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Feeding Newborns 101

>> Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Now that my son is just over a week old, it amazes me how much I actually forgot since we had our last baby 4 years ago. I have found myself googling how long breast milk can be stored in a fridge, how many ounces a newborn eats and more...Maybe we should have taken that refresher course! So for those of you new to this or a little rusty, like moi, here are some guidelines I gathered together. Whether you are breast feeding or formula feeding, remember to not feel guilty no matter what you choose. Don't let anyone make you feel bad because of your choice. You are the mommy! Be empowered and know that whatever it is, you are doing your best as a mom for your little one.

Feeding Frequency & Duration:
*Newborns feed on demand whether breast feeding or formula feeding. This is usually 8-12 times per 24 hour period for the first two to four weeks.
*Crying is a late sign of hunger. There are usually signs of hunger before that like: rooting around for a nipple, sucking on hands, restlessness, etc.
*There might be times when you need to wake up your baby for a feeding by undressing or changing him/her. My son sometimes cannot be bothered to be woken up to feed!
*If you are breastfeeding, it can be unnerving not knowing exactly how much you are giving your baby. Sessions generally last 20-45 minutes. BUT this can vary depending on baby's needs. Your child will be satisfied after a feeding, breasts will feel softer & you can hear baby swallowing the milk. We took our son to the pediatrician because he would only feed for 6-18 minutes and seemed full. He wasn't feeding more than usual either. He was still getting enough to eat though. I say this so you don't worry and realize that every baby is different. Always call your Pediatrician if you are concerned. *Wet diapers are the best way to gauge if your child is getting enough to eat. Here is a general guideline for newborns. [note: this does not include bowel movement diapers]
  • Day 1 = one wet diaper
  • Day 2 = 2 wet diapers
  • Day 3 = 3 wet diapers, and so on
  • Day 6 and older = 6 to 8 wet diapers in a 24-hour period. (After your milk increases, the urine will soak the diaper.
*Sometimes new babies cluster feed. Meaning they can feed every hour or several times in 1 hour. This is normal and they will feel satisfied after cluster feeding.
*Today's formula has all of the essential nutrients your baby needs. I cannot express enough to NOT feel guilty about formula feeding. My first I breastfed for 6 weeks and switched to formula because she was severely underweight, was a preemie and I was not making enough milk. My second I breastfed for 4 weeks and cried the whole time. This time I am pumping my milk. The ongoing conflict between moms on this issue will probably never cease, which is a shame, but with all of the hormonal changes after giving birth, guilt is not something you want to pile on that.
*If your significant other would like to help out or wants to bond over a feeding also, and you're breastfeeding, I would consider getting a pump. I got one this time and it has been a lifesaver for me since I started using it a couple days ago. Hubby enjoys feeding him and I can get a little more sleep .... sort of.

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Jess (The Cozy Reader) April 21, 2011 at 5:56 AM  

Great advice! I plan to do a lot more breastfeeding than pumping this time around. I plan to just pump when I'm at work and breastfeed as must as possible when I'm at home. I pumped for 14 months with our first and it was so taxing on me. I'd rather have the bonding time with the baby than the pump when I'm at home. We'll see how it goes! I'm 38 weeks and 3 days today as SOOO ready to have this baby! Have an appt. tonight and hoping to get the membrane stripped to get labor going. :) Good luck to you and your baby! :)

ohana mama April 27, 2011 at 9:43 AM  

Jess: YAY!!! you're almost there! Congrats on your new little one and I hope everything goes well!

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