What should I feed my baby?
Breast milk is the natural and ideal food for your baby. It is essential that you have good nutrition and fluid intake (8 glasses of water a day would be nice) to help your milk production. Continue your prenatal vitamins while breast feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages you to breast feed your baby up to one year of age or as long as possible. Do what is best for you and for your particular set of circumstances.
Our nurse clinicians and nurse practitioners will see you in the hospital. Do not hesitate to ask them about any aspect of breast feeding and feel free to call them for advice after you go home. If you are ever unsure about any of the advice you receive about breast feeding, ask us again and we will clear up any confusion. Always use common sense, and remember, breast feeding is a beautiful yet simple process and it has been working for millions of years.
If you decide to bottle feed your baby, you should plan on using a formula until the baby is one year of age. This is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Always use a formula with iron. Iron in an infant formula does not cause diarrhea, constipation, colic or gasthese are old wives' tales. Hospitals are often restricted in which formula they can offer you. Our current recommendation is to use Similac Advance. If this is not available in the hospital, we would recommend that you start this formula as soon as you get home. It is more cost effective to use the concentrate or powder forms of formula.
When you bottle feed your baby, get seated comfortably and hold the baby with good support. Hold the bottle so that the neck of the bottle and nipple are filled with formula. The formula should drip freely (not stream out) from the nipple. Never prop up a bottle for the baby. Never put the baby into the crib with a bottle.
If you have city water or bottled water, you do not have to sterilize your baby's formula or bottles. You should until at least six months of age if you have well water. Bottles should be washed in very hot, soapy water (or in the dishwasher) and rinsed very well in very hot tap water. Let them dry in a drying rack or inverted on a clean dish towel. Wash the nipples in hot soapy water also and rinse very well. You should place all nipples and pacifiers in boiling water for two or three minutes, once or twice a week.
HOW MUCH FORMULA?
There is no magic amount of formula that your baby should have. Newborn babies usually take 1/2 to 1-1/2 ounces per feeding. The baby will probably take 2 to 4 ounces per feeding by two weeks of age. Do not give more than 28 to 32 ounces per day. Never force the baby to take "the last drop" of formula. The amount taken may vary considerably from feeding to feeding. If the baby has at least six to seven wet diapers a day, the baby is taking enough formula.