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By Ann Bacon, Registered Nurse, Chair of WGH Advisory Board
Following your baby’s cues is often the best approach to determine when your baby is hungry and they don’t often require a schedule. Babies let us know they are hungry when they:
- Turn their head and open their mouth
- Put hands, fists, fingers in mouth
- Lip-smacking, open and close mouth
- Crying is a “late-stage” cue (the “neh cry). Try to feed before this stage.
Newborn tiny stomachs require them to eat frequently. How often is this? Most newborns will eat about every two to three hours or about 8 - 12 times in a 24 hour period.
Babies who are breastfed may feed a bit more frequently since breastmilk is so easily digestible. Human milk can vary in fat and protein from one woman to the next and the type of breast milk a baby gets also changes from the start of the feeding to the end. For instance, the milk at the start of the feeding is often more watery which is helpful to quench a baby’s thirst, while the milk at the end of the breastfeeding session has more fat content and is more satiating, giving your baby a full feeling.
Babies born earlier than full-term at birth (39 weeks) may require a different schedule for feedings. Talk to your health care provider about your baby’s particular feeding needs.
Feeding time can be a moment for you to recharge, breathe, and connect with your baby. Breastfeeding releases oxytocin and prolactin, two “feel good” hormones that can provide you with a sense of well-being and reduce stress and anxiety. It can give you confidence knowing that you are providing your baby with antibodies and nutrients from breast milk which will benefit them for their entire life. However, regardless if you choose to breast or formula feed your baby, feeding time provides special moments for close contact and connection with your baby. Your baby will utilize all of their senses when they taste your milk, feel your touch, look at your face, smell your scent, and hear your voice.
Tip: Most health care providers recommend not introducing solid foods to your baby until they are about 6 months old.
by Lola&Lykke Team