Feeding Tips for Newborns
Feeding your newborn is a great opportunity to bond with your baby, and you should try to enjoy every mealtime. For the first few months, you should be feeding your baby infant formula or breast milk only.
Breastfeeding Your Baby
Make sure that feeding is enjoyable for you and the baby. Pick a comfortable place to sit with the baby while you breastfeed or use a bottle. Be sure that you are holding your bottle-fed baby propped in your arms.
Breastfeeding moms might want to have a cup of water handy and a pillow on their laps to make positioning easy. Remember that breastfeeding is comfort as well as food, so feeding often is normal for settling a baby that has already fed. Below are some tips to make breastfeeding your baby as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
- If you are bottle-feeding, hold your baby and talk to him or her. Do not lay your baby down and prop the bottle in position. Infants need to be held and cuddled during feeding and should never be left propped with a bottle.
- Breastfed babies can be held in your lap or in the "football" hold, with the baby’s legs at your side, perhaps on a pillow. Many breastfeeding mothers like feeding in bed with the infant rolled towards them.
- Your baby will probably swallow some air while feeding. This could cause him or her to spit up or become fussy, so it is important to burp your child after every feeding. To burp your baby, sit him or her up on your lap or hold him or her against your chest or shoulder, and pat gently on the back. Breastfed babies might also need burping.
How Do I Know My Baby Is Eating Enough?
If your baby is wetting lots of diapers with diluted urine, then your infant is likely getting enough to eat.
If your baby is not gaining the proper weight, you might need to increase the amount of formula or breastfeed more often. The more you nurse, the more milk you will make. Breastfed infants often nurse every 2 to 2 ½ hours in the first weeks.
When Can I Give My Baby Solid Food?
Solid foods are usually introduced into a baby’s diet between four and five months, depending on what your child's doctor says. If you start your baby on solid foods too early, he or she has a greater chance of developing a food allergy and might not grow as well. Follow the steps below when you introduce solid food to your child:
- Give your baby one solid food at a time to help determine if he or she is allergic to any of the foods.
- Start your baby on iron-fortified infant cereal, and then slowly add fruits, vegetables and meats.
- Feed your baby small amounts of food at first.
- Prepare mashed foods such as sweet potatoes, applesauce, carrots, bananas and peaches. It is always best to give your baby a variety of foods so he or she gets the proper nutrients.
What Foods Should I Avoid Giving My Baby?
Until your baby is one year old, it is best to avoid certain foods like honey, nuts, plain cow’s milk and foods with seeds.