How to feed your newborn baby
The first contact between you and your newborn baby right after birth is important. If you place your newborn baby on your tommy (skin-to-skin) right after birth, baby will naturally seek towards your breast within the first hour. This is because it is natural to breastfeed as soon as possible after birth.
Even if you have decided to bottle-feed, it is recommended to try breastfeeding for the first couple of weeks, as the early breast milk is very beneficial for your baby and for your body. Read more about this later.
You need to know this about breastfeeding: To avoid breastfeeding getting painful, you need to make sure that baby is doing it right. When baby is feeding, the lower lip should be tilted slightly outward and the jaw should be moving. Baby should not have “dimples” when sucking, as this is a sign that it does not grip the breast correctly – if he/she grips only the nipple, baby will not get enough milk and you will soon be very sore.
How often should I breastfeed newborn?
A newborn baby should be allowed to feed as often as he/she wants to, and not according to a clock. In the beginning, this may in principle be anything from 6 – 15 times per day. Keep baby on the breast until he/she stops and offer the second breast before stopping.
How much should I feed a newborn?
If you are breastfeeding it is impossible to say how much milk the baby is getting. These signs will help you find out if baby is getting enough milk:
- Your breasts should feel heavy before feeding baby
- You should be able to hear and see baby sucking rhythmically
- Baby should be happy and content after feeding
- Baby’s digestion is working (full diaper approx. 6 times per day)
If you are bottle feeding, it is much easier to tell. A newborn baby takes approx. 80-105 ml 6-8 times per day. You can calculate how much milk the baby needs the first month using this formula: Baby needs 170 ml/day pr kg body weight. Ie, a baby weigthing 3.5 kg will need nearly 600 ml pr day.
Breastfeeding your newborn helps both you and baby
You are already producing colostrum that is the very first yellowish milk, from when baby is born or even during late pregnancy. Colostrum is only is the first milk and contains proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, antibodies etc that are important for baby and pass on the immunity you have to bacteria and virus to baby whose immune system is not fully developed. Many mothers who don’t want to breastfeed still give their baby this first vital colostrum that you only produce the first 1-2 weeks after birth.
Breast feeding right after birth also helps your body to get back to normal shape, as it helps your womb to expel the afterbirth and to contract to normal size.
If you are planning on expressing breast milk, you may also want to read how to protect nutrients in breast milk and our advise on how to store, defrost and warm expressed breast milk