Breast- and bottle feeding basics
Whether you've chosen to nurse or give your baby formula, these guidelines can provide a good start.
Mothers and newborns may have problems adjusting to breastfeeding. The hospital nursing staff can answer most of these questions. In addition, most hospitals have lactation specialists who can provide specialized advice. They have in-depth knowledge and training to help you with most breastfeeding problems.
Here are a few simple suggestions that will help you breastfeed successfully.
- Put your infant to the breast right after delivery.
- Feed your infant on demand, not on a schedule. Most infants will eat 8 to 10 times in a single day.
- Drink plenty of water, about 8 to 10 glasses per day.
- Avoid pacifiers until breastfeeding is well established. Many breastfeeding babies never need pacifiers.
- Breastfeeding is preferred as your baby's only food until at least four months and, preferably, six months of age.
What should breastfeeding mothers eat? - A normal, balanced diet provides all the nutrients your body requires to produce breast milk that will help your child grow and develop normally. You may need to adjust your diet depending on your baby's reaction to your milk. Each infant is unique, but seem have problems digesting breast milk when their mothers eat a lot of chocolate, onions, broccoli or certain other foods.
Is my baby is getting enough to eat? - Many women worry about whether or not their infant is getting enough milk, especially in the first few days. This is not a problem for most mothers and babies. However, for a few, it is. Not getting enough to eat and jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin) are the most common reasons for re-admission to the hospital in the first week after birth. Check these signs to see if your baby is getting enough milk.
Bottle fed babies will usually take about three ounces of formula per pound of body weight each day. As with breastfeeding, it is best to let your infant set his or her own schedule. He or she should feed at least 8 to 12 times per day and should not go more than five hours without eating.
Opinions vary about the value of pacifiers. They may interfere with learning to breastfeed. However, many infants want to suck on something between feedings. They will use their thumb or hand if a pacifier is not available.
Chart for your baby's first feedings and diapers - Is your baby eating enough? (requires Adobe Reader)
Breastfeeding worksheet (requires Adobe Reader)
Return to "The first few days, Volume 1.
Pregnancy Condition Center: Your newborn
Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota: Parenting resources
Source: Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
First published: 05/01/2001
Last updated: 06/06/2006
Reviewed by: Kent Wegmann, MD, Children's of Minnesota
Pediatric Clinic - St. Paul