A new standard requiring health care facilities to explain a responsive feeding style to mothers was introduced as part of the review of the Baby Friendly Initiative standards in 2014. This was in recognition of the fact that the terms ‘demand’ or ‘baby-led’ feeding did not adequately describe the way that successful breastfeeding works.
Since 2014, health care facilities working towards Baby Friendly accreditation have made great strides in educating staff and mothers to understand responsive feeding. However, recent assessments have revealed that there is still some misunderstanding about what responsive feeding is and how it works in reality.
This infosheet explores the concept of responsive breastfeeding and bottle feeding, and how this benefits both babies and their parents. It details how feeding can be a source not only of nutrition, but also of love, comfort and reassurance between baby and mother. We explain how these concepts can be introduced to health professionals, and how they in turn can support parents to feed their babies responsively and develop close and loving relationships with them.
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