Your precious new baby has finally arrived, and you are experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions getting to know this new little person....
This is where the steep learning curve really begins, and we hope we can support you on your way!
Contact our friendly team of experts for more personalised advice.
During your baby’s first three months they do a lot of growing so you’ll want to make sure they’re well fed. All babies have their own timelines, but new babies need to feed at
least every two or three hours.
Breastfeeding is ideal for your baby because breastmilk contains all the essential nutrients in exactly the right balance. Breastmilk is the optimal food for babies and breastfeeding provides many positive benefits for the mum as well.
Remember, if you need more support you can contact your midwife, Plunket Nurse or Well Child Health provider if you need more advice on how to successfully breastfeed.
Babies are considered premature when they’re born before they reach 37 weeks. Roughly 10% of births in NZ are premature.
If you do have a baby who is born prematurely they’ll require special care, so you’ll need to maintain close contact with your lead maternity carer.
Breastfeeding may be a natural and wonderful thing, but that doesn't mean it’s easy for every women. It can be a tricky thing to get the hang of, and that goes for Mum and baby. While breastfeeding is a different experience for every mother and baby pair, and what works for one woman may not work for the next, we’ve put together a few tips to help you understand the basics.
Sometimes this can be hard but slowing down can make feeding easier. A quiet spot and a comfortable chair with back support go a long way here. If you have a toddler as well, it’s a good idea to bring out a distraction like a new toy or an old favourite to give you the chance to properly relax.
If your baby is gaining weight, has six or more wet nappies a day and is content, you know they’re getting enough to eat. Newborns feed frequently, but as they gain weight they will begin to feed less often. That means that although you’ll seem to be feeding endlessly to start off with, eventually your baby will feed less often because they will go for longer stretches between feeds..If your baby has a big appetite, it’s important you get regular rest,, drink plenty of water, and eat regular meals and snacks over the day to help keep up your milk supply.
Always bring baby to your breast, not your breast to baby. Keep your baby’s tummy to your tummy and if there’s any pain then re-latch your baby or try another position. If you need help, contact your midwife, a lactation consultant or La Leche.
It’s normal for feeding time to vary. Make sure your baby feeds while on the breast, and if they do happen to fall asleep, take them off the breast, wake them up and then re-latch. There are breast feeding apps available which can help you with feeding times and which breast to start on.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t change your baby at night unless you absolutely have to, as it can be hard for them to re-settle. Babies usually feed and go back to bed faster at night than during the day.
What can seem difficult in the beginning will become easier over time, don’t get discouraged. It will all be worth it once things start coming together.
Smoking can reduce your supply and affect the taste of breast milk. Second hand smoke can also increase the risk of SIDS. The odd drink may sound tempting, but alcohol will transfer into breast milk. It’s best to avoid for the duration of breastfeeding.
Remember, this article is full of great advice and useful tips, but if you do have any questions or concerns, the best thing to do is to contact your midwife, well child or Plunket nurse, lactation consultant or a breast-feeding support group.
If your baby is ‘not sleeping well’ or ‘seems hungry’ after breastfeeding or a bottle, you shouldn't necessarily take it to mean she is ready for solids. In fact, those are two common reasons given by mums who have introduced their babies to solid foods too early.
Part of the reason why mums may be moving to solid foods too soon is that they’re misinterpreting the cues about their baby's readiness for solids. For example, parents will often complain around three to four months that their baby is getting hungrier. However, this most likely due to a growth spurt that happens around three months (one that can be managed with an increase in the baby’s liquid diet).
New Zealand Paediatric Dietitian and Director of Kidz Nutrition in Tauranga, Rebecca Bruce (NZRD), says it is important to watch for cues like good head control, but it’s just as important to listen to what your baby’s behaviour tells you.
“Solids should be introduced around six months of age, depending on developmental cues but not before four months.
“Watch for clues like when your baby begins to show an interest in what others are eating, or starts putting his hand or other objects to his mouth.
“Once your baby is ready for solids it is important to get on to iron-rich foods, like meat and iron fortified cereals, fairly soon. Many parents start with fruit and vegetables but bear in mind that your baby’s iron stores from birth will be running out around six months and breastmilk isn’t going to provide enough alone.”
The longer you breastfeed for the better but it's an individual choice for each mum-baby pair. Some mums are happy to breastfeed for more than a year, whereas other mums introduce formula sometime before 12 months. Experts recommend that you exclusively breastfeed till around 6 months when solid foods are introduced and then continue to breastfeed up to a year or longer if you can, but it depends on your individual situation. It's important not to compare yourself with other mums and feel guilty for not making exactly the same decisions, do what's right for you and your baby.
While you’re breastfeeding you’ll be passing on a lot of nutrients to your baby, so your diet during breastfeeding can make a difference. Getting plenty of good foods in your diet during this time will make sure you’re getting the nourishment you need.
If you’re worried your baby is reacting to something in your diet while breastfeeding, the best thing to do is avoid that food for a few days to see if they improve. Be careful not to cut out whole food groups (like dairy or wheat) without chatting to your health professional first.
On the other hand your diet can also expose your baby to a variety of interesting tastes. You never know what they could be developing a love for in those very early stages.
In the early days your baby’s routine will be about eating and sleeping. In those first few weeks it’s normal for your baby to feed every 2 -3 hours day and night, which is 8-12 times in a 24 hour period! It can be a real challenge for you to get a decent sleep at this time and you will probably feel exhausted. Just remember as your baby gets older and grows bigger, s/he will feed less often and sleep for longer.
A few tips to help get baby into a good sleep pattern and also help you get much needed rest:
Remember as a parent you will be getting advice from well meaning people 'left, right and centre'! At the end of the day, you choose to do what will work best for you and baby. Every family is different, and what has worked well for others, may not be the ideal advice for you. Trust your instincts.