Feeding Your Newborn: Tips For New Parents

Taking care of a newborn requires round-the-clock dedication. You can also begin to form a bond with the newest member of your family. Here are some feeding tips for newborns.

1. STICK TO BREAST MILK OR FORMULA

With rare exceptions, breast milk is the ideal food for babies. Use infant formula if breast-feeding isn't possible. Healthy newborns don't need cereal, water, juice, or any other fluid.

2. FEED YOUR NEWBORN ON SCHEDULE

Newborns usually require eight to twelve feedings a day - about one feeding every two to three hours.

Early signs of readiness for feeding include moving the hands to the mouth, sucking on fists and fingers, and smacking the lips. Later signs include fussing and crying. You're less likely to have to soothe a frantic baby if you start each feeding early.

WhenYour baby might be full - or just taking a break - if he or she stops sucking, closes his or her mouth, or turns away from the nipple or bottle. burpYou can also try can also try your baby or waiting a minute before offering your breast or the bottle again.

 

As your baby gets older, he or she may take in more milk in less time at each feeding.

3. TAKE VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS

Ask your doctor about vitamin D supplements for your baby, especially if you're breastfeeding. Your breast milk may not contain enough vitamin D, which helps your baby absorb calcium and phosphorus - nutrients necessary for strong bones.

4. YOUR NEWBORN'S EATING HABITS WILL VARY

Every day, your newborn won't eat the same amount. During growth spurts - usually two to three weeks after birth - your newborn might take more at each feeding or wish to be fed more often. Keep a strict eye on the clock rather than responding to early signs of hunger.

5. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS — AND YOUR NEWBORN'S

You might worry that your newborn isn't eating enough, but babies usually know exactly how much they need. Don't worry about how much, how often, or how regularly your newborn eats. Instead, pay attention to:

  • Consistent weight gain
  • and contentment between feedings
  • At least six wet diapers and three to four bowel movements per day by the fifth day after birth

If your newborn does not gain weight, wets fewer than six diapers a day, or shows little interest in feedings, contact the doctor.


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