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Infant Feeding. Breast milk is the best and optimum source of nutrition. What are the benefits?. The Department of Health and WHO cite research evidence that Breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs for healthy growth and development for the first six months of life

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Infant Feeding

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Infant Feeding

Breast milk is the best and optimum source of nutrition


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What are the benefits?

The Department of Health and WHO cite research evidence that

  • Breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs for healthy growth and development for the first six months of life

  • Infants exclusively breastfed for six months experience less gastrointestinal and/or respiratory infection/ear infections

  • Exclusive breastfeeding for six months is associated with delayed resumption of the menstrual cycle and greater postpartum weight loss in the mother

  • Exclusive breastfeeding supports the infant’s gut function during the first six months of life

  • Breastfeeding mothers have a reduced risk of developing both pre and post menopausal breast and ovarian cancers


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Are there risks associated with exclusive breast feeding to six months?

  • No deficits were demonstrated in growth among infants who were exclusively breastfed for six months

  • No benefits of introducing complementary food between 4-6 months have been demonstrated


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Exclusive breast feeding for the first six months (26 weeks) of an infant’s life

Breast feeding (or infant formulae if used) should continue beyond the first six months, along with appropriate types and amounts of solid food

No evidence to suggest that giving baby solid food prior to six months has any health advantage

Infants should be managed individually so that any deficit in growth and development is identified and managed appropriately

All infants are individuals and require a flexible approach to optimise their nutritional needs

Mother should be supported in their choice of feeding

Department of Health Recommendations


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Breast Feeding Initiation rates have

increased to 76% in 2005 compared to

69% in 2000 across the UK

Breast feeding rates decline rapidly after

6 weeks, so how can Childcare Centres

support continued breast feeding?


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What are the main messages for parents?

  • Support is available to breast feeding mothers

  • Evidence has found many interventions have a positive effect on increasing breast feeding rates including peer support groups, ante and post natal support and targeted health education of healthcare professional

  • Infants can continue receiving breast milk in a day care / childcare setting

  • Communicate positive messages on breast feeding


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Healthy Start

  • Replaces the Welfare food Scheme

  • Vouchers for pregnant women and children under 4 years on income support, income based job seekers allowance or child tax credit

  • Promote Healthy Start to eligible parents

  • Discuss how to use the vouchers appropriately for encouraging breastfeeding and family uptake of fruit and vegetables


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Formula Feeding

  • First milks

  • Second milks

  • Follow on milks

  • Handling formula milks


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Handling Expressed Breast Milk

  • Breast milk should be expressed in to a sterilised bottle, capped and stored for up to 24 hours

  • Frozen for 1 week in the freezer compartment and up to 3 months in the freezer

  • Thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator and use within 24 hours

  • Never re-freeze

  • Bottles need to be clearly labelled with child’s name and date of birth and date


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