How Much and How Often Should I Feed My Baby?
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All doctors recommend breast-feeding your baby over formula if at all possible. Breast milk has proven health benefits for the infant and the mother; the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the United States Preventive Services Task Force all recommend breastfeeding for the first six months of your baby’s life.
Whether or not you choose to breastfeed your baby, after your baby is born, you must begin to recognize the hunger cues and satiety signals your child is giving you. When your baby is getting hungry, they will begin to exhibit feeding cues.
Initially they will start to move their hands to their mouth, smacking their lips and rooting. As their hunger progresses they will start to become fussy, flail their extremities and then finally begin to cry loudly and persistently.
When you notice your baby’s early feeding cues, prepare to feed him or her. You should offer both breasts at each feeding and alternate which breast you begin with to ensure that each breast gets equal stimulation and drainage.
Nursing frequency varies with each child, but in the first 1-2 weeks post partum, you should be feeding your child 8-12 times per day. This number will decrease as milk production increases and your child becomes better able to obtain a larger volume of milk at each feeding.
When feeding, should I feed for a certain length of time or certain amount of milk?
Whether you are breast or bottle-feeding, you should pay attention to the cues your baby gives you when they are satiated. When your child has had enough to eat, they will relax their mouth and facial muscles and lose the automatic suckling response they have when they are hungry.
If you’re breastfeeding, there is no set amount of time you should be feeding your child, as the amount of time it takes for each baby to get the amount of milk he or she needs depends on both the infant and the mother.
If you’re bottle feeding your child, ask your pediatrician for a chart of how much milk your baby needs. The amount will change based on your child’s age and weight.
You can assess if your baby is getting the amount of nutrition it needs based on how many diapers you are changing each day. If your baby has 4-6 wet and 3-4 poopy diapers per 24-hour period, they are most likely getting enough to drink.
If you have any concerns about your child’s nutritional status, don’t hesitate to bring your baby to their pediatrician.
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Medical Disclaimer: The contents of these posts are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.