Common Sense Advice About Feeding A Newborn

Feeding A Newborn

Feeding a newborn can be a problem for some parents. But it does not have to be. My first child latched himself on to the breast within seconds of her birth, despite the fact that he only had one eye half open. His sense of direction was unerring and the process seemed to be a doddle.

Some mothers find the whole idea of breast feeding a bit odd, worry about the shape of their nipples and may never have seen a baby breast fed.

They worry about not knowing how much food the baby is taking and find the sensations involved strange at first. They may even be concerned about what breast feeding will do to the shape of their breasts. Many moms are just glad to have some at last, having been more or less flat-chested beforehand.

‘Breast is best’ is correct in almost every case. Breast milk is not only formulated for the human baby, it contains antibodies passed on from the mother which serve to protect the baby until his own immune system develops.

So, even if you are going to return to work quite soon it is undoubtedly best if the baby receives breast milk at least for the first few weeks. If you want to involve other members of the family in the baby’s feeding you can always express some milk which can be placed in a sterilized bottle.

Electric sterilizers can be hired, but order one early as they are often in short supply.

Milk Changes

Probably one of the most stimulating toys for 0-3 month olds is a great activity mat like this superb one by Fisher Price.

At first your breasts will produce colostrum – yellowish creamy fluid that contains lots of antibodies. After a day or two this is replaced by transition milk – still yellow, but a little thinner. By six weeks after the birth this will have been replaced by a thinner, almost bluish milk. Some mothers worry that their milk is too thin, but this is perfectly normal.

When the baby first starts to feed he gets the foremilk – a thinner refreshing drink. Later the hind milk, richer and thicker, will come. This is why you should let the baby empty one breast before tackling the second one and why you should start feeds on alternate breasts as this will ensure that each breast is properly drained.

At first there is very little milk produced, but the more the baby sucks the more milk will be produced.

If you are worried about how much food your baby is taking, then have him weighed before and after a feed before you change his nappy. You can get this done in the hospital or at the baby clinic.

If you are doing it at home, or have a child like mine who hated the weighing scales intensely, then just step on the scales holding the baby.

Positions for Feeding a Newborn

One of the proven stimulating toys for newborns is a well-designed mobile

Positioning the baby correctly is important. Your midwife will help if this is difficult.

Hold the baby facing you. You will need to support his head. Teases the baby at first for a few seconds with the smell of the milk, stroke the side of his face with your breast. Bring the baby to the breast and not the breast to the baby. His tongue should be underneath your nipple and more of the areola should be taken below than above. Most babies will take a few sucks and then have a rest. This is perfectly normal.

Don’t worry about making an airway for the baby. If he couldn’t breathe he would release the breast. If the nipple hurts then the baby is probably wrongly positioned.

How to End Feeding A Newborn

To end the feed break the suction by putting your little finger into the baby’s mouth rather than dragging the baby off which will result in sore nipples and a screaming baby.

Despite the ease of breast feeding – always available, no bottles, no waiting, - it can get complicated. There is plenty of advice available however. Try Fit Pregnancy for more information.

Common Sense Advice About Feeding A Newborn

A final word of advice – babies can be affected by what the mother eats – citrus fruits and shell fish can be a problem. You will soon find out what suits and what doesn’t if you keep a food diary. 

Any Questions?

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