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Suckle feeding: how it works

"the Suckle Feeder is the best feeding solution for mums who want to continue breastfeeding"

Haberman's Suckle Feeder, the infant feeding solution designed to help prolong breastfeeding, will be showcased at the next Journal of Family Healthcare Professionals Conference taking place at the ILEC Conference Centre, London on 17 March 2015.

The Suckle Feeder responds to a baby's natural suckling action, encouraging active feeding and the same degree of oral activity as breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is something that most mothers want to do in the interest of the health and well-being of their child and encouragement could make a big difference. Moderate increases in breastfeeding would translate into millions of pounds of cost savings for the NHS and tens of thousands of fewer hospital admissions and GP consultations. If 45 per cent of women were to exclusively breastfeed for four months, and if 75 per cent of babies in neonatal units were breastfed at discharge, a massive £17 million could be gained annually every year by avoiding the costs of treating diseases in infants.

There has been a drive in recent years to improve breastfeeding support and increase breastfeeding in the UK. The last Infant Feeding Survey (published in 2012) indicated that there was increase in the prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding at birth (from 65 per cent in 2005 to 69 per cent in 2010), however, there was little change thereafter up until six weeks.

Importantly, the fall-out rate in later months was lower in 2010 than 2005. At one week, less than half of all mothers (46 per cent) were exclusively breastfeeding, while this had fallen to around a quarter (23 per cent) by six weeks. By six months, levels of exclusive breastfeeding had decreased to one per cent, indicating that very few mothers were following the UK health departments’ recommendation that babies should be exclusively breastfed until around the age of six months.

Last year, a controversial pilot study in Sheffield to give new mothers £200 vouchers to breastfeed their babies breast milk for up to six months, sparked widespread disapproval. Critics rounded on the scheme saying money was not the way to increase take-up of breastfeeding, and the scheme would penalise women who were unable to breastfeed.

The early discontinuation of breastfeeding is not a decision that is taken lightly by most women. Many mothers are distressed when they discontinue breastfeeding and this distress can be exacerbated by guilt, inadequacy and failure, or the condemnation of others. Sadly, once conventional bottle-feeding is started, babies frequently reject the breast in favour of a bottle if they have to work less actively. Giving conventional bottles to young, breastfeeding babies often leads to nipple confusion because the basic mechanical differences between how a baby draws milk from a conventional bottle and how a baby breastfeeds, are different.

Women in the UK often use mixed feeding methods, either out of choice or as a result of constraints, such as experiencing feeding problems or having to be away from their baby but, until now, no feeding solution has existed that nursing mothers could turn to that mirrored the mechanics of breastfeeding, providing reassurance, more flexibility and more encouragement to breastfeed for longer.

Over the last 150 years, the baby bottle and teat has seen a multitude of ameliorations and many aesthetic improvements. However, popular vented baby bottles have been teaching babies a different way to feed. In spite of numerous claims and counter-claims, until the development of the Suckle Feeder, no technological advances had been made that enabled babies to actively suckle when bottle-feeding.

Suckle feeding properly exercises a baby's oral muscles, encouraging oral development, actively engaging over 40 individual muscles. "It encourages controlled, slower feeding and longer suckling, ensuring a baby avoids guzzling and overfeeding and follows the same growth pattern as a breastfed baby."

Babies are all born with an in-built, near-perfect, appetite control mechanism. Just as there are critical periods in brain development that allow babies to reach milestones such as the ability to track movement with their eyes or acquire language, so there is now evidence that babies also have a ‘developmental window’ in which to set their appetite. If, during this period, the baby’s natural ability to self-regulate food intake is overridden, an infant is likely to put on weight rapidly, setting into motion biological and behavioural changes that will predispose him to a lifelong fight against flab. Published medical research shows a link between rapid weight gain in the early months of life and obesity, heart disease and diabetes in later life. Child obesity is one of the health risks associated with not breastfeeding. "The majority of babies are bottle fed," explains Professor Atul Singhal of Childhood Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Child Health UCL,"and bottle fed babies need to grow like breastfed babies."

