How much to feed baby
Since the beginning, my baby boy has always looked thin. I used to imagine he would look like those cute plumpy babies from the magazines, but no, he was scrawny from the beginning. Midwives told us that is normal that newborn babies lose weight right after they are born and would not get back their birth weight until past a week or two. Well, Bee weighted twice his birth weight by 10 days, and no matter how much I fed him he still looked thin so made me wonder how much to feed baby? Definitely he was getting fed but, was it enough? I had to ask around, I went to read many magazines and looking through websites. These are the things that struck me most, I hope they’ll be helpful for you too!
Breastfeeding babies won’t overfeed
Babies that have breastfeeding milk will never be overfed. We might not be able to tell how much milk they are having, we’ll only be able to know how long they have been drinking though, but as long as we can feel they are sucking we’ll know they are having milk. If they can’t suck any more milk from one breast, they might cry for more milk so we can switch breast. They’ll have as much as they want or need, once they feel full or had enough then they’ll stop feeding, therefore as they choose, they won’t drink to the point of making themselves ill, babies aren’t this greedy with food yet, they are led by needs.
Feeding on demand
Babies that are so young (less than 6 months I would say) should be fed on demand, by sticking to a routine very early in their lives not only can be stressful for both of you but also could be counterproductive, even damaging, for the baby!
Babies need to feed as much as they need, we are not to dictate when or how often, they are normally better than us to know when they are hungry! Their stomachs are so little and are more sensitive, so gentle and gradual feeding routine should be introduced safely, that means when they are little much older from 6 months, but that depends on each child.
They are not like an adult that can handle many hours without eating, they are growing and developing internally at great pace and therefore they need a lot of nutrients, but can’t handle so much in one go, so little but often is ideal. It might clash a bit with your routine but remember, the first months you have to adjust your life around baby, not the way around!
Babies can still need feeding milk at nighttime even when they are one year old, forget about this age she’s supposed to sleep through the night! You as an adult, sometimes wake up in the middle of the night to drink some water, right? Should you refrain on doing so because you are an adult and should be sleeping through the night? Now, if your baby is one year old and is waking up every hour to feed then there’s something going on, it’s not normal! It could be that either is really hungry because haven’t had much to eat for dinner, or she’s just comfort-feeding (in the case of breastfeeding) or something else. Talk to your GP or Health visitor, they’ll be able to help you out with it.
Weaning when they are ready
You might be so impatient to feed solids to your child, and there’s so many baby foods out there that claim that are safe to give from 4 months. There’s even people that say that they fed their children at that age or even some earlier! And I’m here to tell you: don’t rush things. Your child again should dictate what she or he wants, and when.
Also, children are curious, they explore everything with their hands and mouth. Putting things in their mouths not necessarily mean they want to eat it but to know what are they, it’s a form of exploring. After all, the first thing they’ve learned even before holding something with their hand, was to taste it their mouth. As a fetus, in the amniotic sac, the liquid would go into their mouths, and they would feel it. The first thing after they are born is to suck from their mum’s breast..
Remember that your baby has just born, their little stomach is so delicate and small, it needs to develop into a stronger and bigger one, slowly. Each child is different, grows different, and each parent makes different decisions that will lead to different outcomes.
Saying that, if for any reason you let to be pushed into act differently to how you feel it should be done, if something goes wrong, you are the ultimate responsible for letting it happen. In parenting there’s not always a clear right or wrong, but you shouldn’t carry the burden of guilt from following the wrong advice. If you are not sure about something, gather different opinions from people with knowledge Pediatrics like your GP, health visitors, and midwives, and weight each advice so you can come up with a conclusion that you think it’s best.
My mum kept telling me that my brothers ate solids from a young age, like the youngest did from 3 months old, that he ate this and that. My youngest brother now is a healthy and handsome young lad in his early twenties. My mum followed what she thought it was best for her child and he was fine with it, mine might not be. I started weaning Bee at 5 months and a half, I gave him cereals with both formula milk and expressed breast milk, following the advice that it was good for him.
He went constipated for several days and passed hard rock poos that he agonised doing. It was so bad he got scared of pooing. I gave him concentrated orange juice, barely diluted, also barely worked. I also did some tummy massage and “cycling” his legs. Then I decided to stop giving him cereals and solely breastfeed him, in few days he pooed normal again, but he would still be scared of passing stools.
I waited until he was 6 months to try again, this time with pear and apple puree, it went well until I tried to put cereals in it, then again constipation came. I introduced prune juices and prune puree and it helped gradually, also gave him some probiotic baby friendly bacteria (mixed in his foods) that seems to have helped too. But what really helped and was a game changer was when he started crawling. The exercise of moving his legs that way, making squatting movements, I believe it helped his bowel rhythms.
Now he eats almost everything and sometimes does a bit hard poos, but he doesn’t go constipated for lengthy times as before, and his phobia to poo has also gone thank goodness!
Summing it up
So this are my two cents of baby feeding, I followed how my baby felt, and it wasn’t easy, I wasn’t 100% sure of what I was doing but in the end it went well. So please, listen to your child, observe how she or he goes, but also very important, listen to yourself, what is your instinct/gut telling you?
With light and joy,