Breast Feeding or Bottle Feeding Your New Baby
By Florence Murphy
Breastfeeding Is Natural
Babies need to eat often - every 90 minutes to two hours. Feed your baby when she begins to show signs of hunger, such as rooting or sucking on her lips, fingers or fist. Try to feed her before she cries. Feeding your baby often won't spoil her. It will help you learn to become more aware of your baby's needs.
Don't limit feeding times. Babies need different amounts of food at different times of the day, just as grown people do.
Relax! Take your time. The more you nurse your baby, the more milk you will have. Do not give your baby formula or water. If you do, you will make less milk. If you think you do not have enough milk, nurse more often and nurse longer.
To learn more about breastfeeding, you may want to contact your local health department, WIC clinic, hospital, La Leche league or doctor. You can call La Leche league at 1-800-LALECHE, or visit their Web site at www.lalecheleague.org/.
Breastfeeding is natural, but it takes a little time for babies and mothers to learn what works best for them. You may have sore nipples when you first start breastfeeding. The pain can be reduced if your baby is held properly when attached to the breast.
Here are some useful tips:
Hold your baby's tummy to your tummy, baby's chin to your breast. You can do this sitting or lying down. Hold your breast in a "C-hold, with your thumb on top and fingers underneath. Tickle your baby's lips with your nipple until her mouth opens wide. Quickly bring her onto the breast. Allow the tip of your baby's nose and chin to touch the breast.
Make sure your baby's mouth covers your entire nipple and much of the darker part around the nipple. Your baby's upper and lower lips should be rolled out. If the lips are not rolled out, break the suction by slipping your finger between the baby's gums and your breast. Then latch the baby on again.
Offer your baby both breasts at each feeding. Your baby will tell you when she is finished by "falling off the breast.
After feeding, rub a few drops of breast milk onto your nipples. Let them air dry. Then cover the nipple with nursing pads, a bra or clothing. This will help keep them from getting too dry.
Your nipples may be tender in the first few days of breastfeeding. This is common. By and large, tenderness goes away once the milk begins to flow. If you have a lot of pain, call a breastfeeding counselor or your doctor. Your doctor or counselors can also help if you have cracked or bleeding nipples. If it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't right.
If you are out with your baby, you can still breastfeed. You may want to take along a receiving blanket or shawl with which to cover up.
If you have to be away from your baby, you can still give her breast milk. You can withdraw or "express breast milk by hand or with a breast pump into a sterile container. Then someone else can give it to her in a bottle.
It is important for you to have adequate, high-quality nutrition and drink enough water. You should avoid drugs while breastfeeding unless the doctor specifically tells you to take a certain medication even though you are breastfeeding.
Tips on Bottle Feeding
If you bottle-feed your baby, ask your doctor what kind of formula is best for her. There are three ways formula is sold:
Powdered formula is the cheapest. You have to mix the powder with sterilized water.
Concentrated formula is a liquid, but it is thick and must be mixed with sterilized water. It costs more than powdered formula.
Ready-to-feed formula comes already mixed with water. It costs the most but is the easiest to use.
Follow formula-mixing instructions carefully. There is a date on the formula. Don't use the formula after this date. The formula will not be safe to give to your baby after this date.
Wash reusable bottles made of plastic or glass. Also wash all equipment used to prepare formula. Use hot soapy water. Rinse the bottles in clean tap water. Then boil them five minutes in a covered pot or sterilizer.
To prepare formula, boil water for five minutes and cool it before mixing it with powdered or concentrated formula. If you are using bottles with disposable liners, throw away the liner after use. Store prepared formula in the refrigerator and use it within 48 hours.
Heat a bottle of formula by running hot water over it. Never heat formula in the microwave. It can get too hot. Check the temperature by shaking a few drops on your wrist. When it feels warm (not hot) on your wrist, it is cool enough to give to your baby.
When feeding your baby, hold her head a little higher than her tummy. Hold the bottom of the bottle up so that the nipple stays full of formula. This way, your baby doesn't swallow air and spit up. Never prop the bottle, because your baby could choke. Always hold your baby while you feed her. Throw out any formula left in the bottle after a feeding.
Feeding time is more than just satisfying your baby's hunger. It is also a time to bond with and get to know your infant. Dad, grandparents and other family members can bond too by feeding and cuddling the baby.
About The Author
Florence Murphy is a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 2. She is pleased to present her new book First Baby Years to all new and expecting parents.