Giving your child the best start in life is all that matters to new parents. But figuring out exactly what your baby needs and making the right choices can be daunting at times.
FORMULA & BOTTLES
Some women are unable or decide for their own reasons not to breastfeed and some choose to supplement breast-feeding with bottles. Each solution requires careful consideration and planning.
Cows milk alone does not contain all the nutrients needed in your child’s first year and its high protein content makes it difficult for your baby to digest until after their first birthday. In the first year of your child’s life, the only alternative to breast milk is nutrient enriched formula.
Once you’ve made the decision to use formula, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed at the huge selection available. Here are some tips to help make the process easier for you:
What type of formula?
There are many different types of formula on the market – ready made, liquid concentrate and powder. While ready made and liquid formulas are more convenient, they come at a higher price, do not keep as well and take up a lot of storage space. Powdered formulas can be mixed as needed on the spot and kept for up to one month after opening making them an easy, economical solution.
Choosing the right bottle
The choice of bottle and nipple shape depends entirely on your personal preference and what best suits your baby. Some babies are very particular about what they like and will refuse to drink from a different shaped bottle or nipple. There are bottles designed to help reduce colic, spit-up or gas and nipples made from either latex or silicone in all different sizes, shapes and flow speeds.
We recommend purchasing a selection of different bottles and nipples for your baby to try and be led by their preference. Nipples come in staged sizes with different flow speeds from slow to fast. Make sure your baby isn’t getting too much milk that he appears to be choking or that the flow is too slow and he cannot get enough milk through.
FEEDING & DIGESTION
Feeding and digestion can cause many worries for parents. Colic, sleep issues, wind, hard or irregular stools, and ‘milk spilling’ are some common problems that often stem from feeding time. Our Careline is here to answer any questions you might have regarding your baby’s feeding and digestion, so don’t hesitate to get in touch whenever you need us.
Whether you decide to demand feed or stick to more strict routine, it’s important to remember that sometimes babies will look like they are demanding food when all they really want is some comfort. If your baby is asking for more food outside of usual feeding times you could try to distract him, offer him a cuddle or even a comforter to suck on.
Colic is the term given to any healthy baby suffering from unsettled hours of crying for more than three hours a day, three days a week for more than three weeks. It is a blanket label as the true cause of the condition is still relatively unknown.
The trademark signs of colic such as an arched back, clenched fist, knees drawn up, excessive crying and passing wind tend to point to abdominal pain in early infancy. Your baby’s digestive track matures as he grows so the best news for distressed parents is that colic usually only lasts for the first few months of life.
Here are a few tips to help prevent issues with digestion and soothe your baby if he becomes restless:
- Babies love being held so give them comfort, rock back and forward in your arms or keep close to your chest in a carrier such as a sling or BabyBjorn
- Take your baby for a walk or a drive in the car, they love movement and this is an old favourite settling technique
- Give your baby a nice, soothing bath and a gentle flowing massage before dressing
- Pay close attention to the winding techniques you use for your baby -some experts believe that colic is caused by air getting caught in baby’s tummy during feeding
Winding or burping your baby
If air becomes trapped in your baby’s tummy, it will not only cause them pain but also leave them feeling hungry with no more room for milk. It’s important to ensure you spend time helping your baby bring up any air he may have swallowed during feeding.
- While it is may seem excessive, if you feel your baby is struggling with wind try burping him every 30 seconds during feeding
- Ensure you keep baby upright either tilted over your hand or over your shoulder until you hear a burp
- Laying baby forward over your knees, slightly tilted upwards is another good way to get any wind out
- Remember to be gentle; you don’t want to bring any milk up
- Try to keep baby upright for 20 minutes after feeding
Baby always seems hungry!
Babies do go through growth spurts regularly so their feeding requirements often change. There is plenty of advice out there about when to start giving your baby solids, but the general consensus is from 4-6 months old. Before then, breast milk or formula should provide all the nutrients they need to flourish.
Bringing up milk or reflux
All babies bring up milk occasionally; milk and acid come back up from a full tummy in small amounts and sometimes spill out. The muscular valve between your baby’s stomach and oesophagus, which keeps food down, is weak and sometimes allows stomach contents to flow back up. Spilling milk is common after eating but a baby with severe reflux may have trouble eating, not sleep well or grow as expected.
If you are concerned that your baby has reflux, seek advice from your GP. You can also ask your GP to check for intolerance’s or allergies.
Alternatively, keep a muslin wrap or baby wipes handy and try these techniques to help your baby keep milk down:
- Pay close attention to the winding techniques you use for your baby
- Try to keep your baby upright for 20 minutes after feeding
Give it time – in most cases, reflux will disappear as your baby’s digestive track matures