Your Baby’s Firsts – A Complete Baby Feeding Guide for Mommies
When it comes to your newborn baby’s health, you probably feel “all over the place” just to make sure it is perfect. But sometimes, it can be overwhelming.
Especially if you are a newbie mom at home with no one to ask questions about. And one of the most nerve-racking needs that we must be masters at is their feeding.
A baby feeding guide is a great lifesaver for anyone who is afraid of making a mistake each time they want to feed their little ones.
Of course, you need to know the whole feeding process from why feeding requires this particular amount only to after you have fed your baby. Trust me when I say that a little “need to know” knowledge can really go a long way.
Baby Feeding 101
Before you do anything else, you need to know everything there is when it comes to newborn feeding and their first solid feed. Remember that your little bundle of joy is very delicate and still needs to adjust to their surroundings, including what they eat. Here is a rundown of everything you need to know about feeding before you actually get to feed them.
What Do They Need?
The first few years of your baby’s life will revolve solely on milk as their main source of supplement. The most important part of this feeding is the first 6 months of their lives. During this time, breastmilk has all the needed vitamins, minerals and all the nutrients that your baby will ever need.
When your baby steps on their 6th month, this is the time you can introduce their first solid food to them. Start off by giving mashed or pureed veggies and work your way up slowly to making their food more solid. But you can still continue to give them milk as follow up food if they are hungry in between meals. Continue to give milk to them as much as you can until they reach two years of age.
How Much Do They Need?
Now, this is a very tricky subject that moms everywhere have a hard time to figure out. But you need to remember, when it comes to milk feeding, it depends on what you are giving them.
In general, there is a rule that is best followed when it comes to milk feeding. For breastfeeding babies, you need to feed as they demand. That means that if a baby would want to feed, you need to do so. A good feeding duration will usually last for around 15-30 minutes. Of course, this will depend on the appetite of the baby and the availability of the mom’s milk. The interval for each feeding should more or less be two hours.
On the other hand, a baby who is formula fed tends to become fuller than those compared to breastfeeding ones. The same principle goes for feeding though. Give your baby milk once they are hungry every two hours or so. But do not give them more than 32 ounces of formula milk a day. Here is a simple tip to follow: in every pound of body weight, your baby has, give them 2.5 ounces of formula per day.
Baby’s Feeding and Baby’s Sleep
Maybe you are wondering why a baby’s sleep is found in a baby feeding discussion? Well let me tell you this, your feeding schedule coincides with your baby’s sleeping schedule. The amount of sleep they will have will be the basis of your next feeding and the amount of feeding you will give.
Based on my experience, the amount of feeding my baby will have will depend on the length of her sleep. For example, since she is breastfed, she usually sleeps two hours after a good 15 to 30-minute breastfeeding. But once she feeds less (like 10 minutes or lesser) she will wake up earlier around an hour after. The same goes when she feeds longer (around 30-45 minutes) she sleeps longer (around 3 hours).
For formula fed babies, their sleep and eat patterns are more controlled because you know the exact amount of milk you are giving them. This is a good advantage of formula fed babies, you can anticipate and control how much and how long they feed.
Formula Feeding Versus Breastfeeding
The never-ending debate between breastfeeding and formula feeding is still sparking some discussions even nowadays. The bond that breastfeeding gives versus the convenience of formula feeding and so much more issues have been ratting a newbie mom’s head whenever she thinks of the best feeding method to use. To help you out, here are some benefits and need to know facts about the two ways of feeding your newborn.
- The mother and baby bond that is further strengthened by skin-to-skin contact with each feeding.
- The most economically advisable feeding method because it is absolutely free.
- Feeding directly from the breast does not need excess work like preparing bottles or cleaning bottles.
- It helps you recover faster after your birth. This is due to the Oxytocin (prevents post-partum bleeding due to uterine contraction) released by the body each time you breastfeed.
- Gives your baby a chance of having a higher I.Q. level.
- Makes your baby less likely to have serious health issues in the future.
- Can be done by anyone making it more convenient.
