As a parent, nourishing your baby is one of your biggest responsibilities. Although it may seem rather simple, new parents can often get rather panicky about feeding. This is because, with an infant, it can be tricky to know what is really going on.
Since your little one has no way to express themselves, you are left to guess whether they are hungry, full, or something else. While this may seem like trying to decipher a code, don’t worry, it isn’t quite as difficult. If you do feel like you need some guidance, however, these are the top tips and tricks to follow:
Get Some Advice
There is a good chance that you are going to be breastfeeding your baby. Now, you would assume that this is a rather instinctive task and that you will know exactly what to do. This isn’t always the case, though. A lot of new mothers struggle with breastfeeding their little ones.
So, to put yourself at ease, it is a good idea to get some lactation advice before the baby is born. You can find a lactation consultant or just ask friends or family members who have recently given birth. There is plenty of information available online as well.
Of course, you will need assistance once your baby is born. Therefore, you may want to have a nurse on hand the first few times you feed your infant. Or, see if there is a lactation consultant at the hospital.
Learn Your Baby’s Cues
One of the biggest questions new parents have is, “how do I know when my baby is hungry?”. Now, in the beginning, it is going to be a bit tricky to figure out the signs. After a couple of weeks, however, you will have it down pat.
Until then, you simply have to be aware of the cues. Some of the earlier signs that your little one is ready to eat involve moving their hands towards their face. They may also try to suck on their fingers or fists. Some babies smack their lips as well.
Now, many people believe the best cue is crying or fussing – it means that your baby is really hungry. Nonetheless, you shouldn’t wait for this to happen as this is a much later sign. At this point, your baby may be overly hungry and frustrated as well. Thus, it is far better to watch out for the earlier cues.
How to Know Baby Has Had Enough
You will also need to know when your baby has had enough. These cues aren’t always so straightforward. Understand, one sign is when your baby closes his or her mouth and turns away from the breast. However, this could also just mean that the baby wants to take a breast.
This is why you should burp your baby first and then see if they are ready to be fed again. If they keep resisting, they are probably done for that session. If he or she latches on, though, then they could be ready for a little more milk.
Keep an Eye on the Signs
Many parents also want to know if their baby is getting enough of nourishment, but aren’t sure how to check on this. Well, on average, newborns will feed around 12 times every 24 hours. If your baby seems content between feedings, then you know that he or she has gotten enough.
You should also pay attention to the number of diaper changes. There should be several wet diapers and about two or so bowel changes each day. This means that your little one is taking in enough food for their system.
One of the most effective methods of knowing if your baby is getting enough to eat is to make sure they get weighed regularly. They should be slowly gaining weight. If this isn’t the case, you should contact your doctor.
Do Your Research on Supplementation
As your baby gets older, they may need supplementation. In certain cases, the breast milk supply may not be enough. Thus, you will also have to give them formula every now and then. Before making this switch, though, you should speak to your pediatrician.
If you do need to proceed with formula, do some research on which brands to use. To make it easier, look through guides such as this https://littleonemag.com/best-baby-formulas/ to show you which options are considered the best.
You should know that each baby is different. Some will immediately take to the bottle while others require some time before they are weaned off the breast.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Mom
When breastfeeding, it is important to understand that the mom has needs that should be met as well. After all, each session can go on for quite a while. Not to mention, they often have to do it several times for those first few months.
This is why you should always consider how to make mom more comfortable. For instance, you may want to set up a special feeding nook, complete with a comfortable chair and perhaps an entertainment system.
It is also vital that moms are given enough to eat and drink so that they can keep their breast milk supply up. Since many feedings take place at night, dads may want to take over the morning shift. Simply have mom use a breast pump and use this in a bottle.
In fact, this is something you should consider doing after a couple of weeks or so. It is nice for dad to be able to feed the baby as well and this can take some pressure off mom. Thus, parents should work together to figure out a system.
These are the top tips and tricks to follow if you want the feeding process to go smoothly. Sure, it may take some time to get used to, but eventually, you will get the hang of it. After this, it will be like second nature to you!