In the beginning, newborns should be fed on demand, which means, “if your baby is hungry, allow him/her to feed.” Babies are usually their own regulators, he/she will know when they’re hungry and also know when they’re full. In the first couple of months your baby will need to feed in the middle of the night. Eventually, though, he/she will learn to eat more during the day and sleep more at night.
Your baby’s feeding schedule may vary from week to week or month to month. But as long as he/she is growing, there is no need to worry. By your baby’s first birthday, he/she will triple in weight and probably grow about 8 inches!
Whether you breastfeed or bottlefeed your baby, this is the time when your baby gets to know your voice and your touch. It is an experience that will bond you and your baby. The decision to breastfeed or bottlefeed is an important one to make, both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Pros of Breastfeeding
breast milk is natural; meaning it is perfectly suited for your baby’s nutrional needs
breast milk contains maternal antibodies and immunities to help baby develop an immune system
breastfed babies have fewer allergic reactions
breastfed babies are less likely to be overfed
breastfeeding is inexpensive; no bottles and formula
stools are less offensive to the sense of smell
breastfed babies are less likely to have diarrhea
breastfeeding provides direct mother-to-infant contact
breastfeeding often satisfies sucking urges
Pros of Bottlefeeding
mother is not the only feeder; meaning others can participate in the feeding and mother can work if necessary
bottle feeding allows other individuals to take part in nightime feedings, allowing mother to catch up on sleep
bottlefed babies are not harmed by what mother may eat or what medication she may take
parents know exactly how much food baby is consuming
for some bottlefeeding is less awkward in public
bottlefeedings are often more spread out
physical freedom for mother; no special clothing or bras
no leaking from breasts for mother
no need to use breast-pumps
Cons of Breastfeeding
breastfeeding mothers need more privacy during feedings
breastfeeding mothers need to be accessible to the baby at all times
breast-pumping is time consuming, awkward, and troublesome for mothers
breastfeeding mothers often experience leaking from their breasts
breastfeeding does not allow for father or significant other bonding with baby
Cons of Bottlefeeding
bottlefeeding does not provide baby with proper nutritional needs
bottlefeeding does not provide babies with maternal immunities and antibodies
all bottlefeeding equipment must be sterilized before each use
formulas sometimes produce allergic reactions in babies
stools of bottlefed babies are often offensive to the sense of smell
bottlefeeding requires preparation of bottles and formulas
Breast feeding is special in many ways for both you and your baby. Each mother’s breast milk is made especially for their own newborn. One important difference between breast milk and bottle milk is the taste. Breast milk is much sweeter and much fresher than formulas. The suger contained in your breast milk is lactose, which is essential in providing proper brain growth and also aids in the growth of needed intestinal bacteria. Another significant difference between breast milk and bottle milk is that a large percentage, in fact, almost all of the vitamins, minerals, and iron in your breast milk is used by your baby, whereas with bottle milk as little as 5 – 10% of all the vitamins, minerals, and iron are used by your baby. Breast milk also continues to change as your baby grows to meet the changing needs of your infant, no formula is capable of such a change. Breast milk contains protecting agents to help ensure your baby’s health. Among these are white blood cells and immunoglobulins. Both white blood cells and immunoglobulins are disease and infection fighting agents.
Breast feeding can begin immediately following the delivery of your baby. During this time you and your newborn can become acquainted with each other by merely laying together skin to skin. Don’t be alarmed if your baby doesn’t suckle from your breast right away, remember you and your newborn have just been through a traumatic experience and the two of you need time to relax and enjoy each other. When you’re ready you may want stimulate your baby’s lips with your nipple. The rooting reflex, as it is called, usually causes your baby to want to suck. This first interaction between you and your baby helps to bond the two of you. Sucking is a very comforting mechanism for you and your newborn, plus your baby begins to recognize the warmth and closeness of your body next to his/hers.
Below is a list of links all concerning breast feeding. Just click on each to learn more.
The Steps of Breast Feeding
Holding Your Baby while Breast Feeding
Breast Feeding & Taking Drugs (medically and recreationally)
Eating Healthy for Two while Breast Feeding
Common Breast Feeding Questions
Breast milk is usually best for your baby, but if you must bottle feed your baby here are some things you should know.
no formula can be compared to the nutrional value of your breast milk
formulas do not change with the changing needs of your baby
formulas do not contain the protection agents of your breast milk
**Check with your physician before feeding your baby any formula.
Commercial Types of Formulas:
Manufacturers make formula by modifying cow’s milk so it more like breast milk.
– These are the least expensive among the formulas, but preparation time can be significant.
– Most expensive formula, but takes very little time to prepare.
– Iron is an essential element for your baby. Iron from formulas is not absorbed like Iron from breast milk, so you should expect your baby’s stools to contain more iron when formula fed (you’ll notice a green stool).
– Some baby’s can be allergic to soy. Soy formulas are also higher in salt content than other formulas.
– These formulas are to be less allergenic for your baby. These formulas are significantly more expensive than other formulas.
