Feeding Your Baby

Whether feeding your newborn by breast or a bottle, you may be stumped as to how often to do so. Generally, it's recommended that babies be fed on demand — whenever they seem hungry. Your baby may cue you by crying, putting fingers in his or her mouth, or making sucking noises.

 

A newborn baby needs to be fed every 2 to 3 hours. If you're breastfeeding, give your baby the chance to nurse about 10-15 minutes at each breast. If you're formula-feeding, your baby will most likely take about 2-3 ounces at each feeding.

 

Some newborns may need to be awakened every few hours to make sure they get enough to eat. Call your baby's doctor if you need to awaken your newborn frequently or if your baby doesn't seem interested in eating or sucking.

 

If you're formula-feeding, you can easily monitor if your baby is getting enough to eat, but if you're breastfeeding, it can be a little trickier. If your baby seems satisfied, produces about six wet diapers and several stools a day, sleeps well, and is gaining weight regularly, then he or she is probably eating enough.

 

Another good way to tell if your baby is getting milk is to notice if your breasts feel full before feeding your baby and less full after feeding. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your child's growth or feeding schedule.

 

Babies often swallow air during feedings, which can make them fussy. You can prevent this by burping your baby frequently. Try burping your baby every 2-3 ounces  if you bottle-feed, and each time you switch breasts if you breastfeed.

 

If your baby tends to be gassy, has gastroesophageal reflux, or seems fussy during feeding, try burping your little one every ounce during bottle-feeding or every 5 minutes during breastfeeding.

 

Burping Your Baby

Hold your baby upright with his or her head on your shoulder. Support your baby's head and back while gently patting the back with your other hand.

Sit your baby on your lap. Support your baby's chest and head with one hand by cradling your baby's chin in the palm of your hand and resting the heel of your hand on your baby's chest (be careful to grip your baby's chin — not throat). Use the other hand to gently pat your baby's back.

 

Lay your baby face-down on your lap. Support your baby's head, making sure it's higher than his or her chest, and gently pat or rub his or her back.

If your baby doesn't burp after a few minutes, change the baby's position and try burping for another few minutes before feeding again. Always burp your baby when feeding time is over, then keep him or her in an upright position for at least 10-15 minutes to avoid spitting up.

 

Here are some things to keep in mind until your next routine visit at 1 week:

 

Feeding -  If you breast feed:

Help your baby latch on correctly: mouth opened wide, tongue down, with as much areola in the mouth as possible.

Don't use a bottle or pacifier until nursing is established (around 1 month).

Pay attention to signs that your baby is full, such as turning away from the nipple and closing the mouth.

Continue to take a prenatal vitamin or multivitamin daily.

 

Feeding - If you formula-feed:

Give your baby iron-fortified formula.

Follow the formula package's instructions when making and storing bottles.

Don't prop bottles or put your baby to bed with a bottle.

Pay attention to signs that your baby is full, such as turning away from the bottle and closing the mouth.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for at least six months – though parents will attest that some babies are eager and ready to eat solids earlier.

 

You can introduce solids any time between 4 and 6 months if your baby is ready. Until then, breast milk or formula provides all the calories and nourishment your baby needs and can handle. His digestive system simply isn't ready for solids until he nears his half-birthday. 

Here is a guide as to what you should feed your baby

 

Age: Birth to 4 months

Feeding behavior  - Rooting reflex helps your baby turn toward a nipple to find nourishment

 

What to feed?    -  Breast milk or formula ONLY

 

Feeding tip -  Your baby's digestive tract is still developing, so solid food is off-limits for now.

 

Age: 4 to 6 months

Signs of readiness for solid food 

  • Your baby probably won't do all these things – they're just clues to watch for.

  • Can hold head up

  • Sits well in highchair

  • Makes chewing motions

  • Shows significant weight gain (birth weight has doubled) and weighs about 13 pounds or more

  • Shows interest in food

  • Can close mouth around a spoon

  • Can move food from front to back of mouth

  • Can move tongue back and forth, but is losing tendency to push food out with tongue

  • Seems hungry after 8 to 10 feedings of breast milk or 40 oz. of formula in a day

  • Is teething

 

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS

  • Pureed food (like sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, apples, bananas, peaches, or pears) or semi-liquid iron-fortified cereal

 

How much per day

  • Begin with about 1 teaspoon pureed food or cereal. Mix cereal with 4 to 5 teaspoons breast milk or formula (it'll be very runny).

