Feeding a newborn: what to expect in the first month of a baby’s life

After childbirth, a newly-made mother has one of the main tasks – breastfeeding a newborn baby. Breastfeeding is supported by all national medical institutions, organizations . Although this is a natural process, many women need additional information to help them feed the baby from the first days of his life. A special role is played by the first month, when the baby adapts to the world outside the mother’s belly, and the mother herself gets used to new sensations for her, such as a rush of milk and emotional storms.

The first month for a mother and a newborn baby is the most important in terms of breastfeeding. Especially if the woman had no experience of breastfeeding before. Some people do it naturally, while others may feel anxious that the baby is eating poorly, malnourished, or refusing to breastfeed. In some cases, breastfeeding becomes impossible and your doctor may recommend mixed feeding or a complete transition to formula feeding.

The main benefits of breastfeeding are :

For the baby: contains all the essential nutrients and antibodies that protect the baby from infectious, respiratory diseases and allergies.
For the mother: promotes uterine contraction, reduces the risk of breast cancer and diabetes.
Strengthens the bond between mother and child.
Breastfeeding is more affordable for many families and requires less preparation than bottle feeding.
You can start breastfeeding in the first hour of your baby’s life. This time should be used for skin-to-skin contact and allow the baby to find the breast himself. If he wants, he can eat. All this will promote the production of oxytocin , which will help the appearance of colostrum – the first breast milk. And this hormone also strengthens the attachment between mother and child, gives a sense of calm and satisfaction.

Key breastfeeding guidelines:

  • In the first hour after childbirth, you need to attach the newborn to the breast;
  • Practice breastfeeding only, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
  • Do not give food and water for up to 6 months. In the first portion that the child consumes, the milk already contains water.
  • Do not give a bottle with a nipple unless absolutely necessary so that the baby does not give up the breast.
  • Continue breastfeeding after complementary feeding.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that breastfeeding is especially important for the first 6 months, preferably for up to a year. Further – at the request of the mother and child.
  • So that breastfeeding does not bring discomfort, the baby should grab part of the areola with the nipple. In this case, his lips should be turned outward.
  • Do not wash the breast before feeding.
  • When feeding, alternate between the left and right breasts and start the next feeding from the other breast.
  • During the first month, the newborn will eat often and a lot. This is normal, as breastfeeding is getting better at this time.

How often should a newborn be fed

Immediately after giving birth, the baby can sleep a lot and eat a lot. The first thing he will try is the very healthy colostrum. Milk will come on the second or third day. The first four weeks will have the highest feeding frequency, but over time, the baby will improve his feeding schedule.

On average, a newborn baby is breastfeed 8 to 12 times a day. The duration of feeding depends on the desire of the baby and can last from 15 minutes to an hour. Often this leads to the fact that mothers constantly feed the child, not being able to eat themselves and put themselves in order. Therefore, during this period, in order for breastfeeding to be as effective and enjoyable as possible, a woman needs support and help from loved ones.

It is best to feed a newborn baby at his request. This will stimulate milk production and not create unnecessary stress for the baby. In addition to satiety, breastfeeding provides a sense of security and reassurance.

How to tell if a child is hungry:

  • if you touch his cheek, then he turns his head;
  • restless sleep;
  • licks lips, sticks out tongue, grunts;
  • is capricious and crying.

As soon as the baby has expressed concern, you can offer him the breast. If he cries, then this is the most obvious, but the last signal of hunger.

How to understand that a child is full

  • he let go of his chest;
  • the baby’s body is relaxed, he looks happy and can immediately fall asleep;
  • in the very first days of life, the baby will need to change 1-3 diapers. Further – about five wet diapers a day.

Dehydration is one of the most dangerous conditions for newborn babies and infants. It is characterized by: lack of appetite for 4-6 hours, stool, retraction of the fontanel, drowsiness, dark urine. If you notice such symptoms in a child, you should urgently consult a doctor. This is possible both with malnutrition and with illness.

Although breastfeeding is inherent in nature and provides tremendous health benefits to the baby and his mother, it is not always easy. In the early days, let’s say some discomfort, when the process itself is getting better, the baby learns to breastfeed, and the mother’s uterus contracts. If feeding the newborn continues to cause pain or the baby refuses to breastfeed, a doctor’s consultation is necessary. The reasons can be very different: from improper attachment to illness. You may need support from breastfeeding specialists or switch to formula. You shouldn’t feel guilty about this or continue to endure pain. The most important thing is the comfort and well-being of mom and baby.

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