How much formula should I feed my baby?
Up until about six months of age, your baby can consume approximately 2-2.5 ounces per pound per day. Remember though that babies all vary in the amount and frequency of their feedings. Some days might be significantly different than other days. During the first week of your baby’s life, he/she may not seem very hungry, sometimes consuming only 1-2 ounces at each feeding. Don’t be alarmed if this occurs, your baby’s appetite should pick up into the second week. By about four weeks, your baby could take as much as 3-4 ounces at each breast feeding. Between the second and sixth month, your baby may take as much as 4-6 ounces. And from six to twelve months, your baby may take as much as eight ounces per feeding. These numbers are all estimates, always remember each baby is different, especially when it comes to eating.
How often do I need to feed my baby?
Since digestion occurs at a slower pace in bottle fed babies, the time between feeding can be a little longer than with breast feedings. It is up to you to use your own personal judgement about when to bottle feed your baby. There are two types of feeding you can use with your baby. The cue feeding practice is one in which you feed your baby whenever your little one desires. Scheduled feeding practices are when you designated feeding times throughout the day for your little one to eat. If you wish, you can combined these two practices. You’ll need learn to recognize your baby’s feeding patterns, so that you and your baby can enjoy feedings and both of you can experience less fussiness. During the first couple of weeks babies can usually last anywhere from three to four hours between their feedings. If it’s during the day and your baby is sleeping through his/her feeding time, you should awaken them for the feeding. By awaking them during the day, you’ll start your baby on a routine and hopefully encourage them to sleep more throughout the night.
How do I prepare formula?
Before you begin any formula preparation, you need to wash your hands and anything you might be using to prepare the formula. You’ll need bottles, nipples, and other formula preparing equipment.
When using ready-to-feed formula, clean the top of the can, open it, and pour it into a sterile bottle.
When making liquid or powdered formulas, you’ll need to boil tap or bottled water for about five to seven minutes. Allow to cool. The liquid or powdered formula will have a prescribed amount of water for its preparation, obtain this from the containers of each formula. Using this method you should be making about six bottles at a time, so you’ll need to refrigerate the extra bottles and warm them at a later time.
**Never use any formula that has been in your refrigerator longer than 48 hours!
**Never use leftover formula, or any formula left unrefridgerated for more than three hours!
**Never leave your baby unattended while bottle feeding!
What do I need to bottle feed my baby?
Plastic is a safe material to use with your baby, even though glass has it’s benefits, it is capable of breaking and therefore not worth the worry. There are many different types of bottles on the market, ask your physician which one he/she recommends for your baby.
Three types of nipples can be used during bottle feeding: the expandable nubbin nipple, the standard bulb nipple, or the orthodontic nipple. All three types are available at your local department or grocery store. Experimentation with each nipple and your baby will help you determine which nipple is best for your baby.
How do I sterilize my baby’s bottles and nipples?
Nipples should be sterilized before their first use; to sterilize your nipples place them in boiling water for about five minutes.
Dishwashers with water temperatures of 180 F or higher will properly sterilize your bottles during the washing cycle.
If you do not have a dishwasher, bottles should be cleaned in hot, soapy water being sure to remove all milk residue from the bottle. Then the bottles, nipples, and any other accessories should be placed in a covered pot of boiling water for ten minutes. Allow the contents of the pot to cool with the cover still on, and then place them on a clean towel to dry.
Bottle Feeding Pointers:
Your baby may like his/her bottle slightly warmed. Fill a coffee mug or container about three quarters of the way full with hot tap water. Make sure whatever you use is large enough to fit your bottle inside. Place the bottle inside the container and allow a few minutes for the milk to warm up.
Try and keep air out of the nipple while your baby is feeding, this can lessen your baby’s spitting up.
Make sure that the hole in your baby’s nipple is not too big or too small. If your baby seems to be choking on the milk, chances are the nipple hole is too big. If your baby is struggling to suck, chances are the nipple hole is too small. Turn your bottle upside down, and watch the milk drip out. If the milk is moving faster or slower than one drop per second, the hole is the incorrect size and the nipple needs to be changed.
Babies do not always need to finish their entire bottle. Never force feed it to them.
How do I burp my baby?
Three positions can help you in burping your baby. One is to sit your baby upright with one hand on the front of your baby’s chest allowing the baby’s weight to rest in your hand, use the other hand to firmly rub or pat your baby’s back. A second position for burping is to place your baby well up on your should and to firmly pat or rub his/her back. A third position is lay your baby across your knees. If your baby doesn’t burp within a minute or so, don’t be alarmed, you can try again in a couple of minutes. Don’t feel as though you must get a burp out of your baby as long as your baby does not appear to have any discomfort following a feeding, there’s no need to worry. Sometimes it is more beneficial to burp your baby throughout his/her feeding. Whichever method works best for you and your baby is the one you should use.
