Healthy eating

Feeding your baby

Get information about breastfeeding, starting your baby on solid foods, healthy food for toddlers, fussy eating, free vitamin D and free healthy food for families.

Start4Life provides help and advice during pregnancy, birth and the early years of parenthood. You can also find out more about other health services for new parents.

Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed your baby, it’s important to explore your options. Get general parenthood advice from the NHS.

Breastfeeding your baby

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your new-born and has many proven benefits for mums and babies:

  • breastmilk has all the nutrients your baby needs for a healthy start in life and is available whenever your baby needs it
  • breastfeeding helps mum and baby to form a bond, increases skin to skin contact and allows quiet time with your baby and close family

Get breastfeeding advice from the NHS.

Many places in Southwark have pledged to make breastfeeding mums feel welcome. You can search for a breastfeeding friendly venue.

Breastfeeding helplines

Digital Breastfeeding Friend

The digital Breastfeeding Friend is available 24/7 and has lots of useful information and expert advice. All the information provided is NHS-approved and based on questions asked by thousands of new mums.

Whether you're experiencing breastfeeding difficulties, you've got sore nipples, or you want to know about vitamins and what you should include in your diet if it's a breastfeeding-related question, the Breastfeeding Friend is ready to help you.

You can access the digital breastfeeding tool in the following ways:

Breastfeeding support cafés

Breastfeeding support cafés provide a safe and comfortable environment where pregnant and breastfeeding women are supported to start and continue breastfeeding.

Two breastfeeding support cafés take place every week. Contact your health visitor to make an appointment.

Starting your baby on solid foods

When your baby is around 6 months old, it's time to start introducing solid foods. This is called complementary feeding or weaning. 

You can find expert NHS advice, videos, recipes and tips from other parents on weaning.

Healthy eating advice for toddlers

The NHS’s Start4Life provides healthy eating advice for toddlers.

Support if your child is a fussy eater

Tips for parents of children who are fussy eaters

Specialist nutrition and dietetic support

The nutrition and dietetics service in Southwark provides support to families of children with a wide range of weight and eating conditions.

Your GP can refer you to the nutrition and dietetics service, which will provide you with help to improve your child’s nutrition.

Healthy drinks for babies and young children

Find out which drinks are suitable for babies and young children and using beakers and cups.

Free vitamin D

Pregnant women, new mums and children under four in the borough can get free vitamin D supplements. Find out about Southwark’s free vitamin D scheme.

Free healthy food: Healthy Start

Find out about the national scheme for families to get free healthy food.

Free fruit and vegetables: Rose Vouchers

Find out about vouchers to use on fruit and vegetables for residents living in SE1, SE5 and SE17.

Support services for breastfeeding and starting solids

Find guidance and support if you have coronavirus and are breastfeeding

Getting support in pregnancy from a health visitor

Health visitor services are available. As part of this service, health visitors can offer advice and support on breastfeeding and starting solids.

Children’s and family centres

Southwark’s children and family centres provide a range of support to families to help them live well. The support they provide includes:

  • breastfeeding support
  • advice on starting solids
  • recipes on a budget
  • positive mealtimes
  • cook and eat classes
Find out more about children and family centres

Page last updated: 05 December 2023

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