Until you have your first baby, you might not realize how difficult feeding a newborn baby can be. Waking up every few hours in the night for feedings, dealing with latching issues, and trying to figure out how to breastfeed as a working mom can complicate feeding your baby. It can be physically and emotionally demanding for the mother, the baby, and the father.
Due to the complications a mother might experience with keeping their baby well-fed, they might be quick to call it quits on breastfeeding, even if it’s something they genuinely wanted to do from the start. Even mothers that solely formula-feed their baby can struggle too.
Fortunately, feeding a newborn doesn’t have to be as daunting of an experience as it might seem. Below are some words of advice regarding breastfeeding and/or formula-feeding your newborn baby.
1. Notice the Signs When Your Baby is Hungry
Newborns must be fed every two to three hours or so. However, it’s not always clockwork. And to be frank, there are times when a mother might be uncertain whether or not their little one is hungry – or still hungry after already being fed.
Signs a baby is hungry include putting a hand in their mouth, opening their mouth, or smacking their lips. When a baby is full, they might turn their head away from the breast/bottle or feed for a few seconds before stopping.
Sometimes a baby might exhibit clear hunger signs but still reject the bottle or breast. This is usually the case if something else is also bothering them, in addition to being hungry, like having a dirty diaper or needing to be burped. Before continuing the feeding session, take care of whatever else might make them fussy.
2. Low Milk Supply? Boost it with the Proper Nutrition
It can be disheartening for a woman wanting to breastfeed to discover that they suffer from a low milk supply. Before throwing in the towel, understand that it’s normal and common for your supply to be low in the first few days or so of giving birth. Low milk supply can also be due to not breastfeeding or pumping regularly. The more you feed, the more supply you should get.
However, not all hope is lost if your supply continues to be low after regularly breastfeeding or pumping. There are ways a breastfeeding mother can boost their milk supply. For example, you can try special kinds of breast pumps like Medela or Spectra, offered by Byram Healthcare, which enable you to keep your supply up. Also, there are special teas, lactation cookies, and other readily available products on the market. In addition, there are recipes online that you can try to potentially increase your supply.
3. Supplement with Formula When You Need to
Some women find issues with being able to breastfeed their child but only sometimes. For instance, they might not produce enough milk to feed their baby. Or they might find that their busy work makes it difficult to breastfeed their infant regularly. Others might experience pain after breastfeeding more than a few times a day.
You can always supplement with formula if you cannot keep your baby fully fed on breastmilk alone. This way, they get the benefits of breastmilk while still getting enough. Make sure to provide your baby with high-quality baby formulas, preferably organic certified, such as Jovie formula, which will provide your little one with all essential nutrients without the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, or GMOs.
4. Reach Out to a Lactation Specialist
Breastfeeding isn’t always as easy as we want it to be. Sadly, many new mothers feel they will fail themselves and their little ones if they ask for help. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with needing assistance.
A lactation specialist can give you many tips and tricks regarding how to breastfeed best. Not only can these specialists give you words of advice, but they can also physically help you with the process. They’ll be able to show you different breastfeeding positions, what to do if your baby has difficulty latching, and so on.
Don’t be shy to ask your lactation specialist any questions you might have. They’re here to help!
5. Trouble Troubles? Considering Switching Formulas
It’s not uncommon for a newborn to experience stomachaches now and then. However, babies are much more reactive when they experience a stomachache than we are when we have one. This is not only difficult for them but also for us as parents.
However, sometimes stomachaches, especially ones that happen daily, are due to an allergy or sensitivity. A baby might be allergic to lactose in their baby formula. They can even react to your milk if you consume something that their stomach doesn’t agree with, like gluten.
Frequent fussiness, difficulty feeding, hours of crying, problems sleeping, lots of gas or spit-up, and constipation or diarrhoea might be signs your baby is being fed the wrong stuff. If your baby is formula fed, consider switching the type or even the brand of formula they consume. There are formulas out there that are designed for constipation or sensitive stomachs, for instance.
Go to BabyKidCare.com to learn more about different types of formulas for newborns.
6. Use a Nipple Shield
Does your baby struggle with properly latching? Using a nipple shield can be a saving grace for many breastfeeding mothers. It acts as a second nipple, one that is typically longer, bigger, and more firm so that a baby can easily latch. It’s less of a frustration for both the mother and baby.
A nipple shield also comes in handy for mothers suffering from mastitis or nipple pain from breastfeeding. For most women, a nipple shield is easy to implement and causes less discomfort than breastfeeding without one. However, every woman’s experience varies.
7. Working Mom? Express Milk
About a third of the female workforce consists of mothers. Whether working part- or full-time, these mothers might find it difficult to breastfeed (or impossible if their child is in daycare) while on the clock.
Expressing milk, which is pumping breastmilk and storing it for later, is a great way to ensure your baby gets the nutrients they need while being a busy, on-the-go mom. This way, the Baby gets breastmilk without the mother having to be present to breastfeed.
A milk supply can also come in handy during nighttime feedings, as feeding bottles are easier for exhausted moms. Plus, it means Dad can pitch in during nighttime feedings too.
8. Don’t Pressure Yourself to Breastfeed
Friends, family members, and even medical professionals might have stressed how “breast is best.” Breast milk indeed has nutrients that formula may lack. It’s also true that the act of breastfeeding alone has benefits that formula-feeding doesn’t (e.g., skin-to-skin contact).
In the end, the breast isn’t always the best in all situations. If breastfeeding negatively affects your mental health or you’re taking certain medications, it might be best to stick with the formula.
Even regardless of the latter, you’re never required to breastfeed your baby. Never feel pressure from yourself or others to only or primarily breastfeed your child. Breastfeeding, expressing milk, or formula feeding: it’s ultimately your decision as the parent regarding how to feed your little one. And it’s completely found to do more than one feeding method too.
Feeding your newborn might seem easy and instinctual. In reality, it can be a tricky task. Many first-time mothers find themselves stressed when it comes to feeding their babies. But not all hope is lost. From supplementing with formula when necessary to asking a lactation specialist for help, there are many ways to make feeding a newborn baby less complicated and taxing.