How Often Do You Need To Feed Your Newborn?
Feeding a newborn can be challenging, confusing and overwhelming at the same time. So, how do new parents go about it? Read on to know more.
By Priya Kathpal • 7 min read
A mother’s milk is the only thing the baby needs during the first six months of his or her life. When breastmilk is not available, a formula is a good alternative that ensures the baby gets all the required nutrients, which is needed during this crucial period.
Most babies can be fed 8 -12 times or more during a day. This means a feed every 2-3 hour but remember, there is no set number on the basis of which a baby should be fed. Each baby is different and will eventually have his or her own schedule to achieve the nourishment needed.
After the baby is born
Immediately after birth, it’s important that the baby is breastfed for colostrum feeding. Colostrum is a milky fluid that comes from the breasts of humans the first few days after giving birth before actual milk appears. It provides all the nutrients that a newborn needs in the early days to protect it against infections. This is not only extremely healthy but has immunity boosting properties.
How to know if the baby is hungry?
When babies are hungry they tend to exhibit certain behaviour such as stirring, stretching, sucking or lip movements. These are early signs and keen observation can help you feed the baby before they start getting cranky and fussy. This is also known as feeding on demand or demand feeding.
Newborn screening will help parents and doctors to assess babies health more deeply, it could prevent serious health problems too. Read the article below to know more.
How long should you feed the baby?
The feeding time of the baby depends on the reaction of the baby.
- If the baby is unlatching or turning away from the nipple, not sucking anymore without being fussy, it means the baby is full or is taking a break.
- Try burping the baby before offering the breast or the bottle again. Many babies doze off while sucking and with time mothers can make out if the baby is feeding or isn’t. One can unlatch the baby gently in such situations and hold upright to burp.
- With time babies develop better sucking reflex and will consume more milk in shorter durations. There is nothing to worry about it. During growth spurts and with age milestones, the schedules may look different and they may end up asking for more.
Just trust your instincts, look for signs and feed on demand than going by the clock.
Sometimes, a new mother may feel worried the baby is not feeding enough or that she is doing something wrong. However, it is important to note that one should not stress too much over the baby's feeding habits and focus more on other areas like weight gain, urinating at least 6 times in a period of 24 hours and a content baby in between the feeds.
Introduction of solid foods
After the first six months, solid food should slowly and gradually be introduced to the baby. These foods are also known as weaning foods and complementary or supplementary foods. It’s also important to introduce one food item at a time but ensure there is variety in food so that the baby develops a taste for different foods.
What foods to give to the baby?
Some simple but ideal food items for weaning the baby are porridges like ragi, semolina, khichdi (a mix of pulse and rice), baked, boiled or steamed veggies like carrots, beetroot, potatoes, broccoli, fruit pulps, whole wheat flour flatbread with some gravy, boiled egg yolks etc. The goal of weaning food is to start giving the baby home food by the age of 1 year. This means one should try to gradually include all the foods that are part of the family pot.
Breastfeeding and weaning is the most imperative part of infancy and it can also be turned into a bonding time for the caregiver and baby. During feeding time, try making eye contact and talk to the baby softly as it will make the baby feel more safe and secure.
The numerous benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk extend well beyond basic nutrition. Go through the below ClipBook to know more.
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