FAQ: Baby and breastfeeding

When should baby get her first feed? Are feeding intervals counted from the time my baby starts or stops nursing? How can I tell when my baby’s ready to eat? Do babies only cry because they are hungry?

When should my baby get her first feed?

The first milk the mother produces, colostrum, is the best food for a newborn. So it would be ideal to latch your baby as soon as she is born. Most babies remain alert for about 40 minutes to an hour after delivery. Take advantage of this period to see if she might be interested in breastfeeding right away but do not force her if she is not interested.

The suckling reflex of a newborn is at its height 20 to 30 minutes after birth. If the infant is not fed at this time, the reflex diminishes rapidly until about 40 hours later.

Are feeding intervals counted from the time my baby starts or stops nursing?

Feeding intervals are counted from the time when your baby begins to nurse rather than when she ends to when your little one starts nursing again. In other words, when your doctor asks how often your baby is feeding, you can say "every 2 hours" if the first feeding starts at 6am and your next feeding is at 8am, and then 10am.

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How can I tell when my baby’s ready to eat?

It's generally recommended that you feed your baby whenever he or she seems hungry. Instead of waiting till your baby cries out of hunger, you can try feeding before she gets so hungry and upset and becomes difficult to calm down.

One way to tell if your baby is ready to eat is to watch the clock. If your baby is crying only an hour after a good feeding, there may be something else causing the distress. Signs that babies are hungry include:

 moving their heads from side to side
 opening their mouths
 sticking out their tongues
 placing their hands and fists to their mouths
 puckering their lips as if sucking
 rooting for the mother‘s breast (when a baby moves its mouth in the direction of something)

You‘ll also need to watch for signs that your baby is full such as slow, uninterested sucking or turning away from the breast. Stop the feeding once these signs appear and do not force the baby to drink more.

Do babies only cry because they are hungry?

It's also important to understand that every time your baby cries it is not necessarily because of hunger. Sometimes babies just need to be cuddled or changed. Or they could be overstimulated, bored, too hot or too cold or have gas in their stomachs.

These answers have been brought to you by The Breastfeeding Experts Website at www.thebreastfeedingexperts.com proudly supported by Philips AVENT

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