Burping & Spitting Up
Babies usually do not cry because they need burped. Many people believe that frequently stopping a baby during his/her feeding to burp him/her will stop them from spitting up. This is usually not the case. Babies are all different when it comes to how much air each one swallows while feeding, some a lot and others none at all. Babies usually spit up because of their small esophaguses whose muscles are not fully matured, not because they need burped. So, if your baby cries after spitting up, this is not because you failed in your burping responsibilities, it’s probably because of the burning sensation your baby is experiencing in their throat and mouth.
try not to interrupt your baby while he/she is feeding to burp
if your baby falls asleep after or during a feeding, you should place him/her on a side to sleep
be careful not to bounce or shake your baby after he/she has eaten, this could increase the likelihood of spitting up
by holding your baby in a somewhat upright position during the feeding, you may decrease the chances of reflux
Remember, all babies spit up. Spitting up does not mean they are vomiting. Vomiting usually shows up with other signs of illness like a runny nose, diarrhea, or a fever. Spitting up only becomes a problem if the baby does not seem to be gaining weight properly at check-ups or if the spitting up is really forceful (projectile like). Projectile emesis is when a baby’s spit up seems to shoot out of the mouth and across the room.
Be sure not to start your baby on solid foods to soon, this will only rob him/her of important nutrients he/she should be receiving from either breast milk or formula. Around the age of four to six months, your baby will probably be ready to start on some solid foods. Some babies give clues that they’re ready to start solid foods, such as: they do not seem completely satisfied with their bottle or breast feeding, or your baby will want to eat more milk, more often than usual, see How To Tell When Your Baby is Ready For Solids?. If your baby begins to cut a tooth, he/she might be anxious to try the tooth out on solid foods.
When you begin to experiment with solid food, be sure to continue feeding your baby breast milk or formula. In the beginning, solid food should only be added as a supplement to your normal feedings. Never force feed your baby any type of solid food, and when he/she feels full, do not try to make him/her finish even one more bite. By forcing your baby to eat, you could cause him/her to dislike the eating process, which will lead to further problems down the road…for both of you. He/she will take a solid food when ready, and will also deny a solid food when full, see How To Tell When Your Baby Is Full?.
Introduce each new solid food by itself; usually about 1-2 teaspoons is enough, eventually you can increase this amount. Try the solid out for a couple of days without any other type of solid food, and make sure that your baby does not have any sort of allergic reaction to the solid. This method will help you determine the solid foods that your baby is allergic to or not, see Allergic Food Reactions.
You should start introducing a solid food, by giving it to your baby once a day. Give the solid at a different time than when you are feeding breast milk or formula. Within a week or two, you may want to start giving the food twice a day. Solids should still be given in between your breast milk or formula feedings. Below you’ll find lists of solid foods that you may want to let your baby try:
Age 6-7 months:
breast milk or formula
baby rice cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
non-citrus juice: pear and apple juice
strained fruits: bananas, pears and applesauce
cooked vegetables: carrots
Age 8-9 months:
Breast milk or formula
Baby barley cereal mixed with breast milk or formula
Juice: pear, apple, and a small amount of citrus juice
Strained fruits: peaches
Cooked vegetables: squash
Pureed egg yolks (no whites)
Age 10 months – year
Breast milk or formula
Baby cereal mixed with breast milk or formula Juice
Mashed or bite-sized fruits
Cooked vegetables: peas, yams, and beans
Ground or chopped meat: lamb, poultry, and veal
Mashed white potatoes
Whole-grain or enriched-grain products: bagel, oatmeal and rice cakes
Age 1 year – 18 months
dairy product: whole milk, cottage cheese, whole eggs and ice cream
meat: beef and fish (salmon and tuna)
melon, mango, kiwi, papaya, apricots, grapefruit, grape halves, strawberries, tomatoes
broccoli, spinach, cauliflower
By month ten you may want to start your baby on yogurt. Yogurt is very nutrional for your little one, and most babies find the taste of yogurt to be very pleasing. Yogurt is very healthy for your baby and very convenient for you. Yogurt is a food that you and your baby can share together.
Spoons, Bowls, & Bibs
Mealtime, is usually messy time…be prepared for food everywhere and anywhere.!! Babies have no concept of clean, especially not when it comes to eating. Be ready to clean anything and everything. By being ready for a mess, you’ll lessen your frustration and stress level significantly. Feed your baby in the kitchen, or at least in a room that is not carpeted. Do not allow anything super important to be within throwing distance of your little one, such as: mail, pictures, paperwork, antiques, pets, other children, etc…
Remember to pull your sleeves and your baby’s sleeves up before you start. If the weather is right let your baby go topless during feedings.
the long-handled traditional baby spoon
the demitasse spoon
the key here is plastic because soon your baby will enjoy the art of dinnerware tossing
plastic bowls and plates with rubber suction cups on the bottoms are even better
choose a bib that snaps over one that ties, pull over bibs are even better
if you cannot feed your baby on a linoleum or tiling floor lay a plastic covering of some sort under your high chair (shower curtains are a great idea)