Feeding Your Baby - by Jennie Lovegrove
Useful information for every parent to know when it comes to feeding their baby.
1. Newborns feed a lot!
In the early weeks, parents can be surprised at how often babies feed. A breastfed baby tends to feed at least eight to 12 times in a 24-hour period and if they are fed whenever they show they’re hungry- see feeding cues picture.
Top tip: "It’s usually easier to feed your baby when they’re calm so it’s really useful to recognise their ‘early feeding cues’ – signals that they’re hungry – which they normally show before they start crying."
2. Most babies lose weight in the first few days
Babies normally regain their birth weight by two weeks old. Do check with your midwife or health visitor if you have concerns.
Your baby’s weight is also just one indicator that they are feeding well. For example, a healthy baby has good skin colour, is alert when awake, makes signs when they are hungry and is usually satisfied after feeding. The contents of your baby’s nappy can also tell you a lot.
3. It's not always easy
Feeding can be challenging. Whether breastfeeding, formula feeding or combining the two, many parents have questions or concerns. It’s so important that you seek help as soon as you feel something isn’t right.
4. A partner’s support can make a difference
Talk to someone like your partner about feeding and share your thoughts and concerns. Support and reassurance from your partner can make a huge difference, however you feed your baby.
If you’re bottle feeding expressed milk or formula, your partner can also feed your baby and if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you’re more likely to have a good experience if your partner supports you.
5. Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mum and baby
Overall, babies who are breastfed suffer from less sickness and diarrhoea, and fewer ear and chest infections. Women who breastfeed have a lower risk of breast cancer, some forms of ovarian cancer, and diabetes in later life.
6. But feeding is not just about milk
Feeding is much more than just getting milk into your baby’s tummy. It’s also about the bond you form with each other. That’s why having a positive experience of feeding – whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding – is so important.
7. Try to find out about feeding before you have your baby
It can be really helpful to prepare for what feeding might be like before you have your baby. Information about feeding your baby can be found online and you may chose to attend an antenatal course where topics such as breastfeeding, responding to your baby’s feeding cues and the value of skin to skin cuddles will be covered.
And Finally, be confident in yourself .
Feel confident about your feeding decisions and try not to be persuaded or influenced by others to do something you’re not comfortable with. This may be easier said than done, but with the right information and support, you can do it.