"There are important mechanical differences between suckle feeding and conventional bottle-feeding and "the Suckle Feeder is the best feeding solution for mums who want to continue breastfeeding", can't breastfeed or who aren't exclusively breastfeeding," explains Mandy Haberman.

"We fully support the work of healthcare professionals in their efforts to increase the number of women initiating breastfeeding and have worked closely with breastfeeding mums and healthcare professionals to develop the Suckle Feeder, which is designed primarily to help support mothers wanting to prolong breastfeeding."

"We were inspired to develop this solution for the mainstream market by the Baby Whisperer Tracy Hogg who thought our 'suckling' technology was an 'essential tool for breastfeeding mothers.' It has been welcomed with open arms by nursing mums. Importantly, it provides a means of feeding with expressed milk, while bringing with it a raft of other long-term benefits, not only for babies and their parents, but also for our National Health Service."



Media enquiries:

Pauline Christie
T: +44 (0)20 7917 6804
Media information or product samples for review - contact Haberman

About Haberman

Haberman is a premium baby and toddler feeding solutions brand synonymous with innovative products that help youngsters develop drinking independence. Established by inventor and mumpreneur, Mandy Haberman, the company focuses exclusively on satisfying the needs of newborns and toddlers throughout their key feeding stages. It is responsible for one of the only baby bottles supplied and endorsed by medical professionals and hospitals around the world; its patented valve revolutionised the infant drinking industry. 42 million products are sold around the world every year featuring Haberman technology.

Journal of Family Healthcare Professionals Conference

In October 2015, local authorities will be taking over responsibility from NHS England for public health services for babies and children up to 5 years old, including health visiting and the Family Nurse Partnership programme.

This impending shift is helping to focus awareness and energy on what needs to improve to make efficient, successful and sustainable support services for family health and wellbeing a reality.

Renowned child health expert Dr. Benjamin Jacobs, will open the CPD-certified seminar programme at JFHC Professional 2015. As Named Doctor for Safeguarding at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and part of the 'Vitamin D Mission', Dr. Jacobs speaks to key themes of safeguarding and wellbeing. He is joined by other leading speakers from the sector.

This event is aimed at those working within public health and community health; especially health visitors, midwives, dieticians, nutritionists, school, community and nursery nurses, children’s nurses and paediatricians. This year's North and South events will have a theme of 'Supporting staff to promote family health and wellbeing' and renowned child health expert Dr Benjamin Jacobs is the keynote speaker.


UNICEF Oct 2012 'Preventing disease and saving resources: the potential contribution of increasing breastfeeding rates in the UK'
2010 Infant Feeding Survey
Early Feeding Patterns Shape Future Appetite

Boots customer comments:

"I am exclusively breastfeeding but we bought this bottle so my husband could do a daily feed from about 6 weeks old. This gives me a well-needed break and allows him to bond with his little bud. We intitally experimented with a different bottle also designed for breast fed babies (because it came free with the electric breast pump) but our son was taking in a lot of air with it and dribbling milk all over the place. After a lot of research we went for this bottle and we're so glad we did. The suckle action of this bottle is far superior. Baby is still required to latch as he would with the breast but he also controls the flow of the pre-filled teat (be sure to follow the instructions on this) so it means no air is gulped and no milk lost. He has had no problem going back to breast either. Would not hesitate to recommend to other breastfeeding mums. Its size means it should last him through to weaning. Happy baby, happy daddy and less exhausted Mummy!"

"The product is absolutely fantastic! My baby easily switch between bottle n breast. I simply love this product. The idea to control the flow of the milk makes the feeding very easy for the baby. Like other bottle-fed babies when she is drinking u will never see milk overflowing from her mouth. That proves that when they can't take the flow of milk u reduce it to suit their needs. The idea of filling the teat is fantastic! It makes it absolutely no gas!"

"I had to stop breastfeeding for a few days, and solely used these bottles. The suckle function has allowed us to feed without our baby losing the ability to suckle, and then returned to breastfeeding successfully. We now continue to mix feed without any problems. The air lock is really good for preventing wind too."


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