary. However, your baby should feed a minimum of eight times in 24 hours. 

Remember that breast milk is also a thirst quencher, pain relief and offers comfort for your baby as well as passing over your immunity. Be guided by your baby’s feeding cues, crying is the last cue. Your breasts will also tell you when to feed your baby, if you are feeling full offer your baby a feed.

Signs that breastfeeding is going well

You should be able to hear and see rhythmical swallows, and there should be plenty of wet, heavy nappies. Therefore, your baby's stool should develop as such:

  • Meconium (black and sticky) on day one and two 
  • Changing stool (green like pesto) on day three and four
  • Yellow (like whole grain mustard) on day five.

By day five your baby should have at least five to six really wet nappies per day plus at least three poos the size of a 50 pence piece. A breastfed baby should have dirty nappies every day until they are four to six weeks old. Please contact a member of staff if your baby has not had their bowels open for 24 hours in the first 10 days so that a feed assessment can be performed.

Positioning your baby

Using the cross cradle position the staff will recommend you position your baby using the below guide. We refer to this as the 'CHINS' tool: 

  • Close 
  • Head free 
  • In line 
  • Nose to nipple 
  • Sustainable.

We recommend you then follow these steps: 

  • First of all make sure you are in a comfortable position so you are able to sustain the position

  • Using the opposite hand from the breast you are about to use, bring your baby in close by running your arm along the spine, finger and thumb under the ears (a bit like holding a bagpipe) and little finger under your baby’s arm pit

  • Allow your baby’s head to be free, to tilt back, which will enable their chin to lead. Contact through your baby’s shoulders with the heal of your hand will support this movement

  • Their head and bottom should be in line so your baby is not having to turn to the breast

  • With your baby’s chin touching the breast your nipple should be in line with your baby's nose. This will enable your nipple to run along your baby’s palate allowing for a comfy feed

  • Your other hand should be cupping your breast but not moving it out of its natural position. Once your baby is attached well you can swap hands by keeping pressure on your baby’s back

When positoning your baby at the breast, try not to use a pillow to support your baby. It changes the angle at which your baby comes to the breast which can make your nipples sore and affect milk transfer. 

Once your baby is feeding, look and listen for swallows. 

Positioning recap 

Make sure you are in a comfortable, sustainable position. The feed may last an hour. If your baby falls asleep at the breast do not assume the feed is finished, wake and offer again.

  • Your baby’s head and body should be in a straight line

  • Chin indenting the breast with the nipple resting across the top lip and up their nose

  • Ensure your baby’s bottom lip touches your breast well away from the base of the nipple

  • Wait for your baby to open the mouth widely and reach up to the breast

  • Flick your nipple into their mouth using your thumb

  • Aim your nipple to the roof of your baby’s mouth.

Signs of a good attachment 

  • Your baby should be content at the breast

  • Rapid sucks initially turning to slow deep sucks with swallows

  • Chin indenting the breast

  • Cheeks rounded and no dipping in

  • No pain for you after the initial few sucks.

Bottle feeding your Baby

Your midwife should discuss the benefits of breastfeeding with you during your pregnancy and also inform you about skin contact, responsive feeding, and keeping the baby with you at all times during your hospital stay.

Once you have been given all the information on breastfeeding, you may still choose to bottle feed your baby with formula milk. The midwives and maternity assistants will be happy to support you to do this.

All mothers are offered support with unhurried skin contact, recognising early feeding cues and offering the first feed in skin contact.

All mothers are offered support to appreciate the importance of closeness and responsiveness for mother/baby wellbeing. To hold their baby for feeding and to understand responsive feeding.

There are so many different formula milks avaliable that we ask you to bring the one you would prefer to use with you in to hospital. As there is no facility for making up powdered feeds, please bring in a supply of ready-made cartons to use during your stay. 

A baby only has a small tummy so one carton will most likely do at least 3 feeds and can be stored in the fridge in the feeding room, labelled with your name, time and date opened. The staff will show you all this when you are on the ward. We will supply bottles and teats for you to use during your stay.

Our aim is to support mothers to:

  • Sterilise equipment and make up feeds

  • Feed their baby first milks

  • Limit the number of people who feed their baby.

Finding additional support after you go home

Clinic Venue Day Time

Babies less than 28 days old 

Drop-in - no need to book

Parent Craft Room, Royal Surrey County Hospital 



Any age baby 

Drop-in - no need to book 

The Spinney Children's Centre, Southway, Guildford, GU2 8YD

Monday (except Bank Holidays)


Babies less than 28 days old 

Drop-in - no need to book 

Forest Hub, Forest Surgery, 60 Forest Road, Bordon, GU35 0BP

Friday (except Bank Holidays)