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The Baby Feeding Guide: Ensuring Your Child's Nutritional Satisfaction

Breastfeeding is one of the first responsibilities that fall on a new mother. Here is what you should know if you will begin or have just begun breastfeeding your baby


Giving birth to a Giving birth to a child is one of the most life changing experiences in a person's life. Especially when a woman gives birth to a baby, she goes through various changes physically, mentally and emotionally. Being a first-time mother can be a little tricky, especially when it comes to breastfeeding. Most new mothers find themselves confused and worried about a lot of factors. 

Here is what you should know about breastfeeding if you have just begun to breastfeed. 


Don’t stress about milk supply


While you’re still pregnant, your body starts producing colostrum, a special type of breast milk referred to as “first milk” which is packed with healthy nutrients to support a strong immune system. This colostrum is the first step in beginning breastfeeding and will be ready for the baby as soon as you start nursing. It’s important to remember that newborn babies stomachs are incredibly small. Babies only consume around a teaspoon per feeding in the first 24 hours after birth, so don’t be discouraged about not producing large volumes of milk on your first day. As you continue to breastfeed and your baby grows, your milk will change and your supply will increase to meet your baby’s evolving needs. All women are equipped to feed a baby. Establishing breastfeeding is always easier if you're able to put your baby to your breast within a few minutes of delivery. 


Feeding on demand is the best


A baby can digest a full feed of breast milk in about an hour and a half. Breastfeeding on demand means frequent feeding. Mothers who breastfeed their babies on demand produce more milk than those who breastfeed on less frequent intervals. Milk production can be affected by many things, including how you're feeling, how healthy you are, and what you eat. The change from colostrum to breast milk is triggered by changes in your hormones after birth, but the supply of milk depends on the frequency of feeding your baby. The best way to keep up the milk supply is to feed your baby often. Newborns should be nursed at least eight to 12 times in 24 hours. 


Every few weeks babies go through a growth spurt when they seem to want to nurse all the time. To meet this need, you should nurse your baby more often when this happens. If you give supplement formula during this time or at any time during the first few weeks, it can interfere with the supply and demand balance. Also if you find that your baby tends to fall asleep soon after you've started feeding, try lying on your side, with your baby lying beside you. Children find feeding less tiring this way. The key to trouble-free breastfeeding is knowing how to get your baby's mouth correctly latched on to your breast. To encourage your baby to latch on as easily as possible, give yourself plenty of time to feed your baby. 


Benefits of Breastfeeding


  • Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of certain diseases and helps build a strong immune system

  • Breast milk provides ideal nutrition for babies. Breast milk contains everything baby needs for the first 6 months of life, in all the right proportions. Its composition even changes according to the baby’s changing needs, especially during the first month of life. During the first days after birth, your breasts produce a thick and yellowish fluid called colostrum. It’s high in protein, low in sugar, and loaded with beneficial compounds. It’s truly a wonder food and not replaceable by formula.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce disease risk in babies like diabetes, high cholesterol, asthma and allergies.

  • Breastfeeding helps mother burn calories and reduce post- pregnancy weight.

  • Continued breastfeeding also pauses ovulation and menstruation. 


How Much and How Often to Breastfeed


Every baby is different. How much and how often your baby feeds will depend on your baby’s needs


  • Your newborn baby’s belly is tiny. He or she does not need a lot of milk with each feeding to be full.
  • Your baby may want to feed as often as every 2 hours. Frequent feeding helps increase your milk supply and gives your baby practice at sucking and swallowing.
  • After few months As babies grow, their bellies also grow. Your baby will gradually be able to drink more breast milk at each feeding.
  • Over the first few weeks and months, the time between feedings will start to get longer. Some babies may feed as often as every hour at times, often called cluster feeding. Or may have a longer sleep interval of 4 to 5 hours.


You will know that feeding is going well when your baby is:


  • Satisfied and happy after most feeds.
  • Bright, alert and active when awake.
  • Settling and sleeping after some feeds during the day or night.
  • Having plenty of wet and dirty nappies.
  • Gaining weight.


Newborn Feeding Schedule


  • Most newborns feed every 2 to 3 hours, or 8 to 12 times every 24 hours. Babies might only take in half ounce per feeding for the first day or two of life, but after that will usually drink 1 to 2 ounces at each feeding. This amount increases to 2 to 3 ounces by 2 weeks of age.
  • At about 2 months of age, babies usually take 4 to 5 ounces per feeding every 3 to 4 hours.
  • At 4 months, babies usually take 4 to 6 ounces per feeding.
  • At 6 months, babies may be taking up to 8 ounces every 4 to 5 hours.


Medanta Medical Team
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