A new parent or an experienced one always have questions regarding feeding their newborn baby. A typical newborn has active rooting and sucking reflexes and can begin feeding immediately. The feeding can be done immediately after birth or at least within four hours after birth. Choosing how to feed your baby during his first few days of life is very important. It can be breast or bottle, but you should make a choice that is informed and not pressured.
Breast Or Bottle Feeding
There is no doubt that a mother’s milk is the best food for your baby. The World Health Organization recommends that breastfeeding your baby exclusively is ideal for the first four to six months of life. However, there are mothers who choose bottle feeding because of personal or medical reasons. The most ideal feeding combination is to breastfeed for the first six months, then breastfeed along with solid foods until the 12th month age of your baby. Continue this for as long as mother and baby want. Formula feeding also offers advantages for newborn babies. Its preparation is primarily available to provide babies a solid mixture of proteins, sugars, fats and vitamins. As a result, it provides nutrition your baby needs to grow into a healthy child.
In addition, never give your baby water, juice or other fluids. These kinds of liquids are unnecessary and can disturb your baby’s appetite for breast or formula milk, which may lead to malnutrition. Most newborns feed eight to twelve times a day with two to three hours interval. For babies two to three months of age, they may be contented with six to eight feedings per day. But if using formula feeding, you may need to do the feeding a little less because formula milk digests more slowly than breast milk.
Additional Tips During Feeding
Newborns are not very hungry the first two to three days, so feed him in a small frequent feeding manner. You can also talk to your baby using a soft tone of your voice during the feeding and always identify the signals from your baby that shows he’s ready to feed such as lip smacking, eye fluttering and tongue movement. Crying is a late sign of your baby’s hunger.
Vitamin D Supplementation
Consult your health care provider about vitamin D supplements for your baby. Breast and formula milk is healthy for your baby but they may not provide enough vitamin D, which is required to help your baby’s bones absorb calcium and phosphorus; these minerals are necessary for strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency can cause a disease called rickets, a softening and weakening of the bones.
Weaning depends on the needs and desires of both mother and baby. Ideally, breast or bottle feeding should continue after 1 year as long as mother and baby wish. Gradual weaning is easier for both baby and mother than stopping suddenly. The weaning can be done by initially replacing one to three breastfeeding sessions a day with a bottle of formula milk or a bottle of fruit juice if bottle feeding (fruit juices should not be given to babies younger than 6 months old).