Welcoming a newborn into your family is an extraordinary and joyous experience. As a new parent, it’s natural to feel some apprehension as you wonder how to best care for your precious bundle of joy.
Nurturing an infant requires knowledge, patience, and a whole lot of love. In this article, we will explore one of the most important aspects of infant care – nutrition.
Ensuring Proper Early Infant Nutrition
Proper nutrition during the early stages of infancy is crucial for your baby’s growth, development, and overall health. There are several important points that many mothers may not be aware of in terms of either breastfeeding or formula feeding. Let’s explore this further.
Breastmilk As The Primary Nutrition Source
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for newborns. It provides the perfect balance of nutrients, antibodies, and enzymes that support your baby’s immune system.
For new mothers, you want to remember to breastfeed from both breasts. Sometimes, mothers use only one breast to feed. Doing so can lead to a milk supply imbalance between the breasts.
The breast that is not being adequately stimulated may produce less milk over time, while the breast being used more frequently may produce more milk.
It is generally recommended to offer both breasts during each feeding session. This allows for equal stimulation and drainage of milk from both breasts. Doing so can also prevent potential issues later on.
You also want to burp your baby by gently patting or rubbing its back. This helps release any trapped air and prevents discomfort from gas. You can burp your baby when switching feeding positions or after you are done feeding.
The World Health Organization (WHO) advises mothers to breastfeed their infants for about six months. After six months, they can continue breastfeeding but gradually start to introduce solid foods until two years of age or so.
Formula for infants is a specially designed alternative to breast milk. It intends to provide most of the necessary nutrients for a baby’s growth and development. It is a combination of various ingredients, such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. This combination mimics the composition of breast milk as closely as possible.
Formula feeding can be a highly effective way to feed your baby when breastfeeding is not an option. There are various types of formulas, but the most common ones are made from cow’s milk. Other types include soy-based, hydrolyzed, and specialized formulas for certain medical conditions.
Formula Also Has Certain Risks
While formula can be extremely helpful, the aspect of when to use it is something to carefully consider. Cow’s milk formula is known to be dangerous to children under the age of 12 months. This is because it drastically increases the risk of Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a deadly disease that affects intestinal tissue in infants.
Many baby formula brands like Similac and Enfamil are being taken to court over the dangers of their formulas. As a result, these brands are likely to compensate victims with NEC lawsuit payout and settlement amounts anywhere from $5,000 – $500,000 per case.
According to TorHoerman Law, both brands are now involved in multi-district litigation and are undergoing bellwether trial selection. It will be interesting to see how verdicts affect the baby formula market.
Reading Your Infant’s Cries: Feeding Time Or Diaper Change Time?
As a new parent, deciphering your infant’s cries can feel like trying to crack a complex code. However, understanding what your baby is trying to communicate is essential for meeting their needs promptly and ensuring their well-being. One common challenge parents face is differentiating between hunger and the need for a diaper change.
Hunger cries are often characterized by a repetitive, rhythmic pattern. They may start softly and gradually increase in intensity. Your baby may display cues such as lip smacking, sucking motions, or putting their hands to their mouth.
Other hunger cues include rooting (turning their head towards the stimulus), restlessness, and increased alertness.
To confirm if your baby is hungry, try offering a pacifier or gently stroking their cheeks. If they continue to show signs of hunger and their cries persist, it is likely time for a feeding. Remember, hunger cues can vary from baby to baby, so observe your little one carefully and trust your instincts.
Infants may also cry when they feel uncomfortable due to factors such as wet or soiled diapers, gas, or clothing that is too tight.
Discomfort cries may sound more whiny or continuous compared to hunger cries. Your baby may squirm, arch their back, or pull up their legs when experiencing discomfort.
To address their discomfort, you can offer reassurance and a soothing presence to calm your baby down. Try techniques such as gentle rocking, swaying, singing, or providing a pacifier for non-nutritive sucking.
Motherhood can seem intimidating, and you may feel helpless at times. However, as you spend more time with your baby, you will come to feel more at ease. You will naturally begin to understand what your baby wants and learn to satisfy its needs.
Feeding habits can feel confusing as well, but even here, you will get the hang of it after a while. Ultimately, relax and cherish the moment. Infancy is a precious time when you get to create a deep and loving bond with your child.