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Week 31

Week 31 | Feeding your newborn

You’ll be amazed how much time you spend feeding your newborn baby! Most infants actually lose some weight in the first few days after birth; this is normal and expected. Formula-fed babies will lose an average of five percent of their birth weight, and breastfed babies lose about seven to ten percent. Eating is a brand new thing for baby, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t click right away. Generally, babies regain their birth weight by two weeks old.

Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed, it’s a good idea to have a few bottles on hand. Your partner may be eager to bond with the baby through feeding too, or you may need to be away from the baby for an extended period of time. Breast milk can be expressed by hand, but most people find a pump easier. Pumping milk also allows you to build up your supply. Most pumps allow you to connect a bottle of your choice so you can pump directly into the bottle.

Newborn sets

When it comes to choosing a bottle for your baby, the truth is your baby will often choose which type of bottle they prefer. If possible, try out a few different types of bottles and see which one baby likes best. Some sets come with multiple nipple-shaped options, so you can use the same bottles but switch out the nipple until you find a good latch. Newborns will only drink an ounce or two at a time when they first come home, but their tiny tummies will grow quickly. A newborn bottle set often has small bottles and larger ones, together with slow-flow and faster-flow nipples.

Reducing gas

Bottle-feeding does not have to mean gas pain for your little one. Many newborns suffer from gas as their intestines are still maturing. It is important to burp your baby every three to five minutes of feeding or between breasts. While all babies will have a certain amount of gas, there are many features you can look in your feeding system to reduce air intake into the stomach: drop-in liners, air vents, and an angled bottle can all help prevent excess air during feeds.

Choosing the right nipple

Finding the right nipple for your baby will make feeding go a lot smoother. Nipples are often sized using a number system (0-4). If the nipple is too large, your baby will eat too fast. If the nipple is too small, it will cause your baby to take in extra air. Follow your baby’s cues and you’ll be able to tell if you’re using the right nipple. For example, if the feeding is taking too long for baby’s liking, and baby is sucking hard and getting frustrated, you may need a larger size. If milk keeps pouring down your baby’s chin, you may need a smaller nipple. Introducing the bottle

If you plan to breast- and bottle-feed, it’s always advised to establish breastfeeding first. Bottle feeding is easier for newborns, and they may refuse the breast if the bottle is offered too early. However, if you wait beyond six weeks to introduce a bottle, it may mean that your little one refuses it, preferring the breast.

Temperature

While it is not necessary to heat formula, young babies usually prefer it to be about body temperature. Some bottle-warmers plug into your car’s outlet, and there are many thermos-type products designed to keep bottles warm for hours. You can also warm bottles by swirling them in hot water. Microwaves heat unevenly, which can cause hot spots and risk scalding your baby’s mouth. It’s also much easier to accidentally overheat things in a microwave, and overheating breastmilk can deplete its nutrients. Use caution (and BPA-free bottles) if you choose to use a microwave; always swirl the bottle several times after warming, and check the temperature of the milk or formula by putting a drop on your inner wrist.

Every pregnancy and baby is unique. Your baby’s measurements and milestones may vary from the information provided. Always refer to the advice of your healthcare professional.