Medical advancements have come up with several alternative foods for newborns, but none of them can successfully compete with breast milk. Mother’s milk has all the essential nutrients that a newborn requires for his physical, emotional and neurological growth.
Doctors suggest that breast milk is a complete food for babies up to six months of age, as it is easy to digest and has more nutrients than formula milk. Many first-time mothers have questions like - when to breastfeed the baby, how much, for how long and many more. Here are few tips on establishing a nursing schedule.
Establish a Nursing Schedule
A baby needs to be breastfed at least 8 to 12 times a day. For new moms, scheduling the nursing time seems like a challenge. You may get primary assistance from your doctor, but you may also find it difficult to maintain a routine when you reach home. Your baby will sleep for most part of the day in the beginning; this is the time to catch up on your sleep as you will have to wake up several times in the night to feed him. After a few days, start timing his feeds at regular intervals and be consistent with the routine.
Understand the Feeding Cues
You need to understand that the food requirement of every newborn is different. While some babies are easily satisfied, others feel hungry often. The real challenge for a new mom is to understand when the baby needs his next nursing. For this, you need to learn feeding cues that indicate the signs of hunger in newborns, such as:
- He is awake, alert and active
- He is sucking on his hand or cloth
- He is moving his lips together
- He is sticking out his tongue
- He is making sounds
- He is pulling up his legs
- He is moving his head from one side to other
- He is moving his head towards your breast while you are holding him
Many experienced moms and elderly women around you may suggest that your newborn will cry when he is hungry. Nevertheless, you must understand that crying is a late indication of hunger. He has no other option but to cry when you fail to reciprocate to his needs. Thus, try to catch hold of other signs when your baby needs a nursing.
Read the Signs of Satisfaction in Babies
During the first few weeks of birth, nurse him for as long as he latches on to your breast. Feed him for approximately 10 to15 minutes on each breast, until you notice the signs of satisfaction. As he gets older, about 6-8 minutes will be enough on each breast. The more you breastfeed him, the greater amount of milk will be produced by your body. Some signs of satiation that you may notice include:
- He removes himself from the breast
- He stops sucking, and your breasts feel lighter
- He falls asleep
- He turns away from the breast
- He appears content
Preparing a nursing schedule for your baby should be done in accordance with your doctor’s consultation. Generally, you need to feed your baby eight to twelve times a day during the first month. From the second month to the fourth month, the doctor may suggest feeding the baby six times a day. You may either follow a prescribed schedule or let your baby decide when he wants to nurse.
As a new mom, it’s obvious that you will fret handling and nursing your baby for the first few days. It is very common; however, every mom devices her own special way of getting around the newborn. You too will, we are confident!