Feeding Your Baby
Feeding your baby in the first year of their life is an exciting journey for parents and babies. It’s all about development, sharing, nutrition, nurture and learning. But it’s also not always the easiest journey to take…
There are 2 common ways to feed your baby:
- Formula feeding (Bottle feeding).
Why do I need to breastfeed?
Mothers are strongly advised to breastfeed their babies due to the following reasons:
- Breast milk contains colostrum that aids baby’s immune system.
- Lessens the risk of allergy and food intolerances.
- It is high in nutrients, convenient & inexpensive.
- Helps baby feel satisfied & gain weight.
- Helps to contract & shrink mother’s uterus.
- Can help to reduce risk of breast, uterus & ovarian cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis.
- Helps to create a loving bond between mother and baby.
How do I breastfeed?
When breastfeeding, it is best to follow these simple steps:
- Both mother and baby are in a comfortable position (baby’s face, tummy and knees are facing mother’s body, baby’s chin is against the breast and baby’s nose is directly opposite the nipple).
- Gently touch baby’s lips with the nipple to encourage a wide mouth.
- Bring your baby close to you so the nipple and some areola is in the baby’s mouth.
- There are no specific methods on breastfeeding. Follow a method that is comfortable for both the baby and you.
- When baby is attached correctly, for breastfeeding it should not be painful. However tenderness initially is normal.
How frequent do I need to breastfeed?
Babies have strong suck when they are born so if possible offer breast within the first hour of birth.
The actual frequency to breastfeed your baby will depend on your baby’s need and growth spurt. Many young babies will feed around 8-12 times daily or as often as they need.
How do I care for my breasts?
Here are some tips on how to care for your breasts and nipples:
- Take care of your breasts (allowing breast milk to naturally dry on your nipple is ideal due to healing properties in the milk).
- Change breast pads accordingly.
- Try to alternate breasts when breastfeeding to avoid engorging of breast or pain.
- Avoid cleaning the nipple area with shampoo, soap or other cleanser.
- Apply ointment containing lanolin, or expressed milk.
New mothers often think that they don’t have enough breast milk for the baby. This is NOT AWAYS TRUE as usually their bodies will naturally produce breast milk according to baby’s requirements. Lactation massages can help to open the milk ducts for better flow.
The best way to know that your baby is getting enough is to count wet nappies (at least 5 very wet nappies per day) and assess weight gains at Maternal and child health clinics.
2. Formula feeding (Bottle feeding):
When formula feeding or bottle-feeding your baby, there are a few tips that might come in handy for mothers to know, such as:
What types of formula are there?
- Cow’s milk based formulas – there is little difference in the nutritional value and quality between brands. Every formula bought in Australia meets strict Australian Standards.
- Soybean milk (for babies that are allergic to cow’s milk). Often babies that are allergic to cow’s milk proteins will also be allergic to soymilk.
- These formulas can be divided into:
- First stage milk (Whey Based) – suitable for babies from birth up to about a year and are thought to be easier to digest.
- Second stage milk (Casein Based) – designed for hungrier babies and is longer to digest. Nutritionally, your baby will only need first-stage formula, although you may decide to move your baby onto second-stage formula after 6 months.
How do I bottle feed?
The frequency of bottle feeding, techniques and amount of formula required will very much depend on your baby’s requirement. These few tips could provide you with some guidelines when bottle feeding your baby.
- Initially bottle fed babies will feed 6-8 bottles daily.
- Hold you baby close to you when feeding so it is a bonding experience for both of you and help with communication and connecting with your baby.
- Never prop bottles up in baby’s mouth and walk away, leaving bay to manage bottle alone. This can be dangerous and lead to lung infections, ear infections.
Strictly follow the formula preparation instructions stated on the tins to prevent your baby from getting ill.
Baby’s type of bottles and teats will depend on baby’s feeding requirement:
|No.||Type of bottles||Type of teats|
|1.||Small bottles (125ml / 4 oz) – suitable for newborns||Latex (feels more like nipples).|
|2.||Big bottles (250ml / 8 oz)||Silicone (more durable).|
|3.||Anti-colic bottles||Slow flow (for newborns).|
|Medium flow (babies 3-6 months).|
|4.||Disposable bottles||Fast flow (babies 6 months and above).|
How do I clean and sterilise the bottles & teats?
Clean thoroughly using the common bottle brush followed by these sterilising methods;
- Sterile solution
- Microwave sterilisers
- When feeding, DO NOT heat bottles in microwave oven! Microwave creates HOT SPOTS that could burn your baby’s mouth.
- Use bottles that are smooth on the inside, with no ribbing or indentations on the inside surface: easier to clean and safer to use.
- Discard left over milk in bottle after feed.