A Guide to Feeding Newborns: Breastfeeding & Bottle Feeding
Feeding is one of the many parenting topics that attract a plethora of attention and opinions. Ultimately, whether you choose bottle feeding, breastfeeding, or a combination of the two should be entirely up to you.
Of course, one of your first ports of call anytime you have a question about the health and well-being of your little one (and yourself!) should be your doctor. Our team has also put together some information about strategies you can use to ensure your newborn gets all the care and nutrients they need — whether you opt for breast or bottle feeding.
How Often Does My Baby Need to be Breastfeed?
No two babies are alike — and the same could be said for their mums! Breastfeeding is a tandem effort, and the frequency and length of feedings will change as your baby grows.
What Is Responsive Feeding?
Responsive feeding is a popular approach to feeding your little one that involves responding to their external cues to determine when they’re hungry and full rather than following a strict schedule.
It can take some time for you to learn these cues, particularly if your baby is in the newborn stage, but advocates of responsive feeding believe that the approach can foster a positive connection between parents and their children and kick-start a healthy relationship with food.
How Long Should Each Breastfeed Last?
The answer to this question will depend entirely on the needs of your little one. Some babies prefer shorter feeds that are more frequent, while others respond better to longer feeds with greater breaks in between.
Another factor that impacts the length of time a feeding lasts is the age of your child. Generally speaking, newborns will need to be fed more often, which is known as cluster feeding. Cluster feeding is quite common and is normal behaviour for a baby — some mothers worry that it suggests they don’t have enough milk or that their little one is going hungry.
Cluster feeding can actually help to boost your milk supply. During this time, it’s important that you get enough rest, drink plenty of fluids and ensure you eat well to look after your own wellbeing.
Give yourself and your baby time to get into a feeding rhythm, with the knowledge that this will change as they get older.
I’m Having Difficulty Breastfeeding — Who Can I Go to for Assistance?
It’s perfectly normal to experience difficulties breastfeeding, but it can cause stress and anxiety, particularly for first-time parents or those who have had no issues with previous kids.
The first thing to know is that there are many people who you can turn to for help. If you feel comfortable, consider asking friends and family members about their breastfeeding experience. Your GP or a community child health nurse can also provide professional advice and assistance.
You can even reach out to the Australian Breastfeeding Association for further information and support.
When to Stop Breastfeeding
The decision to stop breastfeeding is always a difficult one, as for many parents, it represents an intimate bond between mum and bub.
Young babies may begin showing signs they are ready to move on from breastfeeding from six months of age, while some children may be satisfied with goat's milk formula or food supplements sooner than this.
Mums who notice a decrease in the flow of their milk might assume that their child is ready to wean, as well as those who have trouble nursing due to problems like mastitis.
If you are unsure whether now is the time to stop breastfeeding, it's a good idea to consult your doctor, keeping in mind that what worked for friends or family members may not be the best option for you and your little one.
Whatever the reason for ending breastfeeding, know that there are plenty of options out there you can try that will help your little one stay healthy and well-fed.
How to Stop Breastfeeding
Ending breastfeeding can be a difficult transition for you and your baby, and it's a good idea to take the time to create a plan that works best for both of you.
Gradually reducing the number of feedings over time is a popular strategy that can help both mum and bub adjust to this change. Some mums also choose to express breastmilk and feed it to their little one in a bottle, which can help reduce any physical discomfort that can come with weaning.
Remember that continuing skin-to-skin contact with your baby is critical, even if you have stopped feeding. Doing so helps foster that special bond between mum and bub.
How to Bottle Feed a Newborn
Parents choose to bottle feed their newborn for many different reasons. The first time you bottle feed, it might feel slightly awkward or uncomfortable for you and your little one. Keep these tips and tricks in mind to ensure the experience is as seamless as possible.
Begin by washing your hands before handling any supplies or bottle-feeding equipment, and make sure everything is appropriately sterilised. Check that both you and your baby are relaxed in an upright position to allow an easier flow of liquid. Gently hold the bottle at an angle that is comfortable for your bub, making sure the milk doesn't flow too quickly.
Always burp your baby after feedings, and make sure your Spewy™ is close at hand to clean up any spills!
How to Make Bottle Feeding Easier
If you're struggling to bottle feed your newborn, the first thing to do is try to avoid stressing about it. We understand this is easier said than done but know that heaps of mums and dads have been through this journey before, and there are plenty of solutions out there. The trick is just finding the right one!
Making sure your baby is comfortable during the process is crucial. Make sure their neck and head are supported by your arm and place a Spewy™ on your lap to catch any spills. Using a correct size teat will help prevent air ingestion, which can allow them to drink more milk and reduces the likelihood of an upset tummy!
If you still have difficulties bottle-feeding your little one, speak to your healthcare professional for specific advice and recommendations.
How Long Can We Use a Feeding Bottle?
The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including your little one's level of hand-eye coordination and when you are planning to start incorporating food into their diet.
Regardless of when you plan to introduce solid foods, make sure you keep your Spewy™ around to quickly mop up the inevitable spew and spills that come with this transition!
Can I Exclusively Pump and Bottle Feed?
Yes — plenty of parents choose to pump and bottle feed. Maybe their little one is having problems latching. Mum might be returning to work but still want to feed their newborn breast milk, or perhaps breastfeeding is causing them discomfort.
Whatever the case, exclusively pumping and bottle feeding is a choice made by many parents and won’t have any negative effects on your bub’s development or well-being.
Can We Mix Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding?
For sure! Many parents choose to combine these two feeding methods, particularly if mum is heading back to work or having difficulties producing enough breast milk. You can use either expressed milk or formula, depending on the situation and the preferences of your baby.
How to Transition From Breastfeeding to Formula
There comes a time when all mums must start the process of weaning. Depending on your child’s age, you might transition from breastmilk to formula or solid foods.
Partial weaning, which is where you continue to breastfeed while introducing other sources of nutrients, is a great way of diversifying your your little one’s diet.
Ultimately, how you manage this transition will depend on your needs, your bub’s preferences and the advice of your doctor.
Navigating the World of Feeding
Whether you're a first-time parent or have been on this journey before, trying to find the right feeding technique or combination of strategies can be difficult. Throw in dirty nappies, gastro bugs and reflux, and you're set for countless sleepless nights!
Fortunately, the team at Spewy™ is here to help with our range of practical, versatile products. The Spewy™ and Bed Mat are loved by parents around the country as they reduce cleaning time and help you get back to looking after your little one sooner.
Whether you feed by breast or bottle, spewing is unavoidable — just make sure you have the Spewy™ right by your side!