Feeding is one of the baby’s first enjoyable experiences. There are two sources to supply nutrition to infants: one is breastfeeding and the other is bottle feeding with formula. We feel that mother’s milk is the optimal source of nutrition and urge you to consider breastfeeding. There are, however, many good reasons that parents may choose to use formula. Standard infant formulas supply all of your baby’s nutritional needs.
Feeding time should be pleasant for you and your baby. Whether you are breast or bottle feeding, hold your baby close. We suggest using a flexible, on-demand feeding schedule initially. This means feeding your baby whenever he is hungry, usually every 2-3 hours. During the first 2-3 days after birth, many babies prefer to sleep rather than eat. During this time, you may need to wake your newborn to feed. Newborns can lose up to 10% of their birth weight during this time. Our physicians will follow your baby’s feeding and weight loss closely after discharge from the hospital.
Babies swallow air during feedings. Give your baby a chance to burp half way through and at the end of his feeding. Hold him upright on your shoulder and pat or rub him gently on the back. Most babies spit up some milk after feedings. These “wet burps” are more of a mess than a serious problem.
Breastfeeding is the most natural, least expensive and most convenient way to feed your baby. Breast milk also provides some protection against infection. Normal breast milk may vary in color from thick yellow milk to thin bluish-white milk. Colostrum, the breast milk secreted in the first few days after birth, is a yellow color and is full of immunoglobulins (proteins that function as antibodies to boost the immune system). Both breasts should be used at each feeding; always alternate which breast you start the feeding with. Breastfeed for 10-15 minutes on each side, so that the baby gets the rich hind milk that comes out of the breast later in the feeding. Mothers should have a normal well-balanced diet and should avoid alcohol.
Local support/lactation help:
Top websites and resources:
Medications considered safe while breastfeeding:
- Pain/Fever: acetaminophen, ibuprofen
- Allergies: loratadine (Claritin)
- Cold meds: dextromethorphan (cough suppressant)
- Antibiotics: amoxicillin, cephalexin (Keflex), azithromycin (Zithromax)
- Anti-fungals (yeast): fluconazole (Diflucan), nystatin
- Oral Contraceptives: progestin-only; IUDs with progesterone
- Anti-depressants: sertraline (Zoloft)
If you choose to formula feed your baby, we recommend using one of the standard infant formulas with iron. Please be sure to follow the instructions on the formula for mixing. Bottles and nipples should be washed either by hand or in the dishwasher; extreme sterilization methods are no longer necessary. City water does not need to be boiled prior to use. Well water should be boiled for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria (or use bottled water). This is only necessary for the first 2 months of the infant’s life. Formula may be fed at room temperature or warmed by placing the filled bottle in a pan of warm water for a few minutes. Test the temperature of the formula by shaking a few drops on your wrist. Do not microwave formula as this can cause “hot spots” that could burn the baby.
Vitamin D supplements:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using Vitamin D supplements to prevent rickets, a softening and weakening of the bones. ALL infants that are exclusively breastfed OR are receiving less than 32oz of formula per day should be given 400 IU of liquid vitamin D each day, starting in the first few days after birth. Vitamin D supplementation should continue until the baby is receiving at least 32 oz of formula per day or is over 12 months consuming 32 oz of whole milk per day.
Vitamin D Supplemental drops can be found at your local grocery store, pharmacy or Amazon. Recommended brands include Baby D drops, D-Vi-Sol, Mommy’s Bliss and Zarbee’s.
Your baby will receive proper nutrition through breastfeeding and/or formula feeding and will not need solids until 4-6 months of age. Adding solids prior to 4 months will not help your baby sleep through the night. Only add rice cereal to your baby’s diet prior to 4 months if specifically recommended by your physician.