Need help to feed your newborn?
Feeding your Newborn
How you feed your baby is a very personal choice. Before your baby is born you are encouraged to gather as much information as you can to enable you with this choice.
As a midwife, my natural instinct would be to encourage you to breastfeed, as it is tailor-made for your little one and has a host of health benefits for you both.
However, the choice is yours, and I will be there to support you, whichever method of feeding that you choose.
The health benefits of breastfeeding are widely known about for baby. It helps protect against ear infections, it protects against chest infections, there is a lower risk of diabetes, less allergic disease (asthma,eczema), protects against gastroenteritis, the list goes on.
Breastfeeding also has benefits for mum too. It reduces risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers and also the risk of developing osteoporosis. Additionally, if you breastfeed for over six months you are more likely to have returned to your pre-pregnancy weight.
How to get breastfeeding off to a good start
• Skin-to-skin contact increases the instinct for baby to feed. It also regulates their breathing heart rate and blood sugars creating the right environment for them to feed. In the early days try and feed your baby skin-to-skin with a sheet or a blanket around both of you to really stimulate that instinct to feed.
• Position and attachment. Being positioned at the breast correctly enables an effective latch. A poorly latched baby will not get a full feed. This in turn will affect your milk supply and make you sore. Always ask a health professional to check the latch of your baby for the first few feeds.
• Feed or offer your baby a feed regularly especially in the early days, roughly about every 3-4 hours, earlier if they demand. This will ensure that your milk supply is stimulated and establishes quickly. As general rule a baby will feed a minimum of 8-12 times in a 24 hour period although in the first 24 hours they may feed less fre-quently than this, although it is still important to offer them a feed. If they don’t want to feed, enjoy some skin-to-skin.
• Offer both breasts at each feed. The baby may not take milk from both breasts at each feed. That is ok, however, if they do, it is providing extra stimulation helping to get your milk supply established quickly.
Breast-feeding can be quite challenging for some mums but be patient and get some help if you are struggling.
If you have chosen to bottle feed your baby then you will have many questions too. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about bottle-feeding a baby.
Which formula should I buy?
How do I make up the formula?
Which bottles do I buy?
How do I sterilise my equipment?
There are 3 types of infant formula:
• First stage milk
• Second stage milk often known as ‘hungry baby milks’
• Follow on milk
• The first stage milks are more suited to the needs of a growing baby and should be the only type of formula that they need until they are a year old.
• The second stage milks should be avoided unless recommended by your GP or health visitor.
• Follow on milks can be given from about 6 months until your baby can move over to cows milk, at about a year old.
There are many different brands of formula out there but essentially because there is such strict regulation regarding their production they are all very similar. So whichever brand you choose it will be fine for your baby
Making up formula milk
You are advice to make up each bottle of prepared formula fresh at each feed. In the past you were advised that you could make up the whole days milk and store it I the fridge. The guidance changed as there were too many babies getting tummy upsets. Whilst many parents still prepare all their bottles for the day its not ideal.
To prepare formula :
Boil the kettle and let it cool down for no longer than 30 minutes
Pour the required water into the bottles
Add the required level scoops of powder
Cool the bottle down
Feed your baby
This advice can be time consuming especially at night and can be difficult to do if you’re away from home. There are how ever safe ways to get around these issues. You could:
- buy ready-made formula to use whilst you are out or at night
- boil the kettle cool the water for 30 min and then put this in a flask to keep the water at the right temperature to make up the feed.
- make up the next feed in advance cool it quickly and store in the fridge or a cool bag and use with in 24hours.
Any unused formula should be discarded