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Feeding Your Newborn

Feeding, among the long list of other concerns, might be one of the top worries that first-time parents have. How many times should my child be fed? How will I know when my child is hungry or full? Breastmilk or formula? These are some of the questions that you may have. . Fret not, we are here to help you answer those lingering questions.

Breastmilk or Formula

Breastmilk is the ideal food for babies. The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends that babies should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months. Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies as it has all the nutrients that a newborn needs and is easy to digest for your baby’s maturing digestive system. Formula, on the hand, is developed to imitate those natural  nutrients found in breastmilk Breastmilk contains antibodies that can help boost baby's’ developing immune system against harmful pathogens and are found lacking in formula.  . Not only beneficial for  the baby,  breastfeeding also benefits the mother. Breastfeeding helps burn calories thereby assisting nursing mother to faster  get back into shape . It also  reduces the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers among nursing mums..

Although formula may not have as much benefit compared to breast milk , there are some benefits of formula milk too.  Formula milk can help to supplement your baby’s milk intake should you have difficulty producing sufficient breast milk and it can be used as replacement for babies with special diet needs.

Feeding time

Since breast milk can be easily digested, most newborns need 8 – 12 feedings a day, which comes to about one feeding every 2 – 3 hours. As newborns get older,  their milk intake will increase  per feeding , therefore requiring less nursing and allowing  longer stretch between each feeding.

The next natural question would be “how can I know when is the baby hungry”. There are many tell-tale signs that you can look out for. Signs that suggest that babies are hungry include:

  • Moving their head from side to side

  • Opening their mouth

  • Sticking out their tongue

  • Placing their hand or fist in their mouth

  • Puckering their lips as to suck

  • Nudging against their mother’s breast

  • Showing rooting reflex (when a baby moves its mouth in the direction of something that's stroking or touching its cheek)

Feeding schedule need not be rigid as babies will instinctively let parents know whenever they are hungry.

Just like how babies will how that they are hungry, they too will display signs when they are full too! Signs include slow, uninterested sucking; turning away from breast or bottle. Stop the feeding once these signs surface. Remember to burp the baby after feeding! (Click here for some burping basics)

Solid food

Breastfeeding can take a toll on mums since babies may have to be fed in the middle of the night. Introducing solid food to babies at the right age can help babies stay full for a longer period of time. The recommended age for solid food is about 6 months old. Watch out for your baby’s sign of readiness to solid food. These signs include the baby being able to hold their head up, makes chewing motion and showing interest in food. When introducing solid food, do it slowly as a precaution that the baby might develop allergies to some food.

Feeding your newborn may seem daunting in the beginning, but as always, it will always get easier with practice and time!


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