- This feeding style can be done anywhere and by anyone making it a flexible feeding option.
- It reduces the frequency of feeding as compared to breastfeeding because formula milk makes a baby more sated.
- Moms do not have to pay too much attention to their diet when they formula feed.
- You give exact measurements of what how much your baby needs per feeding.
- Some babies have a hard time latching and can even cause pain when latching.
- Babies tend to sleep while breastfeeding.
- You have to feed them constantly and on demand all the time.
- Engorged breasts leading to clogged milk ducts that can be painful.
- Formula milk can never meet the standards given by breastmilk when it comes to nutrients.
- Bottle preparation is a hassle to do.
- Formula milk is
Some moms have a hard time producing milk, sometimes none at all. That is why they have no other option but to choose formula feeding. Most moms will have several questions before they continue on this formula feeding path and here are some of them.
Formula Feeding FAQ’s
What type of formula Milk Are There?
In general, you need to consult your Pediatrician first so that your baby will be provided with the right milk formula option. There are four types in general:
- Cow’s Milk-Based formulas-makes up the vast majority of milk formula in the market.
- Soy-based formulas-choice for parents who do not want their babies to consume animal protein or those that cannot digest lactose.
- Hypoallergenic formulas– for babies who cannot tolerate the basic milk formulas and those that have allergic reactions towards them.
- Specialized Formulas-for premature and low birth-weight babies.
When Should I prepare a bottle?
The safest way to go is to prepare the bottle right before a feeding. But if you want to make and stock your milk in a refrigerator you can also do so by preparing 6 to 8 bottles a day. Of course, this is only applicable to babies who have fixed feeding schedules.
How do I warm my baby’s bottle?
You can either use a bottle warmer machine for this. If you do not have it, you can run the bottle through the warm or hot water. You can also simply place the bottle in a pan of hot water.
How long can I keep a bottle at room temperature?
Discard any milk formula that has been at room temperature for an hour or more.
What will I do with left-over milk?
Discard it and do not attempt to re-feed it to your baby.
The Baby Feeding Guide
Now that you know how important it is for each feeding to be accurate and managed, you need to know the ideal way of feeding your baby. I remember when I was nursing my little one back when she was still a newborn, it was like a ritual each feeding. This is what I learned and am now sharing with you:
Before You Feed…
This was actually my “ritual” before I fed my little one when she was still small up until she was eating solids. I believe that a good and proper start can actually make your baby’s feeding experience more enjoyable for the both of you.
- Baby’s Attire-choose light and loose fitting clothes before you feed your baby.
- A Clean Diaper-a clean diaper is a must! You will not believe how many times I had to stop feeding because I kept forgetting to change my daughter’s diaper. I mean, who would not be fuzzy if they feel dirty right?
- The Right Milk Temperature-for formula feeding babies, the right temperature is a must. An elevated temperature of their milk can cause their tummies to get upset.
- No Distractions-when your baby starts their solids, make sure that they sit down on their high chair to eat and nothing else. Having a toy or other distractions can cause them to lose interest in their feeding.
Feeding Chart and Feeding Schedule
The first few days of your baby’s feeding schedule can more or less be a “touch and go” experience. Given the fact that they are just learning to feed for the first time, they still need to adjust. But once they get the hang of it, you will realize a certain pattern that they will follow. Here is a simple guide to help you figure out what to expect when it comes to feeding your baby.
|Time||Amount per Breastfeeding||
Amount per Formula Feeding
|First few days||Every 2-3 hours (2 for breastfed and 3 for formula fed)||Per demand||2-3 ounces (60-90ml)|
|The first month||Every 3-4 hours (3 for breastfed and 4 hours for formula fed)||Per demand||4 ounces (120ml)|
|The sixth month||Every 5-6 hours ( 4 for breastfed and 6 for formula fed)||Per demand||6-8 ounces (180-240ml)|
If you have noticed, the breastfed babies have a “per demand” label on the amount per feeding. This is because there is no actual amount of breastmilk a baby gets when they are directly breastfeeding. But in general, a total of 32 ounces of breastmilk is needed for a 24-hour feeding. This is for babies on their 4th to 6th month.
