Breastfeeding is the recommended method of feeding your baby. Mom's body produces a thick creamy pre-milk food for newborns called colostrum. The nourishment and calories in colostrum is perfect for your newborn.
In fact, new studies show the colostrum a new mom makes for her baby is the perfect formula for her baby. Newborn babies will not be hungry immediately following birth but within an hour or so, most pediatricians will encourage you to begin offering your breast to your baby. Feeding on demand is recommended.
Babies have small mouths and sometimes it is difficult to get the nipple in far enough to get the baby to latch on. Keep working on it. If you deliver in a hospital ask for a lactation nurse or consultant to meet with you to teach both you and your baby how to breastfeed successfully. If you deliver with a midwife, she will usually offer advice and instruction on breastfeeding. Some moms nurse the baby before the umbilical cord is cut! The key is to be comfortable so your milk "lets down" and stay relaxed so baby doesn't become fussy.
Feed your baby on one breast for 20-30 minutes. Burp. Then offer the other breast. Nurse for about 10-20 minutes on the 2nd side. Try to take note of the side you end on and start nursing the next time on that side. The key is to empty your breasts to produce more milk. Burp after the 2nd side.
After about 3-4 days your milk will come in and your breasts will enlarge. If your baby has trouble latching on due to engorged breasts, try expressing a little milk before nursing. If your breasts are hard, apply a warm compress and express some milk. Nursing consistently to empty the milk ducts will ensure a steady supply of milk and ease engorgement. Your milk supply should become more steady after a couple of days.
After a several days of nursing, your nipples will probably be sore... possibly for a couple of weeks. It can feel like forever, but as you continue to nurse, you build thicker skin and the discomfort or pain subsides. I used to dream of cutting a tennis ball in half to cover my nipples so nothing could touch them...
Breastfed babies can nurse every 30 minutes to 4 hours and be completely normal. If your baby sleeps longer than 4 hours, wake baby up and offer to nurse. Be sure to burp your baby after every feeding. Lay baby over your shoulder and gently pat baby's back. Or you can lay baby over your knee and or put baby's chest in the palm of your hand and gently pat babys back. Babies that burp up swallowed air will sleep better and be less fussy.
To ensure your baby is getting enough milk, look for 6-8 wet diapers a day and 3 or more bowel movements by the 4 days old. Keep track of how often and when your baby eats, wets and has a dirty diaper. You will find your pattern. Your pediatrician will monitor your baby's growth. Every baby is slightly different.
If you are troubled by anything or have any questions, always ask.
Everyone wants you to succeed!
Since formula is harder to digest, bottlefed babies may sleep longer than breastfed babies. But the same rule applies and if your baby sleeps longer than 4 hours, wake baby up to eat. Breastfed babies regulate the amount of milk they need but you will need to gradually increase the amount you feed your bottlefed baby. Increase by 1/2 ounce increments and don't change formulas without consulting your pediatrician.
STERILIZE the bottles and nipples before you first use them, then after subsequent uses, rinse with cool water, then wash with hot soapy water or clean them in the dishwasher.
Consider the bottles contaminated once they have been in your baby's mouth. If baby doesn't finish the entire bottle, it is good for about 2-4 hours depending on the temperature of the room. Refrigerate used bottles 8-12 hours.
Microwaving bottles is not recommended due to the possibility of hot spots which could severely scald baby's mouth. If you do use microwave, shake bottle well and be sure formula is not too hot. Formula and milk do not need to be heated. Room temperature is fine. If you want to heat a bottle, put it in warm water.
ALWAYS hold your baby when feeding with a bottle. Your baby needs to bond with you and propping a bottle can choke your baby.
BOTH BREASTFED AND BOTTLEFED BABIES:
Expect 6-8 wet diapers each day and a bowel movement every 1-3 days.
For the first 3-4 days your baby will have bowel movements that looks like dark brown/black sticky tar. This is called meconium. It is what the baby has in his bowels while he develops before being born. After the first 3-4 days the stool will turn to a mustardy-looking yellow goo if breastfeeding and light brown if bottle fed. Your baby's stool will be soft until you introduce solid foods. Always clean baby from front to back to protect the urethra, where they pee. See the button below for pictures of what your baby's stool will look like.
CHANGING A DIAPER:
Be sure to collect all the supplies you'll need to change your baby's diaper to the place where you plan to change the diaper. You don't want to leave your baby unattended. It's a good idea to have a pad to lay your baby on to catch any mess. It will be easily washed, or thrown away if disposable. Be sure to have diapers in the correct size, wipes, diaper rash cream, and if using cloth diapers have pins/fasteners/covers ready. For newborn boys I get a warm wet washcloth to cover him so he doesn't pee in my face. Remember ALWAYS to wipe your baby girl from front to back to prevent vaginal infections.
For a poopy diaper, I spread out a clean diaper under the dirty one before removing it. I get a wipe or two and spread them out to be able to pick up quickly to cover the baby's bottom. I hold baby's feet in my left hand while I peel back the diaper closure tabs and open the diaper. I use the clean parts of the diaper to wipe the bulk of the poo off first, then cover the baby's bottom with the wipes and gently but firmly wipe and clean the entire genital region. With girls always go front to back. Get out more wipes if needed and fold wipes into dirty diaper to dispose. Be gentle with circumcision and clean according to your pediatrician's instructions. You already have the clean diaper under your baby so pull it up and fasten tabs so it's snug but not too tight. If umbilical cord is still attached, turn down the front edge of the diaper if it doesn't have an umbilical cut-out.
This link will show you what normal newborn bowel movements look like:
Article by Ruth Grunstra
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Hi I'm Ruth
What is the biggest challenge you are facing with your children? My husband and I have 8 children ages 14-32. We've been married 36 years and we are always learning new ways to engage our kids. We would love to hear from you. Contact us and let us know what you have found that works and what doesn't. Or ask me a question.