If you are new to parenthood, caring for a newborn can seem quite daunting. One of the most commonly discussed topics when it comes to baby care is feeding. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby, there are several newborn tips that you can benefit from.
Tips for Newborns
There are so many parenting tips out there it can be hard to get a good advice. Don’t worry! The following tips are great to help you get acquainted with feeding your baby.
If you are thinking about immediately bottle feeding or are planning to slowly move to bottle feeding, you may wonder how things work. If you are beginning by breastfeeding your baby, professionals recommend that you wait 2 – 3 weeks before starting feeding with the bottle.
When a mother begins with breastfeeding, it takes time for the baby to be successfully established to the whole process. However if you are planning to begin breastfeeding initially, there should be no problem as most newborns are perfectly fine with using an “artificial nipple”.
When it comes to determining when it’s time to feed your baby, you will learn pretty soon to identify their hunger. Your baby shouldn’t be crying before you feed them—take a look at the following ways to identify hunger. Most newborns will signal they are hungry by nuzzling at the breasts, sucking their hands, arms or shirt, opening their mouths, turning his head side to side, sucking their lips and tongue, crying with short pitched wails.
Feeding Time: Deciding to Bottle Feed
Many benefits of bottle feeding include how it eases the feeding process. Once the baby begins bottle feeding, the mother does not need to be the sole one feeding the child. This gives other family members and friends the opportunity to be involved in the feeding process. Once you’re decided it’s time to get the baby bottle fed, it is important to know that not all babies are the same. Some newborns latch on immediately to the bottle, while others may need a bit more assistance.
While you are bottle feeding, and even breast feeding, let the baby know that the milk is ready by stroking their cheek with a finger or the top of the bottle or the nipple. This will get to baby to “root”, turn in the direction of the way you stroked their cheek. Then you will place the nipple or the bottle’s “artificial nipple” into the baby’s lips. Typically, this is when the baby will start sucking. If this doesn’t work, a drop of milk on the baby’s lips usually does the trick.
Another great tip for bottle feeding is to tip the bottle up so that the liquid will fill the nipple completely. If you don’t tilt the bottle up, air will get inside of the top and the baby will blend their formula with air. This is not good and can lead to gassiness. A great way to get around the air pocket problem is to use disposable bottle liners that deflate automatically and eliminate any air pockets.
Once your baby has reached their fill, they will give signs when they want to stop feeding. It is very rare for newborns to drain the entire bottle, so be aware of this. If your newborn baby starts falling asleep during their feeding, this is usually the signal that they have had enough. If the baby turns away during the feeding, they might be gassy. Take a minute to burp your baby and offer the bottle once again. If your baby turns away again, it’s a good sign that your baby is done feeding.
When breast feeding, be sure that your bottles are clean by using a baby bottle sterilizer. This is sometimes and overlooked product and should definitely be added to your registry as a baby shower gift idea. Having a sterilizer will quickly and easily make sure that the bottles are always clean. With the amount of times the bottle will be used and/or drop on the floor, having a sterilizer is essentially a lifesaver.
Handling the Bottle
When it comes to taking care of the bottles, it’s important to know what not do with them. When preparing the formula, do not put the bottle in the microwave. As the microwave may heat unevenly, the bottle may have hotspots in the formula that can end up burning your baby’s mouth. The best way to avoid this is to run the bottle under hot water.
When feeding time ends, it’s important to note that the baby should not have the bottle in the baby cradle with them. The baby will not drink on his own and this is very dangerous. The bottle is first and foremost a choking hazard. Additionally, having the bottle in bed with your baby can cause ear infections as well as tooth decay. While it is annoying when your baby is an infant, you will just need to have the bottle ready whenever they are hungry.
Preparing the Formula
When preparing the bottle, it is important to follow instructions. Even if you are breastfeeding, it is never a good idea to mix cereal with the milk. It is a common myth that adding cereal to your baby’s milk will help them sleep through the night, however this is a bad idea. Cereal is too complex and it’s hard for your newborn or infant to swallow. This can lead to choking or may lead to an unhealthy amount of weight.
Don’t add anything to the formula. The mixture that you buy has already been carefully formulated and is not to be messed with.
Depending on the formula you have, you may have to follow different rations for the powder and liquid concentration. If you add to little water you may lead to dehydration and in the worst case, make your baby’s kidneys overworked.
