Breastfeeding


St. Sophia’s Hospital implements ‘’ Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’’ – the program that forms the basis of the UNICEF / WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and the rules of the International Code adopted by the World Health Organization.

We promote natural nursing and create favourable conditions for the newborn babies to be exclusively breastfed from the first minutes of their life.

What you need to know about newborn feeding

1Exclusive formula feeding
A newborn infant is formula-fed if there medical contraindications to breastfeeding or if its mother decides so.

If need be, infant formula milk is provided to the newborns throughout their hospital stay.

We will also provide feeding bottles and teats, unless you choose to use your own feeding accessories and the equipment necessary to clean and sterilize them.

If you opt for formula feeding and your decision does not result from medical contraindications to breastfeeding, we will request you to include this information in your medical record.
1Decision about the method of feeding
The decision about the method of newborn feeding is left to the parents. The role of the hospital staff is to support and facilitate both methods.

Breastfeeding is the optimal recommended method of newborn and infant feeding.
If you are not sure whether you will be able to successfully breastfeed, you can schedule an appointment with our lactation consultant at any time of your pregnancy.

The choice of formula feeding is not ‘’irrelevant’’ to the baby’s health. If you need advice and support before making your decision, you can consult our specialists in the lactation or psychologic out-patient clinic.
1Ten steps to successful breastfeeding
St. Sophia’s Hospital implements ‘’Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’’ – the program that forms the basis of the UNICEF / WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and the rules of the International Code adopted by the World Health Organization.

The Code specifies the activities which are supposed to protect breastfeeding and restrict the promotion of infant formula milk feeding.
These documents provide the basis for the Hospital strategies to support and promote breastfeeding among expectant and new mothers during pregnacy, labour and post-partum period.
1Successful initiation of breastfeeding
Unless medically contraindicated, the newborn baby is placed in the mother’s arms iimediately after birth. This enables its smooth transition to the world outside the mum’s womb.
All healthy on-term newborns have an innate ability to begin nursing within minutes of birth, so they immediately start crawling to the mother’s breast to get their first feed which will provide them with a huge portion of energy and antibodies. Additionally, early initiation of breastfeeding enables appropriate colonization of the baby’s digestive tract with friendly bacteria.

The initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of birth, with the mum and the baby remaining in skin-to-skin contact, is crucial for the initiation of proper lactation in mothers.
Your labour-attending midwife will assist you with the first breastfeeding.
1First days of breastfeeding
As your newborn baby’s feeding pattern may be unpredictable, you should look for early cues of hunger or readiness to feed, such as waking from sleep, opening and closing the mouth, lip smacking sounds or sucking on own fingers.

Since crying is one of the late indicators of hunger, you had better not wait until your baby becomes fussy and starts crying to begin nursing.

Your midwife will help you recognize your baby’s hunger cues.
Feeding ‘’on demand’’ contributes to the establishment of maternal breast milk production at the level that matches the baby’s nutritional needs.
During the first breastfeeds the mum learns what nursing positions suit her best, how to comfortably and effectively position the baby and how to attach it to the breast.

As your newborn baby’s feeding pattern may be unpredictable, you should look for early cues of hunger or readiness to feed, such as waking from sleep, opening and closing the mouth, lip smacking sounds or sucking on own fingers.
Since crying is one of the late indicators of hunger, you had better not wait until your baby becomes fussy and starts crying to begin nursing.
Your midwife will help you recognize your baby’s hunger cues. Feeding ‘’on demand’’ contributes to the establishment of maternal breast milk production at the level that matches the baby’s nutritional needs. During the first breastfeeds the mum learns what nursing positions suit her best, how to comfortably and effectively position the baby and how to attach it to the breast.
It is also the time for the baby to ‘’learn’’ how to latch on well and suck on the mum’s breast properly.

The right breastfeeding position and correct latching are essential for the baby to get sufficient amount of nourishment and for the mother to establish and maintain proper lactation.
A properly sucking baby does not make breastfeeding painful to the mum and does not hurt her nipples.
It would be advisable to ask a ward midwife to assist you with your first breastfeeding. If necessary, she will give you valuable advice, instruct you how to attach the baby properly and assess if it sucks effectively.
1Colostrum, overabundant milk supply and breast fullness
Maternal milk includes small amounts of colostrum which is secreted from the breasts for several days following the delivery. It is considered a superfood that contains everything a newborn needs.

The health and immune properties of colostrum are numerous; it initiates intestinal maturation, protects against the bacteria and viruses the baby encounters for the first time, helps the newborn pass meconium and maintain good health condition in spite of a relatively small food intake.

If the newborn is put to the breast frequently ( 8 – 12 times a day ) and sucks efficiently, the supply of maternal milk increases and 3 – 4 days after birth the baby begins to get its fill.
At this time the supply of maternal milk often exceeds the newborn’s needs.

Our midwifes will advise you how to cope with breast fullness. Normally, lactation establishes within the first two days of regular breastfeeding, so your breasts will feel softer and not so full.
1What you need to learn before you are discharged from hospital
Our midwives will help you master the basic skills enabling successful breastfeeding:

  • Attaching the baby properly without midwife’s assistance
  • Assessing if the baby is latching on well, sucking effectively and swallowing milk properly
  • Assessing if the breast is already empty and if the baby (if still hungry) should be put to the other breast to continue feeding
  • Assessing if the baby is already full
  • Expressing breast milk by hand.
  • After getting practical knowledge and understanding of the breastfeeding process, our midwife will help you fill in the LACTATION RECOMMENDATIONS card that you will take with you when leaving for home.
1Common problems occuring during breastfeeding
During your stay in hospital the entire medcal staff will support you in breastfeeding. Nevertheless, natural nursing does not always go smoothly.

If direct breastfeeding is not possible because the baby is unable to latch on or it sucks uneffectively and its intake of breast milk is insufficient, we make every effort to overcome the problem. It is equally important then to stimulate and maintain lactation at the appropriate level and to ensure proper nourishment of the baby.

All our midwives have been thoroughly trained in lactation counselling. Most of them have vast experience of working with mothers and newborns. Over a dozen of them completed specialist training courses and acquired the title of International Board Certified Lactation Consultant o Certified Lactation Counsellor.

Lactation specialists are available in every hospital ward, not only in the Obstetrics Department.
If any problems occur after your discharge from the hospital, you can contact the Lactation Clinic or schedule an in-home lactation appointment.
1Complementary feeds / top-ups
When complementary feeds are recommended, we always try to feed the baby with maternal expressed milk; only if it is not possible, the baby will be given formula milk after obtaining parental informed consent to do so.

Lactation room

Our in-patients and the mums who visit their children staying in the Pre-term Newborn and Neonate Pathology Department can use the lactation room located on the 2nd floor.

The lactation room provides comfortable environment for mothers to express breast milk (using either their own or hospital breast pumps) and to clean and sterilize the feeding accessories.
The room is also equipped with a fridge to store expressed milk.

mgr Kinga Osuch

Lactation Section Coordinator


We made breastfeeding video tutorials (filmed on location in our Hospital Birth Center) in cooperation with Swiss-based Medela LLC and under the guidance of our IBCLC consultants.