Newborn Breastfeeding

General Tips on Feeding

Feeding is one of the baby’s first pleasant experiences. The baby’s first love for its mother arises primarily from the feeding situation. At feeding time the baby receives nourishment from his food and nourishment from his mother’s love. The food, correctly taken, helps him/her to grow healthy and strong. The mother’s love, generously given, helps him/her to feel secure. Help your baby get both kinds of nourishment.

Both of you should be comfortable. Choose a chair that is comfortable for you. This will help you to be calm and relaxed as you feed your baby. Your baby should be warm and dry so that he or she is comfortable also.

Hold your baby in your lap, with their head slightly raised and resting in the bend of your elbow. Whether breast feeding or bottle-feeding, hold your baby comfortably close.

Feeding schedules are usually most satisfactory if the hours are set roughly and the baby is allowed to eat when he/she becomes hungry. For example, anytime between 3-5 hours after the last bottle feeding or 2-3 hours after the last breast feeding. New babies usually need to be fed about every 3 hours but may often go 4-5 hours between feedings.

We would suggest that you attempt to arrange a feeding just prior to your usual bedtime, so that you may have an uninterrupted period of much needed rest. This will fulfill the baby’s demand for food during the daytime and early evening and encourage sleeping through the night as soon as possible. Should the baby occasionally awaken and cry less than 21/2 hours after feeding, he/she is not necessarily hungry. As in breast feeding, comfort and relaxation is important for both mother and child. The infant should be burped at least once during and after feeding. Bottles should never be propped for any reason during feedings and the baby should never be placed on its back after feedings. The bottle should always be held so that the nipple is filled with formula. The baby should never be allowed to take a bottle in bed while flat on his/her back.


The mother who is breastfeeding should continue her prenatal vitamins along with a well balanced diet and increased volume of fluids, some of which should probably be milk. Also, we recommend avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and laxatives. If you are using any medications, check with us regarding its excretion into breast milk. If you develop an infection, let us know so we may advise you on what to do.

Successful nursing of an infant depends a great deal on the mother’s state of mind. You should be relaxed, calm and as happy as possible. You should get ample rest. For the first few days the breast secretions are a deep yellow color called “colostrum”. To help avoid the problem of cracked and sore nipples, gradually increase the time the baby is kept at the breast. Remember that nature provides that the amount of milk available will be small the first few days.

Most mothers find it best to nurse at both breasts with each feeding, starting on the opposite side each time and not nursing over 30 minutes. Take the breast from the baby’s mouth several times during the feeding to allow the baby to catch its breath. The nipples should be washed once or twice daily with soap and water. We recommend the use of a nursing bra. If nipples are cracked and sore, various preparatory creams such as Lanisol are available for nipple care.