How Long Does It Take To Nurse
The answer to this question varies depending on the age of your baby and your milk supply. Newborns may nurse up to 20 minutes on each breast, which results in a 40-minute nursing session.
As your baby grows in size and age, theyll become more efficient at nursing. When this happens, it may only take your baby a total of 10 to 15 minutes to nurse.
Other factors to consider in the length of time it takes to nurse include:
- Time for colostrum to change to milk
- Speed of your let-down reflex
- Speed of your milk flow
- Position of your baby
- Sleepiness of your baby
- Distractibility of your baby
- When your baby starts nursing
Talk with your babys pediatrician if you have any concerns about the length of your their feedings.
How Much To Feed A Baby: The Basics
Right from the start, your baby needs the right nutrition to support healthy development. The Canadian Pediatric Society, Health Canada, Breastfeeding Committee for Canada and Dietitians of Canada recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months, as breastmilk will provide your baby with all of the nutrition that they need. After six months you can begin introducing solid foods. They further recommend that if you are breastfeeding, you give your baby a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU. If breastfeeding is not an option, dont worry: Infant formula like Enfamil A+ is designed to meet the nutritional requirements your baby needs.
Feeding Highlights for Year One
- For the first six months, breastmilk and/or baby formula will provide your baby with the nutrition they need.
- Initially, most babies do not need breastfeeding and formula feeding schedules. However, they will settle into more of a routine as they get older
- Whether you are breastfeeding or formula-feeding, it is important to listen to your babys feeding cues and feed them according to their hunger.
- Around six-months old is when you can begin to introduce solid foods to your babys diet below.
How To Mix And Handle Formula
- Check the expiration date on the container. Don’t use if the formula is past this date.
- Wash the top of the new container before opening it.
- It is important that you follow the mixing directions on the can. Your baby can get sick if you use too much water or not enough water.
- You may use city water to mix concentrated or powder formula. You may use well water if you boil it before using.
- Heat the water to a full boil for at least one minute.
- Pour the water into a clean container and cover it. Keep it in the refrigerator.
- Use the water within three days of mixing formula.
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How To Burp Your Baby
When burping your baby, repeated gentle patting on your baby’s back should do the trick. Cup your hand while patting this is gentler on the baby than a flat palm.
To prevent messy cleanups when your baby spits up or has a “wet burp,” you might want to place a towel or bib under your baby’s chin or on your shoulder.
Try different positions for burping that are comfortable for you and your baby. Many parents use one of these three methods:
If your baby seems fussy while feeding, stop the session, burp your baby, and then begin feeding again. Try burping your baby every 2 to 3 ounces if you bottle-feed and each time you switch breasts if you breastfeed.
- tends to be gassy
How Often Should A Newborn Eat If Youre Breastfeeding
- First 24 hours: Feed on demand or at least every 2-3 hours. Remember: Your baby may only drink ½ ounce of colostrum in total in the first 24 hours. But even though your baby drinks only a little, it can take up to 45 minutes per nursing session, especially if your baby is sleepy.
- First month: Feed on demand or at least every 2-3 hours during the day and 3-4 hours during the night. This works out to be about 8-12 times per day. Keep in mind that babies go through cluster feeding sessions and growth spurts where they might be nursing every 10-45 minutes!
These guidelines just discuss how often a newborn should eat. To learn more about how much a newborn should eat, check out this post.
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How To Choose Formula
Talk with your baby’s health care provider about what formula is best for your baby. Although there are many types of formula, most babies do well with one that is cow-milk based.
Unless your baby’s health care provider advises against it, choose a formula that is iron-fortified. This is important to prevent iron deficiency, which can slow development.
Once made up, all formula must be refrigerated. Formula should be thrown out after 24 hours if it has not been used.
The different types of formula are:
- powder. This is the least expensive. It does not need to be refrigerated until it is mixed with water. If you are going to be away from home, you may choose a brand that comes in individual packets. This option is more convenient, although more costly.
- concentrated liquid. This needs to have water added to it. It is more expensive than powder. It also must be refrigerated once the container is opened.
- ready-to-use formula. This is the most convenient and the most costly. It can be handy for the times when mixing might be difficult.
Signs Of Hunger And Fullness
Whether you’re using a formula, nursing, pumping, or a combination of all these feeding methods, tune in to your baby’s hunger and fullness cues before you start crunching numbers. While each baby is unique, these are are some common hunger cues to watch for:
- Crying or fussiness
- Opening of his mouth when touched on his chin or lips
- Smacking of lips or making small sounds with his mouth
- Sucking on fingers or placing fist in mouth
Fullness cues include:
- Stopping feeding or only taking a few sucks before pausing
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Topics Covered For Formula Feeding
If your baby is healthy, skip the What to Do section. Go directly to the topic number that relates to your question for advice:
How Often Should A Newborn Eat If Youre Formula
Is your baby formula-fed? Formula is digested more slowly than breast milk, so formula-fed babies dont have to eat as often in the beginning.
