Infant Feeding

Breast Feeding

Every woman is supported to feed her baby in the best and safest possible way. Regardless of feeding choices and circumstances, all parents will receive support and information to be able to feed their baby safely prior to discharge.

Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed, you will receive support and information that allows you to feel confident heading home and caring for your baby.

Learning to breastfeed usually requires time, patience and practice. The Royal Hospital for Women is committed to the provision of a range of support services during the antenatal and postnatal period that enable women to breastfeed, enhance their relationship with their babies and sustain safe feeding practices once mother and baby are home.

We offer excellent resources for families opting for formula feeding. You'll receive hands-on support and demonstrations on the safe preparation of formula.

Breastfeeding may not always come naturally, so we are here to support new mothers to learn this healthy and nurturing skill, even from the early weeks in your pregnancy. Then, when you have consistent support and advice in the early postnatal days breastfeeding becomes easier and with time your confidence will grow. Mothers and babies room-in and are encouraged to enjoy skin to skin cuddles as often as they wish whilst here at RHW. According to the Royal Hospital for Women Maternity Care Survey for 2017 more than 87% of mothers from our Hospital were still breastfeeding at 3 months.

There is a range of support services offered to women who birth at the Royal Hospital for Women. We encourage all women to talk to their health care provider about breastfeeding during their pregnancy.  If you have any concerns, your health care provider will be able to refer you to the Lactation Service or you can self-refer. Please phone (02) 93826341 if you would like to talk to our Lactation Consultant.

Reasons you may want additional support in pregnancy or post birth are:

  • If you have any concerns about breastfeeding
  • If your previous breastfeeding experience was complicated
  • Pre-existing medical problems or previous surgery that may hinder your wish to breastfeed 
  • If your baby requires more time to establish breastfeeding
  • If you have a baby who was born before the expected birth date

The Breastfeeding Support Unit (BSU) is a unique service offering outpatient and inpatient consultations to postnatal mothers. Days of operation are Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays.

Each afternoon during the week our BSU provides outpatient follow up which is available to women who have had their baby at the Royal Hospital for Women and are in the first 2 weeks after the birth of the baby. This service is provided by appointment only.

Each day there is a Lactation Consultant to offer extra support for breastfeeding women and their babies whilst an inpatient at the Royal Hospital for Women. Your midwife can make the 45min appointment for you whilst you are on the ward as needed. This is a complement to the breastfeeding support offered by midwives during your stay.

The Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) is an initiative/project launched by The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) which guides maternity health services to protect, promote and support breastfeeding internationally. For more information, visit the BFHI page

The World Health Organization recommends babies are breastfed. If you are unable or choose not to fully breastfeed, it is important to give your baby an infant formula if they are under 12 months old. Cow’s milk-based formula is suitable for most babies and is recommended over others such as goat or soy formula. Formula must be prepared according to the instructions on the label. Use utensils that are clean and sterilise all equipment for the first 12 months. Incorrectly prepared formula, unboiled water and unsterilised equipment can make a baby ill. If you are formula feeding from birth, your midwife will advise you what you need to bring to the hospital. You may need to bring a tin of formula suitable for a newborn baby and sterilised bottles.

For more information, please refer to the Formula Feeding Fact Sheet

Antenatal Breastfeeding Education Session

This one and a half hour session is for pregnant women and their partners who want to learn more about breastfeeding. If you are having your baby at the Hospital the service is free of charge. If you are having your baby at another hospital there is a fee. 

Postnatal education sessions

During your stay in hospital, after the birth of your baby, you will be able to attend free postnatal education sessions on breastfeeding. Please ask our staff for more information.

Lactation support in the Newborn Care Centre

The lactation service in the Newborn Care Centre assists you to initiate and maintain your breastmilk supply so you can take your baby home feeding according to your baby’s needs .

There is a designated Lactation Consultant, whose role is to assist you if your baby is born prematurely or becomes unwell.

Sometimes either due to neonatal or maternal complications or maternal choice breastmilk is not an option. In this case the staff are always there to support your decisions in a safe manner that enhances your relationship with your baby.