Most new mothers worry a lot whether they are feeding their newborn right and if their baby is getting enough to eat at each feeding. The amount of milk that a baby takes at each feeding is usually determined by the baby itself. When the baby is very young it will require more feedings, usually every two hours the whole day or effectively twelve times a day. As your baby grows bigger, it may require less feeding times. A breastfed baby will require more feedings as the mother’s milk is easily digested. Babies that are bottled fed normally follow the recommendation of their pediatrician on the number of feedings and the amount of milk being given at each feeding time. However if you feel that your newborn is eating less than recommended, here are some ways to stimulate your baby to eat more at each feeding.
- Vary the way you are holding your newborn while it is feeding. Some babies do not like to lie flat. They want to be angled so that their head is much higher than the rest of their body. They may also like to have a cushion or pillow under them rather than just your arm for support. Check the angle which will work best for your newborn.
- Some babies will fall asleep while feeding. When this happens try to move your nipple around the baby’s mouth to stimulate it to suck again. Give your baby frequent burping in between feeding to remove trapped air that may cause the baby to feel full. Give your baby gentle pats and rubs on his back to release the air as well as stimulate your baby to suckle again.
- Some babies are easily distracted by noise around the house. If this is the case, nurse your newborn in a room that is quiet. If the baby falls asleep but is still latched to the nipple, stimulate it by gently rubbing your finger on your baby’s cheek close to its mouth. You can also tickle her on the soles of her feet or her toes. When the baby has had her fill she will usually release the nipple or turn away from it and continue to sleep.
- If your baby is feeding from a bottle and falls asleep halfway tilt the bottle so that nipple will touch the roof of his palate. This will tickle him and stimulate her reflex to suckle again. As your baby begins to eat again return the bottle to its normal position.
- Be assured that babies eat in varying amounts during different times of the day. If your see visual signs that your baby is growing and is continuously increasing its weight it is a clear indication that you are feeding your baby the right amount of food. You can also gauge it by the number of soiled and wet diapers daily. Another thing that you can take into consideration is how your baby behaves when she is awake. A healthy baby is a happy baby. If she is active and generally does not fuss when she is awake be assured that she is getting the right amount of food that she needs.
Use the feeding chart that the pediatrician will give you. Use this as your basis for the right amount of milk that your newborn will need at the different stages of her growth until she is old enough to eat other foods.