Academics at Coventry University have created a new website to help midwives and health visitors support both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding parents. The ifeed website provides tailored information and advice for mothers and their partners to help them make informed and confident decisions about infant feeding. It aims to promote breastfeeding without excluding those who do not breastfeed and to give factual information for helping parents make their own decisions about infant feeding.
The content has been reviewed by several infant feeding specialists and lactation consultants and is consistent with Unicef’s Baby Friendly standards.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has confirmed that ‘the decision of whether or not to breastfeed is a woman’s choice and must be respected’, in a new position statement on infant feeding. The statement recommends that balanced and relevant information be given to parents choosing to formula feed their babies, whether exclusively or partially, to enable them to do so safely and with support to encourage good bonding. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life is the most appropriate method of infant feeding.
Read the RCM press release here Download their Position Statement here
Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) has published its report on ‘Feeding in the first year of life’, providing recommendations on infant feeding from birth up to 12 months of age. SACN recommends babies are exclusively breastfed until around 6 months of age and continue to be breastfed for at least the first year of life. Additionally, solid foods should not be introduced until around 6 months to benefit the child’s overall health. SACN has recommended strengthening advice regarding the introduction of peanuts and hen’s egg – advice on complementary feeding should state that these foods can be introduced from around 6 months of age and need not be differentiated from other solid foods.
PHE has published the Child Health Profile pdfs which present data across key health indicators of child health and wellbeing. The profiles provide an annual snapshot of child health and wellbeing for each local authority in England and sit alongside an interactive version which is available for both local authorities and CCGs. They are designed to help local organisations understand the health needs of their community and work in partnership to improve health in their local area. Annual updates were also published for a number of pregnancy and birth indicators. The breastfeeding indicators have now been updated, including demographic information about mothers, caesarean sections, admissions of babies under 14 days as well as information about admissions for gastroenteritis and respiratory tract infections.
Infant feeding: an interactive e-learning resource for healthcare professionals to support education around the implementation of ‘Baby Friendly’ standards in infant feeding (e-Learning for Healthcare, NHS Health Education England)
This e-learning programme is for healthcare professionals who have contact with pregnant women and new mothers, and has been produced by the Yorkshire and Humber group of the National Infant Feeding Network (NIFN).
It aims to provide information about the importance of building close and loving relationships with baby during pregnancy and following birth, as well as information around breast and bottle feeding.
The drug domperidone increases the amount of breast milk women produce. This review looked at its use for up to two weeks in women with premature babies being fed with expressed milk. Women had a moderate increase in breast milk of about 88ml a day, a clinically important increase for these small babies.
Domperidone is an anti-sickness medication. It has not been widely used to increase breast milk because of unknown effectiveness and concerns that it can cause an irregular heart rhythm with longer-term use in older people.
This review found it can moderately increase milk production. Though no serious or cardiac side effects occurred in the studies, only 192 women participated in the trials, so rarer side effects may still occur.
Overall, the risk of irregular heart rhythms in mothers may be outweighed by the benefits of increased breast milk consumption in premature infants. Informed consent is necessary for this use of domperidone.
WHO and UNICEF have issued new ten-step guidance to increase support for breastfeeding in health facilities that provide maternity and newborn services. The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding underpin the Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative, which both organisations launched in 1991. The practical guidance encourages new mothers to breastfeed and informs health workers how best to support breastfeeding.
Infographics to support implementation of this ten step guidance is here.