Feeding is one of your baby's most pleasant experiences. At feeding time, the baby receives nourishment from food and a feeling of security from parents' loving care. The food helps your baby grow healthy and strong. Parental love starts your baby in the development of a secure and stable personality. Both you and your baby should be comfortable at feeding time. Choose a position that will help you to relax as you feed your baby. For your baby's comfort, be sure he or she is warm and dry. Whether breast-feeding or bottle feeding, hold your baby close. Face to face contact is very important for you baby. This is a good time to get to know one another.
TYPE OF FEEDING
Breast-milk is the best feeding for your baby. If you choose not to breast feed, an infant formula can be recommended. It is very important to use one fortified with iron. Breast-milk or formula is the only food your baby needs during the first 4 to 6 months of life. Breast-milk or formula should be continued until your baby's first birthday. The cow's milk that the rest of the family drinks is not an appropriate food for the first year of life.
WEIGHT GAIN AND LOSS
Most newborns weigh between 5 ½ to 10 pounds, with the average weight being 7 ½ pounds. During the first days of life, infants generally lose 10% of their weight before they start to gain. Breast fed babies may lose slightly more weight at first without cause for concern. This weight loss is from loss of excess body water and is perfectly normal. Most infants regain their birth weight by 10 to 14 days, double it by 4 months, and triple it by one year. Many parents want to know if their baby is eating enough. The best gauge of this is growth. Besides growth, satisfaction after eating, wetting 6 or more diapers daily, and having stools will all let you know if your baby is eating enough.
Burping your baby helps remove swallowed air. To burp your baby, hold him or her upright over your shoulder, and gently rub or pat his/her back. Another way is to place your baby face down across your lap and gently rub his/her back. Burp your baby during and after each feeding. Sometimes a baby will not be able to burp. Do not try to force the baby to burp if the first few attempts are unsuccessful. Don't be alarmed If your baby spits up a few drops when being burped. Sometimes just being patient and holding your baby upright for a few minutes will help.
Breast-milk contains all the vitamins a baby needs. Formula-fed babies need no extra vitamins because they obtain enough from their formula. Your pediatrician can discuss with you whether your baby requires supplemental vitamins.
Especially in hot weather, you may offer your baby lukewarm, boiled water or Pedialyte/Kaolectrolyte once or twice a day. Do not give your baby so much water that he or she becomes full and uninterested in breast milk or formula. Do not give your baby sugary liquids (like soft drinks or juices). They can harm your baby's teeth or cause diarrhea. Regular milk, even if boiled, is not good for a baby in the first year of life, and may cause allergies. To avoid botulism do not give honey or Karo syrup to a baby until he/she is over 1 year old. You should wait to give solid foods to the baby until he or she is 4 to 6 months old. Your pediatrician can discuss the feeding schedule with you.