Feeling anxious and unsure about feeding your child is perfectly normal. Taking home your new baby for the first time can be terrifying. Something as basic as knowing how often to feed, how to feed, and what to feed can be overwhelming. There are so many conflicting theories and people giving different types of advice. To cut through the confusion, here are five facts all new parents need to know about feeding an infant:
1. Eye Contact Matters
Whether you choose to bottle feed your baby the best baby formula or give them the goodness of the breast, the feeding habits will be similar. You’ll notice your little one staring up at you with a devout expression. While many mothers use feeding times as a welcome break to catch up on text messages and browse social media, you may be missing out on crucial bonding time and brain development opportunities.
Eye contact between you and your baby during feeding time strengthens your bond. Smiling and eye contact are important social signals that develop the parts of the brain responsible for social development, mental acuity, and a sense of belonging. This means your child will have a better chance of being well-behaved and easier to manage as they grow older.
2. Newborn Babies Feed 8-12 Times Per Day
No two people are the same, and this universal truth applies to babies too. On average, babies feed roughly every two hours, sometimes more frequently, sometimes less frequently. On top of this, things like teething, growth spurts, developmental milestones, and changes in life (like moving house) may affect your baby’s desire to feed.
The question is, how do you know if your baby is getting enough?
You can answer this question by looking at your baby’s nappy output – are you getting frequent wet nappies? Are there plenty of dirty diapers? Remember that breastfed babies may have far less dirty diaper output than formula-fed babies.
3. Know The Hunger Cues To Look For
How can you tell if your baby is hungry? As it turns out, hunger cues in infants are fairly simple to read, but you have to pay attention to notice them before demanding wails fill the air.
Little fists going to the mouth provide one of the most obvious signs of hunger. When babies are looking for something to latch onto, they often start sucking on their own hands. Hunger will then cue the baby to move its head from side to side, seeking milk.
Your baby may also start to wriggle and appear restless before the crying begins. This process usually lasts for around 15 minutes before your little one considers the situation dire and begins to cry.
4. Milk Is A Baby’s Primary Food For The First 12 Months
It’s difficult for adults to picture living on milk for a whole year. For your baby, this is where their primary nutrition comes from. From around mid-way through the first year (sometimes sooner), you may start to introduce solids like porridge or other recommended foods. There is no need to pressure your baby into eating more than they feel inclined to consume. Their body is still relying on milk to meet their nutritional needs, even if the amount of milk decreases with the increase in solids.
Love And Food
During this newborn phase, food and love are almost one and the same. Being fed lovingly and with a conscious purpose nurtures your baby emotionally and physically. Hold your baby close, make eye contact, and allow the love of the moment to bring you both joy and bonding.