Being a first-time parent comes with its own challenges. One of these challenges is feeding your newborn, considering that a newborn’s feeding pattern can be very hectic and unpredictable. Newborn feeding is a full commitment, it is also a time of bonding with the newest member of the family. So, here are a few tips for new parents.
So, here are a few tips for new parents on what, when, and how to feed your little bundle of joy.
1- Decide: Breast or Formula Milk
Usually, breast milk is the ideal choice for newborns. Exceptions are decided by doctors after taking into consideration certain circumstances. The only source of nutrients your baby needs in the first 6 months is breast or formula milk. So, decide which feeding method you will choose for your baby. Pick the one that goes the best with your lifestyle and health condition.
2- Follow Cues
Charts say that most newborns need 8 to 12 feedings a day and about 1 feeding ( 1 to 2 OZ during the 1st week and 2 to 3 OZ during the 1st month).
In order to know when is your baby sufficiently hungry follow these cues:
- Your baby is moving his/ her hand to his mouth
- Your baby is sucking on his/ her fist and fingers
- Your baby is smacking his/ her lips
- Your baby is fussing and crying (late cues)
Other cues that will help you know when your baby is full are when he/she stops suckling, closes his/ her mouth, or turns his/ her head from the bottle.
3- Expect a Variable Feeding Pattern
You should be aware that your baby will not eat the same amount at each feeding. So, don’t worry if he/she doesn’t eat as much as they did yesterday. During the first week, your newborn’s feeding pattern may be variable and unstable. Just follow the cues and he/she will get the amount they need.
4- Make sure to Be Consistent
Consistency is important when it comes to newborn feeding. Why? Because any changes may annoy the baby and he may not accept feeding. If you follow certain routines and methods with your baby, make sure that any other member of the family uses the same ones when feeding him/ her.
5- Don’t Focus on How Much:
The most important thing you should avoid is comparing your baby’s feeding rate to that of your sister’s, friend’s, or neighbor’s baby. It is Ok to worry if your baby is not eating enough.
But, usually, babies get the amount they need which is different from one newborn to another. You shouldn’t focus on how much or how often your baby eats. Instead, concentrate on whether:
- He/ She is gaining weight in a steady way
- He/ She is looking happy and active between meals
- He/ She bowel movements reach 3 bowel movements a day
As a first-time parent, the above-mentioned tips will help you go through the first months of feeding your newborn successfully. Don’t hesitate to seek help when things get hard for you, grandmothers are always there for support! Contact your doctor if your baby isn’t gaining weight, having fewer than 6 diapers a day, or showing very little interest in feeding.