Feeding Your Baby
The nourishment that makes your child flourish
Your breastmilk is made especially for your baby. Breastmilk provides the precise nutrients your baby needs and antibodies to help protect your baby from infection. Breastmilk is all your baby needs for the first six months of life. It is best that everyone eat a healthy diet, whether they are breastfeeding or not, but remember that breast milk is manufactured from blood supply and not stomach contents. Some medications may pass through your blood supply into your breast milk, so it is wise to seek a professional opinion before taking any medications. Make sure to tell your doctor, dentist, or pharmacist that you are breastfeeding. Two servings of caffeine or two servings of alcohol are considered safe for the breastfeeding mom, especially when your baby is no longer a newborn.
When the baby is latched on to the breast properly, you will feel a tug but no pain. If you experience any pain in your nipples, notify your nurse for assistance. Some mothers will find that their nipples are very tender in the beginning, but this goes away in a few days. Some mothers may develop sore nipples later. This may be due to poor positioning of the baby while he or she is feeding, or it may be because the baby is not optimally latched onto the nipple. If your breasts become sore, do not try to spread out the time periods between feedings or decrease the time for which your baby feeds.
Instead try the following:
- Place your baby's body in a side position, facing your chest, at your chest level.
- Make sure the baby's mouth is taking in enough of the areola. The baby should be able to latch on to at least a 1/2 inch of areola tissue.
- The baby's tongue should be under your nipple.
- The baby's upper and lower lips should be flanged outward around the areola.
If your baby does not come off the breast on his or her own, you can break suction by gently inserting your finger between your nipple and the baby's mouth.
- Expel a few drops of breast milk and rub it into your nipple and areola to form a protective layer.
- Do not wash the nipple with soap as it will dry out the tissue and cause irritation.
- Let your nipples air dry for a few minutes after feeding. Air helps your nipples heal.
If nipple pain persists with corrected positioning, please contact one of SJ/C's lactation consultants at (912) 819-8231.
We suggest you encourage your baby to nurse at least every 2-3 hours within the first few weeks. He may wish to nurse more - that's okay. The more the baby nurses, the better milk supply you will have.
Let the baby finish on his own on the first breast before offering the second side. You will know your baby is getting enough if he is having 3-4 bowel movements and 6-8 wet diapers a day. If he is not, notify your lactation consultant or pediatrician.
Breastfeeding and Smoking
If you continue to smoke while breastfeeding, be aware that nicotine is excreted in your milk. Your baby will absorb this when eating.
If you have chosen to bottlefeed your baby, your pediatrician will recommend a formula. Always check with your doctor before changing brands or types of formula. When bottlefeeding your baby, make a special effort to hold your baby close; never prop the bottle.
It is important to sterilize the bottles and nipples for the first month. Prepare the formula as instructed on the can. If you are using ready-to-feed formula, do not add water. If you are using powdered formula, measure the powder using only the scoop that comes with the mix. The formula should be room temperature unless instructed otherwise by your pediatrician. Do not microwave formula.
A newborn will usually take between 2-4 ounces at each feeding. The amount will increase with age. We recommend you do not start solids (cereal or baby food) until your baby is 4-6 months old or until your pediatrician advises. Water may be given to your baby between feedings if needed, but it is not necessary.
Feeding as Baby Grows
Do not feed your baby cow's milk or honey during the first year, whether you are breastfeeding or bottlefeeding. Your pediatrician can advise you on the best first solid foods for your baby.
Burping is a way to remove excess air from the baby's stomach that he may have swallowed. Some babies need to burp frequently and some don't. There are several positions to hold your baby to encourage him to burp. You may hold him up on your shoulder, gently patting his back; you may lay him across your lap with his face down, supporting his head; or you may place him sitting up in your lap, supporting the head and front with one hand and gently pat the baby's back with your other hand.
During the early months of life, most babies occasionally will spit up small amounts, especially after feedings. This is usually not a cause for concern. Keeping the baby upright after feedings can help minimize spitting up. If your baby spits up with enough force to propel the stomach contents several inches away from the mouth, this is vomiting. If your baby spits up or vomits most of his feeding for two feedings in a row, you should contact your pediatrician.