- For the first month: Expect a formula-fed baby to want to eat about every 3-4 hours.
- : By the time your baby is halfway through the first year, expect to feed them about four to five times per 24 hours.
Not sure how much formula your baby needs to eat at each feeding session? Head over to this post to learn more about the specifics of how much a newborn should eat.
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Your Health Care Teams Advice
With your newborn, you will have regular healthcare appointments. These routine visits are mostly for checking in and monitoring your babys growth within the first month.
During your visits, your pediatrician will examine your baby and make specific recommendations.
If your babys weight is moving too fast or too slow according to the growth chart, your doctor may recommend more or less formula to adjust your feeding routine to meet the babys needs.
This information will be specific to your baby and your situation, and often it trumps any other recommendations given.
How Often Should I Alternate Breasts
Try to offer both breasts during each feeding to sustain your milk supply. Your baby may not take the second breast if theyre full.
Some women find it helpful to alternate breasts in the middle of each feeding session, while others prefer to switch breasts at each feeding so that theyre only nursing from one for an entire session and the other during the next session.
No matter which method you choose, be sure to keep track of which breast you offered last so that youre giving both the same amount of nursing time throughout the day.
Your body is adjusting to a new life on the inside and outside: you have a new baby and a new body! During the first few days postpartum, your nipples may be a little sore from nursing. This can make breastfeeding miserable and uncomfortable. Over time, your body does eventually adjust and sore nipples become a thing of the past! But to help keep your skin comfortable while nursing especially during those first few days try our Nursing Comfort Balm, which is a soothing and restorative nipple cream. This lanolin-free balm moisturizes and protects your nipples, eases discomfort, and helps replenish and restore your skin during and after breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is now a painless pleasure!
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How To Choose Bottles And Nipples
You will find many kinds of bottles and nipples at the store. Try several kinds and see what you and your baby like best.
Bottles are made of glass or plastic. When choosing a bottle, consider:
- Glass bottles last longer but may become a problem when a child is old enough to drop or throw one.
- When choosing or reusing plastic bottles:
- Choose bottles that are made from non-polycarbonate plastic.
- Look for plastics that have the numbers 1, 2 or 5 in the recycling triangle.
- Look for plastics that are labeled “BPA-free.” Studies are suggesting that a potentially harmful chemical has been found in clear polycarbonate plastic. This is hard plastic that is usually clear.
Nipples come in several shapes and sizes. They can be made of silicon or latex. Consider the following:
What Should I Know About A Babys Feeding Schedule
- Feeding needs vary depending on babyâs age
- When to expect a natural feeding pattern to emerge
- Which cues mean your baby is ready to eat
Many new parents wonder if they should be feeding on demand or on a feeding schedule .
Early on in your babyâs life, itâs best to feed on demand instead of following a newborn feeding schedule. A baby will let you know loud and clear when theyâre hungry, and itâs important to respond to these cues to support babyâs growth and development.1
In addition, frequent growth spurts during the first 6 months often cause babyâs hunger to spike for a few days.2, 3 Your little one needs more feedings during these times to help support their fast-paced growth. This makes it even more important to follow their cues. However, as your baby gets older, their own feeding schedule begins to emerge making it more predictable for you.
How often do newborns eat?
If it feels like youâre feeding your newborn around the clock, itâs because you are! Newborns require 8-12 feeds per day, and may feed anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes at a time.3 While breastfed babies typically nurse every 1.5-3 hours in the newborn phase, formula fed infants can sometimes go 3-4 hours between feeds. However, itâs important to follow your babyâs hunger and fullness cues rather than a newborn feeding schedule to ensure your baby is getting enough.3, 5, 11
How do I know when my baby is hungry?
Signs that your baby is hungry and ready to eat include:
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How To Know Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk
For babies who nurse at the breast, it can be stressful for parents to not know how many ounces of breastmilk their baby is taking at a time. If your baby is formula-fed, you may know exactly how much formula they take at feedingsbut you still may wonder if they are getting what they need.
Signs your baby is getting enough milk:
- Baby is generally happy after feedings.
- Baby has frequent wet and dirty diapers.
- The pediatrician says baby is growing well.
When To Start Solids
Your baby needs to reach certain stages of development before you add solid food to their diet. If you breastfeed, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that you feed your baby breast milk alone until theyre about 6 months old. Many babies are ready for solids when theyre about this age.
Heres how to tell if your baby may be ready for solid food:
- They can hold up their head and keep it steady while seated in a high chair or other infant seat.
- They open their mouth for food or reach out for it.
- They put their hands or toys in their mouth.
- They can take food from a spoon and swallow it instead of dribbling it all out.
- They have doubled their birth weight and weigh at least 13 pounds.
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