Young mothers often have the question of how many times a day to feed a newborn baby, is there a difference in the frequency of breast milk and formula feeding. Let’s try to deal with it.
How often to breastfeed your baby
Mother’s milk is the best food for a baby. It is prepared for him by nature itself. The task of the mother is to establish a lactation regimen. Back in the 20th century, pediatricians strongly recommended feeding the baby according to a strict regime, now there is an approach to free feeding, at the request of the child.
We feed according to the regime
Feeding according to a strict regimen was common in Soviet times. This approach was instilled in mothers in the maternity hospital. The newborn was fed at intervals of 4 hours. The first feeding was at 6 o’clock in the morning, the last at 2 o’clock in the morning. Further, the child was not supposed to be fed until 6 in the morning, regardless of whether he was hungry or not. Children’s doctors believed that gastric diseases in infants are directly related to the irregularity of food intake.
Most newborns adjusted to this schedule. They subsequently drank as much milk as needed in order not to feel hungry for the next 4 hours. Children got used to eating strictly at set hours. But there were always such babies who found it difficult to adapt to a strict diet. Their stomachs could not withstand a 4-hour break and take the milk necessary for this time.
Now there are also adherents of a strict diet, but there are fewer of them. This schedule is convenient for parents, but not for a newborn. While in the womb, the fetus does not experience hunger. After birth, his eating schedule has not yet been established. This will take some time, during which he may well want to eat earlier than the “set” hour.
We feed at the request of the child
For the first time the theory of free feeding put forward by the Scottish pediatrician Preston McLendon. He conducted an experiment with Frances Simsarian and her child. The purpose of the experiment was to find out what kind of diet the newborn, who is breastfed, will establish if he is fed on demand. Here’s what he noticed:
In the first 2 days, the baby demanded breasts infrequently.
When on the 3rd day the mother began to receive milk, the child began to wake up more often and demand breasts up to 10 times a day.
By 2 weeks of age, the infant switched to seven meals a day at irregular intervals.
By 10 weeks of age, the baby asked for breasts up to five times a day.
After the results of the study were published, many parents switched to a free feeding schedule for babies. More details about this experiment can be found in Benjamin Spock’s book The Child and Care.
What does it mean to feed on demand?
To feed at the request of a child means to offer a breast for each of his shaking his head, crying and squeaking. And there is no need to limit feeding in time. It is impossible to overfeed with breast milk. The baby will take exactly as much milk as he needs. Each child is individual, someone is in a hurry, someone eats relaxed, falling asleep every minute, someone sucks greedily.
Determining the feeding schedule that suits the baby can only be done through observation. Usually a newborn of the first month of life is able to withstand an interval of 2-2.5 hours, regardless of whether it is day or night. Further, as it grows, the interval increases to 3 hours. In addition, it is important to take into account the active periods of growth, in which the child needs more breast milk. This is the interval between 7-10 days, 4-6 weeks, 12 weeks of life, and also 6 months. At this time, the baby will need more food than usual. If the mother sees that the child is hungry, then you can feed him more often, if not, less often.
How to understand that the child is hungry
Young mothers often wonder how to understand that the baby is hungry. We advise you to watch it. A hungry child behaves as follows:
turns his head, trying to find the source of milk;
smacks his lips;
during sleep his eyelids tremble;
As soon as the mother noticed the first signs of hunger, you should immediately put the baby to the breast, without waiting for him to wake up and scream.
How to understand that the child does not have enough milk
There are situations when a mother has less milk due to increased fatigue and stress. To understand this situation will help observation of the baby.
The child began to wake up more often than before and cry.
The baby sucks milk to the last drop.
He looks for breasts with his mouth and sucks his fist, even if he has just eaten.
Cries immediately after feeding.
The child is constipated.
In this case, we recommend weighing the baby, watching his weight gain. If the mother does not have enough milk, then the weight gain will be less than before. In this situation, it is necessary to consult a pediatrician. Before you start supplementing your baby with an adapted mixture, try to regulate lactation. Place the baby on the breast more often, introduce additional feeding. This should stimulate the production of more milk. If you previously fed your baby with one breast, now give both.
The nuances of breastfeeding
When a child is breastfed, you need to remember the following nuances:
Lactation is normalized on the 3rd day after birth.
The approximate number of feedings for a newborn is from 10 to 12 times.
