Newborn Services Feeding Policy


Reviewed & Updated by Lynley Nichols
March 2018
Clinical Guidelines Back Newborn Services Home Page
Introduction Purpose Scope Associated Documents

Breastfeeding Policy

Artificial Feeding Policy

Other Related Documents


The Newborn Service at National Women’s Health promotes breast milk and breastfeeding as the optimum and normal nutrition for infants. Benefits apply to both the mother and the infant and include nutritional, immunological, psycho-social and financial components.

The cultural, personal and/or physical factors affecting infant feeding are to be respected and staff are to support and assist women in their choice of infant feeding.

This document details the policies and recommended best practices to support breastfeeding the preterm or sick infant within the Newborn Service. It also provides policies and recommended best practice for alternative methods of infant feeding including bottle feeding and gastric tube feeding.


The purpose of this policy is to ensure that Newborn Service health professionals protect, promote and support breastfeeding during all stages of the infants association with the service. This policy also seeks to provide information and skills on safe infant feeding regardless of the method used.


This policy applies to all Newborn Service health professionals and employees who provide care for, or have contact with, women and infants within Newborn Services. This also applies to both inpatient and outpatient services.

The policies reflect the Global Criteria of WHO/UNICEF to meet accreditation for a Baby Friendly Hospital.

Associated Documents

The table below indicates other documents associated with this policy.

Type  Document Title(s)
Infection Control Manual
  • Decontamination. Standard Precautions
Board Policy
  • Informed Consent
NW Policy & Procedure
Supporting literature regarding breastfeeding:
  • Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. WHO/UNICEF 2003
  • Breastfeeding: A Guide to Action. MOH 2002.
  • Baby Friendly Hospital NZ Breastfeeding Authority 2000
  • Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Infants and Toddlers (aged 0-2years) MOH 2012 PHC
  • Interim Statement on HIV and Breastfeeding WHO Sept. 1999.
  • Infant Feeding – Guidelines for NZ Health Workers MOH 2008 PHC
  • Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding WHO/UNICEF 1989
Pamphlets regarding breastfeeding
  • 2007 Starship Childrens Health Expressing and Breastfeeding Booklet
Publications Regarding Artificial Feeding
  • Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding. WHO/UNICEF 2003
  • Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Infants and Toddlers (aged 0-2years). MOH 2012 PHC
  • Infant Feeding – Guidelines for NZ Health Workers. MOH 2012 PHC
  • Guidelines for Interpretation of the WHO International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes in N.Z. MOH PHC 2012.
  • International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. WHO 1981.
Pamphlet regarding artificial feeding
  • Information about Bottle feeding Your Baby (Ministry of Health2016)

Breastfeeding Policy

Responsibility of the Health Professional

Health professionals are to give current, accurate and consistent, non-judgmental breastfeeding information and supportive encouragement to enhance successful breastfeeding. It is essential that feeding of preterm or sick infants is managed in a safe and professional manner that enhances success for the infant, whatever the feeding method.

The respect of, and sensitivity to each woman’s personal and psychosexual dignity is to be upheld when assisting her to breastfeed. It is expected that touching the woman’s breast will be minimised and the health professional will seek each woman’s permission before touching and/or gentle handling of her breasts.

The health professionals breastfeeding practice will be in accordance with the WHO/UNICEF Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (1989), New Zealand College of Midwives Handbook (1992), and the NZ Breastfeeding Authority Incorporated Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, particularly Part Two: Hospital Level Implementation for Aotearoa New Zealand (2002), and the NWH Breastfeeding Policy (2008).

In order to maintain health professionals’ breastfeeding knowledge and skills, ongoing review of practice is expected and will include annual updates of breastfeeding knowledge in accordance with BFHI Aotearoa, 2002.

Feeding challenges and /or difficulties identified

Breastfeeding challenges and/or difficulties are to be identified early and documented in the clinical records with a management plan.

Discharge Planning

Discharge planning is to incorporate written breastfeeding information and referral to appropriate services in the community resources to support continued breastfeeding success.

Artificial Feeding Policy

Responsibility of the Health Professional

The health professional has a responsibility to meet the WHO Recommendations for Infant Feeding, Article 4:2.

The health professional's responsibilities to women who choose to artificially feed their babies are to:

Feeding challenges and/or difficulties identified