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Feeding a newborn is a round-the-clock
commitment. It’s also an opportunity to
begin forming a bond with the newest
member of your family. Consider seven
tips for feeding a newborn.
Stick with breast milk or
In most cases, breast milk is the ideal food
for babies. If breast-feeding isn’t possible,
use infant formula. Healthy newborns
don’t need water, juice or other fluids.
Feed your newborn on
Most newborns need eight to 12 feedings a
day - about one feeding every two to three
Look for early signs of hunger, such as
stirring and stretching, sucking motions
and lip movements. Fussing and crying
are later cues. The sooner you begin each
feeding, the less likely you’ll need to soothe
a frantic baby. When your baby stops
sucking, closes his or her mouth, or turns
away from the nipple or bottle, he or she
might be full - or simply taking a break.
Try burping your baby or waiting a minute
before offering your breast or the bottle
As your baby gets older, he or she will take
in more milk in less time at each feeding.
Consider vitamin D
Ask your baby’s doctor about vitamin D
supplements for the baby, especially if
you’re breast-feeding. Breast milk might
not provide enough vitamin D, which
helps your baby absorb calcium and
phosphorus - nutrients necessary for
strong bones.
Expect variations in your
newborn’s eating patterns
Your newborn won’t necessarily eat the
same amount every day. During growth
spurts - often at two to three weeks after
birth and again at six weeks after birth -
your newborn might take more at each
feeding or want to be fed more often.
Respond to early signs of hunger, rather
than keeping a strict eye on the clock.
Trust your instincts - and
your newborn’s
You might worry that your newborn isn’t
eating enough, but babies usually know
just how much they need. Don’t focus on
how much, how often or how regularly
your newborn eats. Instead, look for:
• Steady weight gain
• Contentment between feedings
• By the fifth day after birth, at least six
wet diapers and three or more bowel
movements a day
Contact the doctor if your newborn isn’t
gaining weight, wets fewer than six diapers
a day or shows little interest in feedings.
Consider each feeding
a time to bond with your
Hold your newborn close during each
feeding. Look him or her in the eye. Speak
with a gentle voice. Use each feeding as an
opportunity to build your newborn’s sense
of security, trust and comfort.
Know when to ask for help
If you’re having trouble breast-feeding,
ask a lactation consultant or your baby’s
doctor for help - especially if every feeding
is painful or your baby isn’t gaining weight.
If you haven’t worked with a lactation
consultant, ask your baby’s doctor for
a referral or check with the obstetrics
department at a local hospital.