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Formula feeding

For mothers who have made an informed choice to feed their baby cow’s milk formula, we encourage mothers to give baby’s first feed in skin-to-skin contact.

This is very important for every baby regardless of how they are fed.  It helps your baby adapt to outside life by helping to stabilise their heart rate, temperature and breathing.  Skin-to-skin also triggers oxytocin (the love hormone) which helps you both relax after the birth, aids bonding and of course gets breastfeeding off to the best start if that’s something you would like to do.

Some mothers who are planning to formula feed like to give a ‘one off’ breastfeed after the birth, as this first milk is packed with antibodies and other protective factors that help prepare your baby’s gut.  Your Midwife or one of our trained maternity staff will offer you the opportunity to do this.  They will guide and support you to do this if it is something you like to do for your baby.

Responsive bottle feeding

All parents will be informed about responsive cow’s milk formula feeding and paced feeding, so as to avoid the risks associated with overfeeding.  The recommendations on sterilising feeding equipment and making up formula feeds correctly and safely will be discussed and make the feed more comfortable for the baby.

Which cow’s milk formula to use?

First stage (newborn) formula is recommended for the first 12 months, after which the baby can move onto full fat cow’s milk.  Hungrier baby milks, reducing colic milks and follow on milks are all unnecessary products which are expensive and there is no evidence that they are needed or are beneficial.

The leaflets shown below can be downloaded free from: and  These sites contain invaluable information for new parents on feeding and relationship building.

A baby’s stomach is very small after birth, so baby will only require formula feeds of around 5-10 mls each feed in the first 24 hours.  The amount your baby takes will increase over the course of a few days as your baby’s stomach grows.

If you have made an informed choice to formula feed you will need to bring your 1st stage ready-made starter packs of cow’s milk formula into hospital with you.  Please note in cases where mothers are breastfeeding and the mother and/or baby are having difficulties (and insufficient expressed breastmilk is available) and a ‘medically indicated’ supplement of formula milk is indicated, then the L&D would provide this free of charge.

If you have any questions please talk to your Midwife, or ask to speak to an Infant Feeding Advisor at the hospital.  Our maternity staff are all trained to support you with all aspects of feeding and provide research based information to support your choices.