  • Increase to 1 tablespoon of pureed food, or 1 tablespoon of cereal mixed with breast milk or formula, twice a day. If giving cereal, gradually thicken the consistency by using less liquid.

 

Feeding tips

  • If your baby won't eat what you're offering on the first try, offer it again in a few days.

 

Age: 6 to 8 months

Signs of readiness for solid food  -   Same as 4 to 6 months

 

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS

  • Pureed or strained fruits (banana, pears, applesauce, peaches)

  • Pureed or strained vegetables (avocado, well-cooked carrots, squash, and sweet potato)

  • Pureed meat (chicken, pork, beef)

  • Small amounts of unsweetened yogurt (but no cows' milk until age 1)

  • Pureed legumes (black beans, chickpeas,  black-eyed peas, lentils, and kidney beans)

  • Iron-fortified cereal (oats, barley)

 

How much per day

  • 1 teaspoon fruit, gradually increased to 1/4 to 1/2 cup in 2 or 3 feedings

  • 1 teaspoon vegetables, gradually increased to 1/4 to 1/2 cup in 2 or 3 feedings

  • 3 to 9 tablespoons cereal, in 2 or 3 feedings

 

Feeding tips

  • Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your baby's not allergic.

 

Age: 8 to 10 months

Signs of readiness for solid and finger foods    -   Same as 6 to 8 months, PLUS

  • Picks up objects with thumb and forefinger (pincer grasp)

  • Can transfer items from one hand to the other

  • Puts everything in his mouth

  • Moves jaw in a chewing motion

 

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula, PLUS

  • Small amounts of soft pasteurized cheese and cottage cheese

  • Mashed fruits and vegetables (bananas, peaches, pears, avocados, cooked carrots, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes)

  • Finger foods (small pieces of ripe banana; scrambled eggs; well-cooked and cut up yellow squash, peas, and potatoes; well-cooked spiral pasta; teething crackers; low-sugar O-shaped cereal; lightly toasted bagels, cut up)

  • Small amounts of protein (eggs; pureed meats, poultry, and boneless fish; tofu; well-cooked and mashed beans with soft skins like lentils, split peas, pintos, black beans)

  • Iron-fortified cereal (barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)

 

How much per day

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup dairy (or 1/2 oz. cheese)

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup iron-fortified cereal

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fruit

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetables

  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup protein foods

 

Feeding tip

  • Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your baby's not allergic.

 

Age: 10 to 12 months

Signs of readiness for additional solid food -  Same as 8 to 10 months, PLUS

  • Swallows food more easily

  • Has more teeth

  • No longer pushes food out with tongue

  • Is trying to use a spoon

 

What to feed

  • Breast milk or formula PLUS

  • Soft pasteurized cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese (but no cows' milk until age 1)

  • Fruit cut into cubes or strips, or mashed

  • Bite-size, soft-cooked vegetables (peas, carrots)

  • Combo foods (macaroni and cheese, casseroles)

  • Protein (egg; pureed or finely ground meats, poultry, and boneless fish; tofu; well-cooked and mashed beans)

  • Finger foods (lightly toasted bread or bagels, small pieces of ripe banana; scrambled eggs; well-cooked and cut up yellow squash, peas, and potatoes; spiral pasta; teething crackers; low-sugar O-shaped cereal; )

  • Iron-fortified cereals (barley, wheat, oats, mixed cereals)

 

How much per day

  • 1/3 cup dairy (or 1/2 oz. cheese)

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup iron-fortified cereal

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup fruit

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetables

  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup combo foods

  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup protein foods

 

Feeding tip

Introduce new foods one at a time, with at least three days in between to make sure your baby's not allergic

 

Also See 

It is very common for new mums to think that they are not producing enough milk when the baby is born.

 

In the first few days of life, your baby needs very little milk. The aim is to feed baby as often as he/she needs so your body starts supplying the milk required to meet that demand.

 

Be confident mummies. Your bodies were made for this and although some of you may not be able to, most of you will be able to breastfeed.

 

Especially with good, continued support.  The picture at left  gives you an idea of just how much baby's stomach holds up to one month of life.

 

You ARE making enough!