When a baby needs to eat every two or three hours, even during the night, it may seem as if you’ll never get to sleep again. As she gets bigger, though, she won’t need to be fed as often.
When should you feed your baby? Whenever she is hungry. Watch the clock but also watch—and listen—to your baby. Babies usually cry when they’re hungry. If fed when hungry, many babies will start to get themselves on a regular schedule in about a month.
If you try to set a rigid feeding schedule, you and your baby may both be frustrated and unhappy. So, be as flexible as you can be during this first month.
Rather than growing a little bit each day, babies grow in spurts. During growth spurts, your baby may seem hungry all the time. She will stop eating when she is full, so don’t try to get her to take more than she wants.
All your baby’s food and nutrition needs can be met with breast milk or formula.
Breast Feeding Tips
Breastfed babies usually need to eat more often than bottle-fed babies, especially during the first few months. It is common to nurse a baby every hour or so during the part of the day when the baby is most active. Nursing will often cause a mother’s breast to make more milk.
Breast milk is the best food for babies and the only food they need for the next four to six months. Breast milk is easier to digest and helps protect babies from infections and allergies.
One way to know your baby is getting enough milk is to count wet diapers – there should be at least six a day. If you need help with breastfeeding, contact a lactation consultant at your hospital or your county WIC breastfeeding staff.
Bottle Feeding Tips
If you have decided to bottle feed your baby, cool formula won’t hurt him. Most parents want to warm formula to body temperature. Don’t heat bottles in a microwave oven. The bottle may feel cool on the outside but will still have hot spots inside that could burn your baby’s tender mouth.
Heat the bottle in a pan of warm water that has been removed from the burner, or hold the bottle under hot tap water for a minute. Always shake the bottle well to mix the formula. Test the temperature by sprinkling some formula on the back of your hand. If it feels lukewarm, it’s OK for him to drink.