New mums who want to bottle feed their babies will be given extra support from maternity staff at York Hospital on how to safely prepare feeds during their stay.
A new 'Infant feeding room' has opened on the unit where new parents are given specialist advice and guidance so they feel ready and confident to safely feed their baby on formula milk.
Morag White, infant feeding coordinator at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: "All women who come into the unit are given information regarding the health benefits of breastfeeding, however we do know that around a quarter of women choose to bottle feed. It's important that these parents are given the right information to enable them to feed their babies
"In the past we have supplied ready made formula and sterilised teats for babies on the maternity unit but this has meant that new parents do not always get all the information that they need about formula feeding.
"From now on parents who want to bottle feed will be asked to bring in a small tin of formula milk powder, a bottle, a teat and a bottle brush. Parents will be shown how to prepare and sterilize equipment, safely prepare the milk feed, feed and wind their baby and be given current guidance around formula feeding.
"We want to ensure that every mum who chooses to bottle feed on formula milk goes home confident in her ability to prepare her baby's feed and in her
ability to care for her baby with regards to feeding."
Katie Woodhouse from York, who recently gave birth to baby Harry, said: "It's all a bit overwhelming having a new baby so I've been really grateful of the practical help the staff have given me on the ward. You get one to one help with making and giving your baby a bottle and the best way to learn is to do it yourself. It's my second baby but I didn't get help with bottle feeding the first time and even though it is only two years ago a lot of things have changed. We even get advice on the best way to hold your baby to feed them and how much milk to give them."
The initiative follows an audit undertaken by staff to find out how best to support women who choose to bottle feed their infants, whilst in-patients in the maternity department.