It is important to adhere to the interval between feedings of 2-2.5 hours.
On average, a baby breastfeeds for 15 to 30 minutes.
If feeding is delayed up to 40 minutes, then you should not interfere with it. But, a process that lasts more than an hour can overload the baby’s gastrointestinal tract and cause colic.
How often should I feed my baby an adapted formula?
A bottle-fed baby is not fed as often as a breast-fed baby. Despite the fact that manufacturers are trying to bring the composition of the mixture as close as possible to mother’s milk, the difference between them is huge. Mixtures are considered heavier food for the immature stomach of a newborn. It is digested longer than breast milk.
If you do not observe the feeding regimen of an artificial child, then he has a risk of overeating. The baby may develop abdominal colic and problems with the digestive system, overweight. Pediatricians are of the opinion that it is better not to feed the child with an adapted mixture than to overfeed. From this we can conclude that the feeding regimen of an artificial newborn should differ significantly from the feeding regimen of an infant.
Serving size for artificial
The interval between artificial feedings should be at least 3 hours, even for newborns, regardless of the time of day. For one feeding, the child receives a portion that corresponds to his age norm. As they grow, the interval between feedings can increase up to 4 hours. The volume of a serving of an adapted mixture is calculated individually.
For a newborn of the first month of life, the daily dose of the mixture corresponds to 1/5 of his body weight.
In the second month of life, the child should consume 1/6 of the mixture from its body weight.
In the fourth month of life, babies consume 1/7 of the formula from their weight.
At six months, babies are given 1/9 of the mixture of their weight.
Children who are bottle-fed are recommended to drink water. Water is given only after feeding. You can not offer it to the mixture. Since in newborns, the centers that are responsible for thirst and hunger are located in approximately the same area of the brain. The baby, after drinking water, may refuse to eat.
The nuances of feeding artificial animals
If a child is formula-fed, it is important to remember the following nuances:
If he ate less than usual, don’t worry. The next time he will replenish the amount he needs.
The breaks between feeding for artificial babies should be longer than for babies.
If the baby woke up crying at night, then he is most likely suffering from colic or he needs to burp.
If the artificial person is in a bad mood, you need to visit a pediatrician, evaluate his weight gain. You may need to change the mix.
With overly frequent feedings, you need to be especially careful. If a newborn asks for a breast and receives it every hour, then this is called cluster feeding in pediatrics. This type is acceptable only in the first two days of a baby’s life, when he receives mother’s colostrum. When, on the third day, full-fledged breast milk is produced, which meets all the needs of the child, this situation goes beyond the norm.
Behind frequent “snacks” in the baby, the diet fails. He no longer requires food, but the attention of his mother. In addition, with frequent feeding, the baby consumes more “forward” milk, which is rich in water. And when it comes to “hind” milk, more saturated with nutrients, the baby is already full and leaves the breast. This will only make the situation worse. Therefore, her mother needs to be analyzed in order to understand the meaning of frequent feedings.
If a child asks for a breast every hour, you need to evaluate his daily routine. See if he is overworked with emotions, it can be frequent visits to relatives, an excessively noisy environment at home, a large crowd of people. Watch your baby go to sleep. Perhaps he falls asleep with the breast, which is removed after falling asleep, and asks her again to sleep. In artificers, nighttime awakenings for food are less common than in infants. In this case, the mother understands for sure that the problem lies not in the food.
If the baby does not wake up for a nightly feed, do not wake him up. Let him sleep. As soon as the baby gets hungry, he will wake up his mother. If a newborn eats 2 times at night, then this is considered the norm. First, a baby who needs night feeding wakes up at 2 am. Try to feed him better in the late evening, let him “hang” on his chest longer. It is advisable not to feed the baby a little in the “penultimate” feeding. One day he will wake up at 3-4 o’clock. Most likely, in the morning he will require food at 7-8 o’clock. Try to fix this schedule.
If the child weighs about 4.5 kg., Then he may well do without night feeding. When he wakes up at night, you do not need to run to him immediately, after the first stirring. Maybe he’ll fall asleep again soon. Try to remove him from night feeding in the second month of life. It has been noticed that if a child sleeps almost all day, then at night he will eat more and stay awake. Try shifting your baby’s daily routine.
How many times a day a baby eats is an individual question that is better for him to decide for himself. Mom needs to take into account the preferences of the child and try to choose something between the regime and its complete absence.