As you begin bottle feeding, it can be hard to determine just how much your baby should be consuming. As you work to regulate a feeding schedule, you may fall into the myth that it is necessary to give your baby the same amount of formula each time. However, this is not the case. When breastfeeding and bottle feeding, it is perfectly normal for your baby to vary the amount of milk or formula they are consuming. In the beginning, your infant will probably eat 1 – 2 ounces during each feeding, which will be about every 3 or four hours. As your baby grows, you will need to gradually add more ounces, but going along with what your baby is comfortable with. Your baby will make it obvious if they are still hungry, but you should never keep pushing your child to eat more if they do not want it.
These rules of feeding apply to uses of breast milk as well as those mothers that combine breast milk and formula. A general rule to follow when it comes to feeding your newborn is to take the weight of your baby and multiply that number by 2.5. This is the total amount of ounces that you should be feeding your newborn over a period of 24 hours. For example, if your baby is 10 pounds, they should be consuming around 20 or 25 ounces each day. This means about three or four ounces each every three to four hours. If you really want to break down the feeding times for your baby, you should consult a pediatrician.
Picking the Right Bottle
If this is your first baby, you may not know that all nipples and bottles aren’t created equally. With so many options to choose from, finding the right pair for your baby can seem quite difficult. This is where product reviews and friend recommendation are really helpful. Finding the right bottle for your baby is a lot of trial and error but some of that can be avoided with the right guidance.
Your baby will have a lot of say ultimately in determining what nipple and bottle works best. Some babies will prefer a particular nipple shape to another and can feel the same way about the shape of the bottle as well. The mistake most mothers make is stocking up on the bottles and nipples before actually trying them out on their child. Take some time to see what works best and then get to the store and buy in bulk!
Bonding While Bottle Feeding
Many women may avoid bottle feeding for as long as possible because they are worried that bottle feeding won’t allow them to develop the same kind of bond with their baby. However, bonding is very possible with bottle feeding.
When you recognize feeding time as time to bond closely with your baby, you can bond easier. Be sure to spend time caressing your child as they drink from the bottle and talk to them softly or sing as well. This will get your baby accustomed to your voice and will have them feel much closer to you as well. If you’re looking for ways to bond better when bottle feeding, you must make the time about further than feeding. You must spend a lot of the feeding time lavishing attention on your child while they are nourished as well.
Skin-to-skin isn’t just a catchy thing to say. When feeding your baby or spending time with them, having them lay against your bare chest will keep your baby happy that they are so close to your body. This kind of physical connection will help them with eye contact which can aid in their brain development.
As your baby feeds, be sure to take your time. There is no such thing as “fast food” when it comes to newborns. Your baby should enjoy the cuddling and sucking when they are feeding and be sure to be relaxed and calm as you spend time with your baby.
Don’t prop your bottle when you are feeding the baby. As you get the hang of feeding you may be tempted to prop the baby with the bottle while you multitask. However, this keeps you both from being actively involved in quality time as well as poses a hazard for your child. Propping the baby with the bottle can cause choking, tooth decay, ear infections and more. While you may not be used to taking so much time out of your day to sit and focus on one task, it is imperative that you do.
From the Breast to the Bottle
If you began your baby with breastfeeding, moving to the bottle may prove a bit tricky for you. While many babies transition quite easily, some have a few reservations about hopping on the bottle train.
In the case that your breastfed baby is hesitant to start on the bottle, you will need to slowly ease your baby into it. An example of this is to switch to using a bottle one feeding at a time as you try to ease your feeding schedule back into your regular life. Your baby will need at least one week to get accustomed to feeding off the bottle for a single feeding before moving to two feedings off the bottle. Adjusting gradually will help your baby ease into it, as well as your breasts. With bottle feeding, most babies will react differently. By keeping the feeding time constant, your baby will be used to bottle feeding with little issue.
As you and your baby both grow and develop, you will fall into a certain pattern when it comes to feeding time. While this pattern will not last forever, it is beneficial to make sure that you build your feeding habits on a strong foundation. By taking your time to properly choose the right bottle, position, bottle sterilizer and spending time carefully feeding your baby, you are well on your way to acing parenthood. Being a mom (or dad) is tough, but we hope with these tips your life can be a bit easier!