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In those initial days, your baby’s daily routine will mostly be divided into three different time slots: drinking, sleeping and pooping. (And yes, there will be a whole lot of cooing, snuggling, kissing and hugging in between, but you get the gist.) So today we’re tackling the subject of ‘feeding’ and sharing tips that we think you’ll find most useful in those early days.
1. Prepare ahead of time
Although there isn’t too much you can do before the baby arrives, it is important to make yourself aware about what your baby will need. You can prepare yourself by stocking up on nursing bras, nursing pads, comfortable clothing, nursing pillows and even burp pads. Set up a cozy nursing station in your bedroom to make it a comfortable and peaceful activity for both you and your baby.
2. Breastfeeding VS Formula
Making the choice between breastfeeding or formula milk is an important one for any parent. Although breastfeeding is recommended as the best choice for babies, it is a decision that is yours alone to make. There are many mothers who find themselves unable to nurse due to medical factors, stress or other reasons. In such cases, baby formula is a good alternative.
Most medical associations highly recommend breastfeeding as it contains most of the vitamins and minerals that a newborn baby needs. It is also digested easily, helps build your baby’s immune system, helps fight infections and other conditions and is also beneficial for the mother’s health. On the other hand, formula can also provide your little one with the nutrients they require and offers a more convenient feeding process. We do recommend that you speak to an expert and gather all the information necessary about these two feeding techniques before you make this important choice.
3. Seek advice from professionals
Even though it will most likely come to you naturally, it really helps to take breastfeeding tips and advice from nurses and doctors, while you are still in the hospital post your delivery. From how to position your baby correctly, to how to get them to latch on, or how to pump correctly, you may have a few questions initially and your hospital staff is well-equipped to help you deal with this.
4. Let your baby guide you
There are no strict rules on how much your baby should eat or how often. Look out for the telltale signs in your baby’s behaviour. Babies will typically cry, make sucking motions or become restless when hungry. Once they are fed sufficiently, they will usually pull away on their own. Sometimes they need to be burped in between nursing. On an average, most new mothers nurse their babies 8-12 times in a period of 24 hours. Once you become used to this routine, you will respond to your baby’s needs naturally. Simply watch and listen.
5. Care for your skin
During breastfeeding, don’t forget to pay attention to your body too. If your breasts become sore due to breastfeeding, use an ice pack to soothe them. If you have blocked milk ducts, you can relieve the pressure by gently dabbing them with a warm wash cloth. You can also moisturize your nipple area with recommended creams to avoid cracks in skin. Some women do suffer from allergies and rashes too so keep an eye on the skin in this area and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.
6. Make sure you’re getting the right nutrients
What you eat matters greatly while you’re nursing. Make sure you have a nutrient-rich diet. Avoid caffeine, alcoholic drinks and seafood that is high in mercury. Drink lots of water to ensure you don’t get dehydrated.
7. Introducing the bottle
According to experts, you should wait until your baby crosses the 4 to 6-week mark before introducing the bottle. This gives them a chance to make the adjustment slowly as it can be quite different from breastfeeding. As your baby is very used to your smell and feel, you can have your husband or any other family member help them get started on the bottle. If you are simultaneously breastfeeding too, devise a routine that works for both of you.
8. Savour this bonding experience
Most of all, enjoy these quiet moments of pure love with your baby. The simple skin-to-skin contact helps your little one connect with you through touch and smell, thus strengthening the bonding process.