Feeding Newborn Baby
One of the biggest concerns parents have when it comes to feeding new born baby is scheduling. However, for the very young infant, scheduling feedings may not be possible. Particularly when it comes to breastfed infants, milk tends to be digested so quickly that multiple feedings around the clock are required.
For bottle fed babies, you may not have to feed as often, but there will still be nighttime feedings for the first few months. This is entirely necessary and normal – your baby should not be deprived of nighttime feedings when they are first born.
Feeding routines are good
However, even when feeding new born baby in the first few months, you can regulate the routine even if scheduling is not possible. By setting a consistent ritual or routine at feeding times, you will help your baby to associate the routine with being fed. This can reduce crying and fussiness as baby learns to expect that feeding is forthcoming when certain things happen.
Training baby helps
For example: if you regularly change your baby’s diaper, and put on calming music before nursing or bottle feeding your infant, then he or she will learn to expect to be fed after a diaper change if the music is playing. Because of this, even a fussy, hungry baby can learn to wait as long as the cues are consistent. That means that you must do the same thing, in the same order, every time.
For nursing mothers, it can be especially helpful to divide up the tasks required when you are setting up a feeding routine. Fathers or other caregivers can bring warm blankets, offer to change baby’s diaper, or bring water for the nursing mother to drink. By taking some of the load off of one individual when it comes to setting the routine, it can make it easier to be consistent, even if it’s 2 or 3 in the morning.
It is important to follow the recommended feeding advice of your baby’s pediatrician. This typically means that when feeding newborn baby, you only want to provide formula or breast milk. Rice cereal should not be given in formula to any baby under 4 months of age, and water is not a substitute for proper feeding and nursing.
Remember, it is important for babies to gain weight at this stage for brain development and overall health. Don’t worry about overfeeding a newborn – they are very good about knowing when they are hungry and when they are not.
You may have heard the old advice that you should only feed at scheduled times and that you should not feed your child whenever he is hungry because you will “spoil” the baby. This type of thinking is absolutely false. Babies under three months of age cannot be spoiled. They can, however, learn to cry more and more often if their needs are not met. Generally speaking, you will have a quieter, happier baby if you attend to his needs as soon as possible rather than making him wait and cry for comfort or food.
Routines can help with this process as well – babies can gradually pick up on patterns and cues, and you will soon learn to distinguish the difference between a cry of hunger and one that is just fussiness. When your routines are synced with your baby’s needs (i.e. you respond to a hunger cry with the feeding routine) you can eliminate much of the general fussiness of a newborn infant.
Once you have established a set feeding routine for your baby, you can work on the scheduling as he or she gets older. Having specific times for feeding is easier when your baby is old enough to remain full for several hours at a time. Some infants take longer to give up their night-time feeding, but with patience and consistency, you can soon have your little one sleeping through the night.