We recommend and support breast feeding as the preferred way to feed your baby. Not only do breast fed babies have less infections and better outcomes, but breast feeding is easier on both working mothers and mothers who stay home with their infants. Breastfeeding can also help to reduce the risk of SIDS.
Be prepared for some initial frustration as you begin to feed your baby in the hospital. Remember, babies are designed so that they do not have to have a successful feeding experience during the first day of life. We have gone to considerable effort to train our nurses in the teaching of breast feeding, and they will be more than happy to help you.
If you plan to bottle feed your baby and feel that breast feeding is not for you, know that we respect and support your decision. There are several commercial brands of formula available. We do recommend a formula with iron and the appropriate vitamins. Iron in the formula will not make your baby constipated.
Do not be surprised if your baby loses up to 5 to 10 percent of his weight in the nursery. This is to be expected, and we anticipate that the infant will be back up to birth weight until 2 weeks of age. Mothers who breast feed should stay hydrated. We recommend that breast feeding mothers continue on a multivitamin. Try to avoid fatigue and stress. The first day home may be accompanied by a temporary decrease in milk supply.
Once home, we recommend feeding the infant on demand. During certain parts of the day, this may be as often as every 1 ˝ to 2 hours and at other times the infant may sleep as long as 6 to 7 hours. After nursing is well established you may supplement if necessary with either breast milk or iron fortified formula.
We do not require formula sterilization anymore for individuals with a city water supply. Water from a well should be boiled prior to being used to mix formula or a sterilization method should be used. The bottle of milk is customarily warmed to body temperature, although no harmful effects have been demonstrated from feeding at room temperature or even cooler. The bottle should NEVER be warmed in the microwave. This can cause the bottle to explode or scald the infant.
Never, ever, prop up the bottle and leave the baby to feed itself. The bottle can easily slip into the wrong position and cause the baby to choke and possibly die.
The amount of formula each baby takes at a feeding is variable but usually starts at 1-2 ounces and increases every week up to 4-8 oz a feed.
We will talk about sold foods at a later date, usually after 4 months of age. Beginning solid foods too soon may cause the baby to be obese or have food or skin allergies. Never put solid foods such as rice cereal in your baby’s bottle, unless advised by the doctor.