Taking Care of a New Baby Article

Feeding Your Baby

Feeding Your Baby
When feeding your baby, you will be holding him in one arm and using your other hand to hold the bottle. The typical duration of a meal is 15- 30 minutes, so you will want to develop a routine which includes a comfortable place to sit.

There is no rushing it, so you may as well use the opportunity to relax.

First Few Days
Babies don't get much milk for the first few days, since a mother's milk does not normally come in right away. The baby does get colostrums from her, which is a thick yellow substance full of antibodies and protein.

Most newborns have plenty of fat, sugar and fluids to tide them over. They like to suck though, and frequent nursing in the first few days will help mom's milk production.

When Mom is Breastfeeding
While the first days of breastfeeding may be frustrating, when they do start nursing, babies are little eating machines. Relative to their body weight, they eat two to three times more than an obese adult, which places a major responsibility on mom.

When she is breastfeeding, you can help out tremendously by bringing her the baby and/or burping him or bringing mom a drink or snack.

Introducing the Bottle
After a few weeks of breastfeeding, you can start introducing a bottle (if you try too soon, your baby might prefer it and not want to go back to mom's breast).

Your mate can express milk during the day so you can help out with feeding, particularly at night or when she needs some time for herself (otherwise her outings or sleep are limited to the times between nursing).

Breast milk should be stored in bottles in the refrigerator or freezer with the date marked on a label. You can store breast milk at room temperature for 6-10 hours and in the refrigerator for 5 days.

You can also freeze it for up to 6 months, and after you thaw it, you can keep it refrigerated for 24 hours. Never re-freeze breast milk. To use, warm the milk in the bottle (see note below), get your baby positioned in your arm or on your lap, and bring the bottle's nipple to her lips.

Once she feels the nipple and tastes the milk, she should start sucking. Move the nipple into her mouth so she can latch on and fill up.

Since this is different from breastfeeding, it may take her a little practice to get it down. If she does not start sucking, guide the nipple into her mouth and gently rub the top of the nipple on the roof of her mouth just behind her gum. This should trigger her sucking instinct.

If she gags a little, it is because the milk flows faster out of the bottle, and she may get more than she is used to. Move the nipple out of her mouth so she can regroup, and next time change to a low flow nipple. Make sure you are buying "newborn" size nipples.

Formula in a Bottle
If you are bottle feeding your baby from the start, you'll notice that he might not be very hungry for the first few days, and might even gag on the formula. Don't worry; he's just learning to eat; let him practice frequently and he will catch on quickly.

Bottle feeding involves a system that includes stocking formula and bottles, warming formula, and cleaning bottles, along with a comfortable chair. Get the system down because you do not want to deal with a hungry, screaming baby with no formula or clean bottles around.

Warming Milk or Formula in a Bottle

Expressed breast milk and formula need to be warmed to body temperature before feeding the baby with a bottle. There are several products for this purpose, or an alternative is to set the bottle in a container of hot water.

The microwave is not recommended since it does not heat the milk evenly and your baby may get a mouthful of hot milk. Check the milk's temperature by shaking the bottle a little and squirting a few drops on the inside of your wrist, which is sensitive to temperature.


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