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Expert guidance on baby feeding: Part one

In a three-part series, Hannah Spiring, Care Group Community Infant Feeding coordinator, talks about the importance of mother’s understanding responsive breastfeeding and how they can be encouraged to do this.

Posted on: 15 November 2023

Read part two

Read Part Three

As part of the terms of the GP Care Group’s recent UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative reaccreditation in Tower Hamlets Health Visiting and Family Nurse Partnership services it is important that we continue to discuss these areas with our families.

Responsive breastfeeding

There are two aspects to responsive breastfeeding: keeping the baby close and responsive feeding.


Keeping baby close

This will help mothers identify when the baby might need feeding and foster the understanding that breastfeeding isn’t just for nutrition, but also for love, comfort and reassurance for both mother and baby.

Keeping the baby close involves the baby sleeping in the same room as the mother both day and night. By doing this the baby feels loved, it increases the levels of the hormone oxytocin which is key in breastmilk production, and it helps the mother to learn the cues the baby displays when they need feeding. Information about caring for the baby at night and while sleeping can be found via the link below. 

UNICEF Sleep and night time resources

It is important that safe sleeping and safe bedsharing are also discussed. The Lullaby Trust has a useful video on co-sleeping with your baby aimed at parents. 

Lullaby Trust safer sleep


Responsive feeding

Responsive breastfeeding involves feeding the baby when they show signs of being hungry when it might help them to be calm when the mother’s breasts are full, or to fit into a planned trip out of the home, or when she wants to feel close to the baby and have a cuddle. 

As mentioned above, breastfeeding is not just about nutrition but also about love, comfort and reassurance between mother and baby. Breastfeeding responsively makes life easier for parents and it is the way nature designed breastfeeding to be. It isn’t possible to overfeed a breastfed baby.

More details about responsiveness can be found on the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative website 

UNICEF breastfeeding resource


For more information, please email Hannah: