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Feeding your newborn: Information for new parents

6 top tips for newborn feeding 

Feeding your newborn: Information for new parents

Aside from “sleep – when will I ever get any?” the hottest topic for new mums is feeding. So we’ve put together our top feeding tips to answer some of those burning questions . . .

1. How often do I feed?

Regardless of whether you want to feed ‘on demand’ or follow more of a routine, be prepared for feeding almost constantly for the first few weeks! This is because newborn babies have such tiny stomachs that they can only take a small amount at each feed. As your baby grows, he’ll be able to take in larger amounts and you’ll notice he can happily be fed every 2 – 3 hours.

2. It’s all about position.

There’s no one perfect feeding position for every mum-baby pair, so a little trial and error may be needed to work out what suits! One of the most useful positions to master is the ‘cradle hold’, where the baby lies in your lap in the crook of your arm. You can use this position anywhere you can sit down, so it’s a good one for out and about. When you’re at home, many mums find the most comfortable position is lying down on your side with your baby’s body parallel to yours. Another useful position to read up on is the ‘rugby hold’-especially if you are feeding multiples!

3. Bonding time.

Feeding should be a relaxed time for you to enjoy your baby, and babies love the bonding they feel when they’re held and cuddled during feeding.

4. Breast or bottle?

Breast milk provides the best nutrition for your baby, and many mums aim to breastfeed for at least the first 6 months. Any breastfeeding is beneficial for your baby and the longer you can breastfeed for the better. If you need help with breastfeeding, there is a lot of support out there. Contact your midwife, lactation consultant or Plunket nurse for advice. If (for whichever reason) you aren’t fully breastfeeding, you need to use a suitable infant formula. Formula is designed to be a substitute for breast milk, so it’s matched as closely as possible to the nutrition that breast milk provides. It can be tricky knowing which formula to choose so if you need help, talk to your health professional. Otherwise, most formula companies provide a help-line you can call to chat with an experienced health professional who can advise you on the most suitable choice.. Read more here - Which is the best infant formula?

5. Burping.

It’s really important to burp your baby during and after feeding. Many new mums find they can’t get baby to sleep until all the burps are out, so it’s well worth perfecting your technique! You can try sitting baby sideways on your lap and rubbing your hand in firm upward strokes on his back. Or hold him in a cuddle position facing over your shoulder while you pat and rub his back. If nothing’s happening, a great tip is to lie baby down flat on his back while you count to ten. Then lift him into a burping position again. It’s surprisingly effective!

6. How much milk is enough?

This is a common concern for almost all new parents, but in most cases healthy babies are very good at knowing how much milk they need.

If your baby is having at least 6-8 wet nappies a day, and is growing well he’s most likely getting plenty of milk. Regular Plunket check-ups will help determine if your baby is healthy and growing well.  

Remember, if you do have any questions or concerns, see your midwife, Plunket nurse, or Well Child provider.

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