Feeding Your Baby

he BHSCT Maternity Services believe that breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby as it provides important short and long term health benefits for both you and your baby. The Maternity Services are ‘Baby Friendly’ accredited and as such strive to ensure they provide high standards of support in relation to Infant Feeding whatever the chosen method.

For more information on the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative and the standards www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/


Trained maternity staff will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the benefits and management of breastfeeding before your baby is born. Useful conversations for all parents include:-

  • Skin to skin contact following the birth and in the early weeks for calming, bonding, supporting optimal brain development and for geting breastfeeding off to a good start. View Skin to Skin contact


  • Keeping mother and baby close (rooming in) - helps support responsive feeding behaviour, helps mothers recognise feeding cues and enables mother and baby to ‘get to know’ each other.
  • Staff will guide you in the practical skills and knowledge needed to successfully breastfeed your baby. These include positioning and attachment, how you will know the baby is getting enough, where to find help if you need it when you go home. Our Primary resource is the PHA NI Off to a Good Start Book view  'Off to a Good Start'.

  • If your baby is in the Neonatal Unit, then the benefits of breast milk can be even more important. You will be shown how to express milk by hand and then with a breast pump. For further information please click here.

For more information see the useful Full Information Pack
Please view Key Information for Breastfeeding Mothers

An excellent breastfeeding video

The Trust also provides Breastfeeding Workshops please click here and Antenatal Education in relation to breastfeeding.

Local Breastfeeding Mothers Groups

These are informal groups usually organised by health professionals (Community Midwives and Health Visitors). They aim to promote breastfeeding by providing support and information to mothers as well as allowing breastfeeding mothers to share experiences and help each other. You are welcome to attend at any time before or after your baby is born. Breastfeeding mothers groups are held throughout Northern Ireland. Details are available from:

If you are thinking of breastfeeding, we would encourage you to attend your local breastfeeding mothers group before your baby is born.

Specialist Breastfeeding Support

There are 3 lactation consultants working for the BHSCT. If you are having concerns about breastfeeding either in the early days or later on in your breastfeeding journey, the midwives and health visitors in the Belfast Trust are there to help. If the midwife or health visitor feels specialist help is required they can refer you through a specialist referral pathway.  Specialist access is also available at the breastfeeding groups –see rota. Please view Specialist Breastfeeding Support

Formula Feeding

If you decide not to breastfeed your baby, our staff will support you to formula feed.

Choosing formula can be very confusing but it is important that a baby would start on first milk which is suitable for the whole first year of life. View A Simple Guide to Infant Formula, follow-on formula and other infant milks' (Published by First Steps Nutrition Trust Charity)

You will discuss sterilising your equipment and safe preparation of your bottles and how you can bottle feed your baby responsively which enhances bonding with your baby and supports baby’s brain development. For more information see the useful Pack ‘Key Information for Bottlefeeding Mothers’

View the 'Bottlefeeding' leaflet (Public Health Agency for Northern Ireland)