Once your new arrival makes his way into your home and your heart, one of the first things that you’ll notice is how much your baby eats and you will qickly be aware of a regular patterns in baby feeding! Between sleeping and wetting, eating (or drinking, as it were) will be one of his favorite—and only—activities! In fact, since your baby needs constant feeding around the clock, this task in itself can quickly become a full-time job. Your decision as to whether to breastfeed or bottle-feed will determine, to a large extent, how you go about ensuring that your baby is fed properly while at the same time making sure that you don’t begin to feel overwhelmed. If you have decided to breastfeed, then obviously you are the only one who will be able to actually feed your baby, but there are still other ways your husband, friends, and relatives can help you out. For instance, if you are pumping milk, you can have others help store the milk and prepare the bottles. You can also delegate some of the many other care-giving duties so that you can focus your full attention to caring for yourself and your new baby.
Although you may be tempted (by your own need for sanity) to try to develop a feeding schedule for your little one, he may not be cooperative. Newborns prefer to be fed on-demand and will let you know it by crying with increasing intensity until they receive the bottle or breast they’re craving. Doctors agree that you should always feed your little one as soon as he shows signs of being hungry. This means if you plan an outing that lasts more than a couple of hours, you will need to plan ahead and make sure you are prepared to feed your baby on the go.
Although scientists have proven that a mother’s milk is the most nutritious option for a newborn, there are many valid reasons why many new moms prefer bottle-feeding as well. Some women simply do not produce enough milk for their baby to thrive while many babies fail to latch on to their mother’s breast, thus making the bottle the best alternative. There are many quality infant formulas on the market today that mimic the contents of breast-milk as closely as possible and are good alternatives to breastfeeding. Be sure to always hold your newborn while bottle-feeding, and tilt the bottle upright so that the milk fills the nipple. This practice will help prevent your baby from swallowing too much air while drinking and developing a stomachache as a result.
Throughout the first several months of your baby’s life, the doctor will monitor her closely to ensure that she is getting enough nutrition for her to grow and develop properly. Doctors recommend that you feed your baby formula or breast-milk, or a combination of the two, exclusively for at least the first four months. After that time, your baby may begin to show signs that she is ready for juice and even solid foods. Also, as your baby’s stomach grows along with the rest of her body, it will be able to hold more food at once, thus eliminating the need for 24/7 feedings and freeing you to engage in other enjoyable activities—like playing with your new baby, for instance, and marveling as her personality blossoms!
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