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Getting ready to feed your baby

Breastfeeding womenDeciding how to feed your baby is a personal choice. You can talk with your health visitor at your antenatal appointment and ask any questions you may have to help you make your decision.

If you’d like to breastfeed there’s lots of support and information to support you from your midwife, health visitor and our local breastfeeding community Beside You.

Breastfeeding is a skill that both you and your baby will learn together. No matter what stage of the breastfeeding journey you are in, Beside You is here to help every step of the way. You can find out more about the benefits and how to get ready to start once baby arrives, or speak to your midwife or health visitor for more support.

If you're planning to bottle feed with expressed breast milk or infant formula, these tips will help keep your baby safe and healthy. It’s important to feed your baby responsively. Responsive feeding means responding to your baby's needs, not getting distracted during feeding time and not encouraging your little one to over-eat or finish bottles of milk when they're no longer hungry. This can mean your baby has too much and can lead to obesity later in life.

Sometimes in the early days, feeding your baby can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, especially if they feed little and often and you have to get up countless times in the night. It can be helpful to remember that as your baby grows bigger, they will get more efficient at feeding and their milk feeds usually space out more as they grow.

Find out more about developing a close relationship with your baby and understanding responsive feeding however you choose to feed your baby with our Ready for baby course.

Supporting you to:

  • develop a close relationship with your baby
  • feed your baby responsively, however you choose to feed them.
  • know when feeding is going well.

Find out more about:

  • your baby's feeding cues
  • the benefits of skin-to-skin
  • feeding choices
  • what's in a nappy
  • responding to baby
  • your baby's brain development.

Book your place in a a group in-person session via email kentchft.readyforbabyproject@nhs.net or speak to your health visitor. Sessions are based on UNICEF Baby Friendly information and led by trained NHS staff and volunteers.

Details of group in-person sessions:

June

  • 14 June, 12 to 1.30pm at Castle Hill Family Hub, Denmark Street, Folkestone, CT19 6EQ
  • 21 June, 10 to 11.30am at Woodlands Health Centre, 7 Allington Road, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, TN12 6AX
  • 25 June, 12.30 to 2pm, at Seashells Family Hub (Sheerness) Family Hub, Rose Street, Sheerness, ME12 1AW

July

  • 2 July, 12 to 1.30pm at Herne Bay Family Hub, Kings Road, Herne Bay, CT6 5RG
  • 17 July, 1 to 2.30pm at room 39, Dover Health Centre, Maison Dieu Road, Dover CT16 1RH
  • 19 July, 12 to 1.30pm, at Castle Hill Family Hub, Denmark Street, Folkestone, CT19 6EQ
  • 19 July, 10 to 11.30am, at Woodlands Health Centre, 7 Allington Road, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, TN12 6AX

August

  • 6 August, 12 to 1.30pm at Herne Bay Family Hub, Kings Road, Herne Bay, CT6 5RG
  • 14 August, 1 to 2.30pm at room 39, Dover Health Centre, Maison Dieu Road, Dover CT16 1RH
  • 20 August, 12.30 – 2pm, at Seashells Family Hub (Sheerness) Family Hub, Rose Street, Sheerness, ME12 1AW
  • 23 August, 12 to 1.30pm, at Castle Hill Family Hub, Denmark Street, Folkestone, CT19 6EQ
  • 23 August, 10 to 11.30am at Woodlands Health Centre, 7 Allington Road, Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, TN12 6AX

September

  • 3 September, 12 to 1.30pm at Herne Bay Family Hub, Kings Road, Herne Bay, CT6 5RG

October

  • 1 October, 12 to 1.30pm at Herne Bay Family Hub, Kings Road, Herne Bay, CT6 5RG

November

  • 5 November, 12 to 1.30pm at Herne Bay Family Hub, Kings Road, Herne Bay, CT6 5RG

December

  • 3 December, 12 to 1.30pm at Herne Bay Family Hub, Kings Road, Herne Bay, CT6 5RG

UNICEF

Virtual session dates - please click to book 

You can also watch our pre-recorded narrated PowerPoint presentation below if you prefer.

You can ring your local Health Visiting Team with any questions Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. We really want to hear from you if you need our help or are feeling worried about anything.

Healthy Start 

If you are on certain benefits and are pregnant or have children under the age of four, you can access the Healthy Start programme. If you’re eligible, you can get a pre-paid card to buy milk, fruit and vegetables, pulses, and infant formula milk. You can also get vitamin supplements. Eligible families can now get either a free handpump or loan an electric pump for a set period and a voucher for a breastfeeding bra.  

Breast pump hire

Families can be referred by a professional such as a breastfeeding champion, health visitor or other health professional via the referral form. Parents will be asked to complete an evaluation form to help us monitor and improve the scheme. Visit Beside You to find more information and a venue near you to hire a pump.

It is also possible to hire a breast pump directly from the manufacturers Ardo or Medela.

Useful resources

  • Find more information on formula feeding at NHS.uk.
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Looking for breastfeeding support?

No matter what stage of the breastfeeding journey you're in. Beside You is here to help every step of the way.