Feeding your newborn is a commitment with no limitations. They say a newborn only requires two things: milk and warmth in the arms of its mother. So feeding your newborn is an act of love and compassion your child experiences firsthand in the arms of his mother. There are no specific feeding patterns to be followed, but here are a few extra pointers on feeding your newborn.
Breastfeeding is the first and most important part of the bonding process between the baby and the mother. Breastfeeding is highly recommended for a minimum of six months with no other additional supplements. After you start supplements and solid food, it is still highly recommended you continue to breastfeed. Breast milk is loaded with antibodies that will help fight viruses and bacteria. They also contain all nutrients required for the baby’s growth and development. They are tailor-made for your baby, thus helping to digest and prevent the baby from excessive colic and gas. Breastfed babies also tend to be less fussy and do not develop allergies quickly. Make sure you wrap your baby in a soft muslin cloth when you hold them.
Breastfeeding also benefits the mother in numerous ways. It helps mothers to recover from childbirth quickly, and aids in shrinking of the womb post-delivery. Breastfeeding is also convenient since you need not stress on nutrition and preparation. Breastfeeding is known to reduce the risk of postnatal depression and reduce breast and ovarian cancer chances.
If you work outside the home or wish to spend some time away from your baby, you can pump your breastmilk. This is a great option, and may allow you to get help from others in feeding the baby.
How often should you feed the baby? There are no specific feeding intervals; you have to listen to your baby’s needs to feed them – some of them like short, frequent feedings, whereas others like prolonged and less frequent feeding. Babies know when they are full and tend to stop, so do not overfeed them. If your baby stops latching or turns her head away, try to burp her before you try to feed her again. Watch for signals your baby is hungry or not. Ideally, newborns require feeding every three hours.
Introducing solid food
If you are unable to feed your baby exclusively with breastmilk, you can slowly introduce him to solid food after six months. Here are a few ways to identify whether your baby is ready for solid food or not:
● He should be able to upright with minimal support. ● He should have a fair amount of head control. ● Breastmilk is not sufficient for satisfying the baby’s hunger pangs. ● Baby is comfortable with spoon- and finger-feeding.
Don’t add any flavors to solid foods such as salt and sugar. Do not feed your baby spicy food; mashed or pureed vegetables are recommended. Make sure you use organic baby clothes for your baby to keep them comfortable. When you introduce solid food into your baby’s diet, extra water intake is required.
If you have questions or concerns, consult your pediatrician to plan a healthy and nutritious meal for your baby.