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Nutrition and nurture of the newborn and beyond


Breastfeeding confers many benefits for mothers and babies. Supporting the maternal-newborn bond is crucial for future breastfeeding. Supporting early breastfeeding to build a positive breastfeeding relationship is a vital midwifery skill. Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition for a baby, but it is also much more than that: it is the first intimate relationship of a baby's life and can be a cornerstone of a positive relationship with the baby’s mother. This module focuses on midwifery support for breastfeeding immediately following birth.

Learning aims and objectives

At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of skin-to-skin and promoting early baby-led breastfeeding.
  • Understand the neonatal reflexes for breastfeeding and how best to support them.
  • Understand the key elements of attachment and positioning and how to help a mother achieve this in her own way.
  • Understand the ‘normal’ patterns of neonatal and early infant behaviour in breastfeeding and how to counsel a woman who is concerned about her breastfeeding.

Keywords and linking topics

Breastfeeding, infant nutrition, neonatal development, attachment theory, skin-to-skin, infant feeding, rooming in, infant development, suckling, positioning and attachment, Baby Friendly Initiative, love, bonding, breastfeeding relationship, intrapartum care, postnatal care

Activities and questions at the end of this resource will enable you to assess your knowledge and reflect on how you can incorporate it into your own practice. In the following questions, please select the answer that you believe to be correct. This will be marked and then you can move on to the next question. If you wish, at the end you can return for a further attempt at the questions.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to download and save or print a certificate to include in your CPD/ revalidation portfolio.