Tips for feeding your baby
We respect mom’s decision on how she wants to feed her baby, whether it’s breastfeeding or bottle feeding with formula. Here are some tips for both:
Your breastmilk is made especially for your baby. Breastmilk provides the precise nutrients your baby needs and antibodies to help protect your baby from infection. Breastmilk is all your baby needs for the first six months of life. It is best that every mom eats a healthy diet, whether they are breastfeeding or not, but remember that breast milk is manufactured from blood supply and not stomach contents. Some medications may pass through your blood supply into your breast milk, so it is wise to seek a professional opinion before taking any medications. Make sure to tell your doctor, dentist or pharmacist that you are breastfeeding. Two servings of caffeine or two servings of alcohol are considered safe for the breastfeeding mom, especially when your baby is no longer a newborn.
When the baby is latched on to the breast properly, you will feel a tug but no pain. Some mothers will find that their nipples are very tender in the beginning, but this goes away in a few days. Some mothers may develop sore nipples later. This may be due to poor positioning of the baby while he or she is feeding, or it may be because the baby is not optimally latched onto the nipple. If your breasts become sore, do not try to spread out the time periods between feedings or decrease the time for which your baby feeds. Instead try the following:
- Place your baby's body in a side position, facing your chest, at your chest level.
- Make sure the baby's mouth is taking in enough of the areola. The baby should be able to latch on to at least a 1/2 inch of areola tissue.
- The baby's tongue should be under your nipple.
- The baby's upper and lower lips should be flanged outward around the areola.
- If your baby does not come off the breast on his or her own, you can break suction by gently inserting your finger between your nipple and the baby's mouth.
- Expel a few drops of breast milk and rub it into your nipple and areola to form a protective layer.
- Do not wash the nipple with soap as it will dry out the tissue and cause irritation.
- Let your nipples air dry for a few minutes after feeding. Air helps your nipples heal.
If nipple pain persists with corrected positioning, you can contact a St. Joseph’s/Candler lactation consultant at 912-819-8231.
We suggest you encourage your baby to nurse at least eight times in 24 hours, including nighttime. He or she may wish to nurse more and that's okay. The more the baby nurses, the better milk supply you will have.
Let the baby finish on his own on the first breast before offering the second side. You will know your baby is getting enough if he is having three to four bowel movements and six to eight wet diapers a day. If he is not, notify your lactation consultant or pediatrician.
If you chose to bottle feed your baby, your pediatrician can recommend a formula. Always check with your doctor before changing brands or types of formula. When bottle feeding your baby, make a special effort to hold your baby close; never prop the bottle.
It is important to boil water to use with formula. Allow water to cool for 20 minutes. Prepare the formula as instructed on the can. If you are using ready-to-feed formula, do not add water. If you are using powdered formula, measure the powder using only the scoop that comes with the mix. The formula should be room temperature unless instructed otherwise by your pediatrician. Do not microwave formula.
A newborn will usually take between two to four ounces at each feeding. The amount will increase with age. We recommend you do not start solids (cereal or baby food) until your baby is four to six months old or until your pediatrician advises. Water may be given to your baby between feedings if needed, but it is not necessary.
Burping is a way to remove excess air from the baby's stomach that he may have swallowed. Some babies need to burp frequently and some don't. There are several positions to hold your baby to encourage him to burp. You may hold him up on your shoulder, gently patting his back; you may lay him across your lap with his face down, supporting his head; or you may place him sitting up in your lap, supporting the head and front with one hand and gently pat the baby's back with your other hand.
During the early months of life, most babies occasionally will spit up small amounts, especially after feedings. This is usually not a cause for concern. Keeping the baby upright after feedings can help minimize spitting up. If your baby spits up with enough force to propel the stomach contents several inches away from the mouth, this is vomiting. If your baby spits up or vomits most of his feeding for two feedings in a row, you should contact your pediatrician.