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Newborn Packet - Breast is best, but...

Breast milk is best for your newborn.  Not only is it the perfect food, it also contains illness-fighting immunoglobulins and a wide variety of protective proteins. That said, breast-feeding does not come naturally to all.  Try to make a 2 week commitment to nursing, and be sure to use the hospital lactation consultants or call us if you are struggling.  We know nursing can be hard, but by two weeks your milk should be in, engorgement gone, and your infant used to latching properly.

Not all women are able to nurse, and in these instances we recommend a formula fortified with iron and DHA/ARA (fatty acids found naturally in breast milk.)  If you cannot nurse, DO NOT FEEL GUILTY.  Many of us were raised on formula and turned out just fine!

Most nursing newborns feed as often as every 1 ½ hours (usually every 2-3 hours), and will often “cluster feed” before sleeping for a longer period of time.  Frequent feedings stimulate the breasts to produce milk, and prevent clogged milk ducts.  Formula fed infants eat a little less often, usually every 2-4 hours, as formula takes longer to digest.  Both breast and formula fed newborns should eat on demand- signs of hunger include increased alertness and activity, mouthing or rooting.  Crying is often a late sign of hunger.

When using a bottle, hold your newborn’s head at elevated angle and hold the bottle upright to minimize swallowing of air.  Burp frequently at first (after each ½-1 ounce) and discard any formula not finished during a feeding.  Nursing infants often burp less, as they swallow less air.

Nursing infants by several days of age will start having frequent (often every feeding), loose, yellow, “seedy” stools.  Formula fed infants will sometimes have pastier, less frequent, greener bowel movements.  Infants often strain to stool (remember that this is a new skill!)  Try bicycling their legs or placing them on their tummies if gassy or pushing.  As long as their stool is soft, they are not “constipated” even if several days elapse between BMs.

DO NOT give newborns water, sugar water, teas or juices without the consent of the pediatrician.  Never use honey in a baby less than one.