May 18, 2013 No Comments
Whether it’s a breast or a bottle that will be your newborn’s ticket to a full tummy, the guidelines that follow should help make the trip a smoother one:
- Minimize the mayhem. While you’re both learning the ropes, you and your baby will have to focus on the feeding, and the fewer distractions from that job, the better. Turn off the television (soft music is fine), and let the answer phone pick up the phone at baby’s mealtimes. Retire to the bedroom to feed baby when you have guests or when the general atmosphere in the living room rivals that of a three-ring circus (which in many homes, is around the clock). If you have other children, chances are you’ll already be pretty proficient at feeding – the challenge will be keeping your older ones and your baby happy at the same time. Try diverting their attentions to some quiet activity, like colouring, that they can settle down with at your side, or take this opportunity to read them a story.
- Make a change. If your baby is relatively calm, you’ve got time for a change. A clean nappy will make for a more comfortable meal and reduce the need for a change right after – a definite plus if your baby has nodded off to dreamland and you’d rather he or she stay there for a while. But don’t change before middle-of-the feedings if baby’s only damp (sopping’s another story); such a disruption makes falling back to sleep more difficult, especially for infants who are mixing up their day and nights.
- Wash up. Even though you won’t be doing the eating, it’s your hands that should be washed with soap and water before your baby’s meal.
- Get comfy. Aches and pains are an occupational hazard for new parents who use unaccustomed muscle to carry growing babies around. Feeding baby in an awkward position will only compound the problem. So before putting baby to breast or bottle, be sure you’re comfortable, with adequate support both for your back and for the arm under baby.
- Loosen up. If your baby is tightly swaddled, unwrap him or her so you can cuddle while you feed.
- Cool down a fired-up baby. A baby who’s upset will have trouble settling down to the business of feeding, and even more trouble with the business of digesting. Try a soothing song or a little rocking first.
- Sound reveille. Some babies are sleepy at mealtimes, especially in the early days, and a concerted effort is required to rouse them to the task of nursing at breast or bottle. If your little one is a dinner dozer, try the wake-up techniques.
- Break for a burp. Midway through each feeding, make a routine of stopping for a burp. Burp, too, any time baby seems to want to quit feeding prematurely or starts fussing at the nipple – it may be gas, not food, that’s filling that little tummy. Bring up the bubble, and you’re back in business.
- Make contact. Cuddle and caress your baby with your hands, your eyes and your voice. Remember, meals should fill your baby’s requirements not just for nutrient but for parental love as well.