Holding your baby close to you and noticing and responding to their individual cues such as for comfort, hunger, tiredness and fullness can help your baby to feel safe, loved and understood.
Why is it important?
New babies have a strong need to be close to their parents and will need to be fed often during the day and the night. As soon as your baby is born and if you are both well, holding your baby close against your skin can calm her, help regulate her breathing and temperature and help you both to get to know each other forming the beginnings of a close and loving relationship. Research shows that breastfeeding helps to provide a strong foundation and has many protective factors for mothers and babies.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, you can get support from your midwife, health visitor or local breastfeeding support services to ensure that your child is thriving physically and emotionally.
First point of contact
Your health visitor will make contact with you between day 10-14 and provide you with an opportunity to share your feelings about how feeding your baby is going, checking that you and your baby are doing well. They will support you to feed your infant in a responsive way which, in addition to providing your baby’s nutritional needs, will also meet their emotional needs, support their brain development and promote improved health and wellbeing for the whole of your family.
Local services and information
- Hackney and City Health Visiting service
020 7683 4151 (9-5pm Monday–Friday)
- Infant feeding information and advice (Homerton University Hospital)
- Get help for your mental health (Talk Changes)
- Parenting and mental health support for children, young people and their families
- Hackney Support for Early Years (Local Offer)
Useful Hackney and City Health Visiting web pages
Healthy Start vouchers
If you are pregnant or have children under the age of 4 and are receiving certain benefits or are under 18, you may be able to access the Healthy Start vouchers. You can use the vouchers to buy fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables, fresh, dried or tinned pulses, plain cow's milk and infant formula from any shop or supermarket registered to take part in the scheme.
- From April 2021, the value of Healthy Start vouchers have increased from £3.10 to £4.25. Children under the age of 1 year, receive two vouchers each week worth £8.50
Check the Healthy Start website for more information on how to register and to find out if you are eligible.
A health professional signature is no longer required on a Healthy Start voucher application.
- Access the Healthy Start application form
- Call the Healthy Start voucher helpline on 0345 607 6823 to be sent a form in the post
Free vitamins in Hackney and City
Free vitamins are available to help your baby and young children grow up strong and healthy and help you maintain your health during pregnancy and after birth.
If you live in or go to the GP in City and Hackney, free vitamins are available for pregnant women, new mothers and children under 4 years.
- Find information about free vitamins and food vouchers in Hackney and City
- Find out about Hackney Food Bank
Mental health and wellbeing
- Building a Happy Baby Leaflet (UNICEF)
- Getting to know your baby films (Association of Infant Mental Health)
- Why is my baby crying?
- Understanding your babies crying
- Postnatal depression leaflet
- Your new baby, your family and you leaflet
- Every Mind Matters
- Infant Feeding (NHS)
- *COVID-19 Resource* Breastfeeding support in the UK
- Infant feeding tips (Institute of Health Visiting)
- Breastfeeding videos
- How to make up an infant formula feed (NHS)
- Start 4 Life - Infant feeding
- Your baby's height and weight (NHS)
- Singing while feeding video (Tiny Happy People)
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