Soon you’ll be cradling your newborn baby in your arms, comforting them face to face and sharing their first meal. Snuggle in close; meal time is for nurturing and bonding as well as nourishing your newborn. Whether you plan to breastfeed or formula feed, be sure to talk about the feeding plan with your spouse and/or immediate family to help give the best start to you and your wonderful new baby.
Experts agree that breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby. Having a feeding plan in place ahead of time makes life more organized for you, and everyone else, as the due date gets closer. Here are some helpful tips to make breastfeeding and nourishing your newborn much easier:
- Get a support system lined up. Talk to a Certified Lactation Consultant to help you prepare for a successful experience. Most insurance companies have Certified Lactation consultants you can talk to through there programs or you can always ask your doctor or hospital if they have one on staff or can refer you to someone locally! Also, if you know anyone who breastfeeds or has done so in the past, just ask them! Most women are more than happy to discuss there experiences and give you helpful tips.
- If you’re involved in childbirth classes or during the hospital nursery orientation ask about there breastfeeding procedures for newborns. Let the nursing staff at your hospital know you want to breastfeed immediately after birth. Immediate skin to skin contact can help increase the milk supply and keep baby’s temperature and breathing normal. Asking to breastfeed before baby’s tests are done is a reasonable request. Even with a c-section, try to breastfeed, skin to skin, within two hours.
- Speak up to be sure your baby isn’t given formula or water while in the hospital. No bottles or pacifiers until at least four weeks after breastfeeding has been well established.
- Once at home, breastfeed skin to skin. Keep your baby within hearing range so you can quickly learn and respond to their early feeding cues. Ask your insurance if your insurance company has a program where a Certified Lactation Consultant can come to your home if you need help. Also, most insurance companies now cover the cost of a breast pump or breastfeeding supplies so don’t be afraid to ask them questions.
If you’ve decided to nourish your baby with formula, learn as much as possible about how infant formulas differ and why the first formula you choose may make a difference. Choosing your infant formula brand before the big day will make for a successful and enjoyable feeding experience. Here are some helpful ways to make formula feeding and nourishing your newborn much easier:
- Infant formula offers a complete source of nutrition for your baby during the first year. Infant formula is patterned after breast milk, but not all formulas are the same.
- When packing for your trip to the hospital, pack for your baby too. It’s best to bring a supply of 3 fl. oz ready to feed infant formula nursers to the hospital to ensure you’re able to give and stay with your formula choice once you go home. Some hospitals may only carry one brand of formula, or not stock the brand you have chosen to nourish your newborn.
- Before delivery day, learn how to prepare and store formula. Be sure to have at least a two week supply of formula at home to get started. Having at least six small bottles on hand is a good idea, since your baby will be feeding at least 12 times in a 24 hour period.
- Just like breastfeeding, let the nursing staff at the hospital know you would like to feed as soon as possible after birth. Immediate skin to skin contact builds a strong bond with your baby and helps keep her temperature and breathing normal. Even with a c-section, try to feed skin to skin, within two hours.