Health Education England (HEE) has worked in partnership with the Thames Valley and Wessex Neonatal Operational Delivery Network, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, University Southampton Hospitals, Oxford University Hospitals and HEE e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) to develop a learning resource to improve education and training of all relevant staff in the support of breastmilk provision for preterm and sick infants.

The e-learning programme will also enable healthcare professionals to improve breastmilk provision rates at discharge from neonatal units.

The content is suitable for all professionals who work to support to improving breastmilk provision including:

  • Non-registered and registered nurses
  • Midwives and maternity healthcare support workers
  • Medical trainees
  • All medical staff

This resource can be used as a preparatory learning experience and can also be used for performance support by healthcare professionals. The content is split into four main sections:

  • After delivery – what the healthcare professional should know and help the mother to understand before she starts expressing breastmilk
  • Starting to express – how to support a mother practically and emotionally as she begins to express
  • Increasing milk supply – how to support mothers to maintain and increase their breastmilk supply
  • Resources – access to a set of useful job aids and reference tools.

The e-learning programme is available to access for free via the e-LfH Hub and the Electronic Staff Record.

For more information about the e-learning programme and details on how to access the programme visit:

International, EU and national regulations allow manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes to advertise their products to healthcare professionals providing the information is ‘scientific and factual’. There is, however, no mechanism to challenge whether adverts are in fact ‘scientific and factual’ in their content and presentation.

Manufacturers of breastmilk substitutes advertise their products to healthcare professionals in magazines, through company representatives’ information, healthcare professional websites, at study days and via helplines. Many of the claims made by manufacturers are, however, not accepted by scientific bodies, the evidence may be weak or non-existent and it may relate to a product other than that being advertised.  This may mislead healthcare professionals.

This resource, from First Steps Nutrition, aims to unpack some of the adverts that have recently been placed in magazines aimed at healthcare professionals, to show why everyone needs to be extremely vigilant before accepting the claims and information provided.

This resource was written by Dr Helen Crawley and Susan Westland.  First Steps Nutrition Trust is a charity which provides evidence-based and independent information and support for good nutrition from pre-conception to five years of age.