Breastfeeding is the best way of feeding, both for mums and babies. However not all mums can, or choose to, exclusively breastfeed. If mums do decide to introduce formula feeds, there are ways you can support them to continue partial breastfeeding as much as possible, help prevent overfeeding and ensure that they are making up the bottles correctly and safely.
When exclusive breastfeeding is not possible, the Unicef Guide to the Baby Friendly Initiative Standards advises healthcare professionals to encourage mums to maximise the amount of breast milk their baby receives.1
The Guide suggests responsive formula-feeding as a way to prevent overfeeding. Please see our summary of this advice in the Tips on responsive feeding. The Guide also outlines the importance of ensuring mums have the information to make up feeds correctly and safely.
This section also includes helpsheets on how to sterilise and how to prepare a bottle-feed.
- Partial breastfeeding can be supported in mums who decide to formula-feed
- Responsive bottle-feeding may reduce over-feeding and undesirable rapid growth
- Useful tips at unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly
- If exclusive breastfeeding is not possible, combination feeding is the next-best option
- When bottle-fed, baby’s cues will show when hungry or full
- Pace the bottle-feed so the baby is not feeding when full