By the time they reach the 6th-month mark, your baby will then be introduced to solids. When this happens, you have to taper down the milk feeding so that their stomach can accept more solids. But this does not mean you have to totally stop their milk feeding. You can continue to give milk but this time around as a secondary food option.
These are your “arsenals” before, during and after the feeding process. Having these on hand can save you the trouble of difficult feeding.
- Feeding Pillow-a pillow that you can lay your baby on and help you support them when you feed them. It can also be converted to a burping pillow.
- Feeding Bottle-When you are formula feeding your baby, it is important to always have several bottles prepared. This will save you time and prevent any “panic attacks” from you.
- Feeding Outfit-make sure that your baby is wearing loose, light and comfortable clothes. Sometimes, the right outfit can make or break your baby’s feeding.
- Feeding Chair-once your baby starts to eat solids, you need to trade in your feeding pillow to a feeding chair. This will ensure their support, safety and in the long run, their independence during meals.
The Solid Start
As your baby hits the 6th month, it is advisable to start introducing solid foods. Baby cereal is considered to be the traditional first food for babies in America and in other parts of the world, but starting off with indigenous food like vegetables or fruits are also highly recommended to accommodate baby needs.
Signs of readiness
Your baby will eventually show certain signs that signal their readiness to eat their first solid food. These can all be seen in their physical appearance and their overall behavior. Here are the general cues that you need to look for:
- Sitting unsupported – Make sure that your baby can now sit very well unsupported and that his neck strength is present and head lag is gone. This will help him sit comfortably in a high chair, as well as making digestion easier.
- Tongue-thrust reflex is now gone – A baby’s natural reflex of sticking out his tongue when his cheek is touched should be already gone, In turn, the baby can receive the food in his mouth and swallow it effectively.
- Significant weight gain –Your little one should have doubled his birth weight before starting solids.
- Curiosity and interest in food –See if your baby is already showing interest in food, whether looking at you while you are eating, or looking at the food you are eating. Also, try to offer him food with a spoon and see if he will open his mouth to receive it.
What to Give Your Child
Once you have seen and confirmed for yourself that your baby is ready for solids, you need to think of possible meals to make. You need to pay particular attention to what you will give, the texture it will have and how you will present it to your child. Here is a simple guide that you can follow for your child’s first year’s introduction to food.
- 6 months: Mix the food with your breastmilk or formula milk so that your baby will not be overwhelmed by the new taste. Try pureed or mashed vegetables first, and use only one vegetable for 3 days to see any food reaction. Offer fruits after a week. Choose a fruit that is not so sweet or flavorful so that the baby will not be accustomed by strong flavors. Avocado is an ideal choice. Avoid offering instant baby food as much as you can because it contains preservatives. You can also try small amounts of unsweetened yogurt, porridge, and oats.
- 7 months: Meat can now be introduced at this month. Please stick to one type for a few days and observe if there will be a reaction.
- 8-10 months: You can now introduce other types of carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, and soft bread. When giving an egg, only give the yolk. The egg white will only be given after the first year because it can cause allergic reactions. Keep your baby’s meals interesting. Mix and match food groups and add spices to new flavors. When offering cheese, avoid soft cheeses. You can now stop feeding purees and transition to chunkier textures. Mash fruits and vegetables and chop pieces of meat finely to encourage his ability to chew. Chewing is the precursor to talking.
- 10-12 months: Fish is an excellent source of protein, but be careful in choosing your meat. Choose only the white-fleshed fish. Baked or steamed fish is a great dinner for your baby. Your little one has now a wide variety of foods to try. Do not be afraid of offering them different kinds of food each day. Make sure that what you are offering is fresh, clean and nutritious.
Your child’s feeding journey should be enjoyed by both you and your baby. It should be another way for the two of you to have a stronger and loving bond. That is why it is so important to prepare yourself and how you will address your child’s feeding evolution. Being ready physically, mentally and emotionally can create a great atmosphere for each feeding you and your child will share.