Feeding information on breast milk intake, how much milk your baby needs, breastfeeding frequency, information on schedules, latching on properly, positioning baby at the breast, introducing a bottle, what is BPA, and starting solids.
BPA Free Bottles - What is Safe?
Recent studies are showing small amounts of
poly-bisphenol A leaching in some plastic containers. Manufacturer's are starting to lean towards polypropylene soft plastic bottles instead of the hard plastic polycarbonate due to these studies. None have been proven to be detrimental in humans, but as a nursing mother, you want the very best for your baby. Therefore food grade polycarbonate is considered safe, BPA-free polypropylene bottles and bag are considered safer, and as always, glass bottles are the safest. New name brand baby bottles by Ameda, Medela, Hygeia and Avent are made from BPA free plastic. If you have an older pump that used a hard food grade plastic, you can buy new bottles and breast shields that are now BPA-free. If you have older Avent bottles, don't throw out your Avent nipples, you can use them with the newer bottles. Or for a less expensive option, Avent nipples work with BPA free Hygeia bottles as well. New Ameda bottles are BPA free, but older crystal clear bottles are not. Milk bags by Ameda & Hygeia are also PBA free. The Ameda Store 'N Pour Breast Milk Bags also work with Medela breast pumps
Feeding Frequency: Do babies eat on a schedule?
Babies under the age of six months will normally nurse every 2-3 hours from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next which is usually 8-10 times per day. During growth spurts at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, and 3 months, they will up their feedings to 10-12 times per day. Between 6 and 12 months, babies will normally feed 4 or 5 times daily. It is best for your milk supply to allow baby's to feed on demand unless they do not demand often enough. View our Lactation Help category for sleepy baby techniques and information on good baby syndrome if your infant does not feed at least 8 times per day.
Introducing a Bottle
Waiting until you baby is three to four weeks old to start a bottle is the best way to get him/her to learn to suckle the breast first. When you do begin a bottle, use your own expressed milk as not to interfere with your milk supply and use a wide mouth silicone nipple that doesn't have a smell and taste. Choose a slow flow nipple. To calculate how much to put in a bottle, see our chart under
milk intake. Make sure to express you milk if you skip a feeding. The rule of thumb for a baby under six months of age is to pump every three hours with a pump that imitates your baby's suck cycle. After six months, if your baby is on solids, you would only need to pump twice on an eight hour workday instead of three times. See the info on BPA free bottles on this page for more information on types of bottles,
After positioning the baby properly (see Positioning Baby at Breast), make sure that your hands are supporting the breast with your thumb on top and the rest of your fingers near the chest wall, well behind the areola. If you can't tell where your fingers are, practice your breast hold in front of a mirror before you start. Then tickle down in the same direction towards the baby's chin until the baby opens wide like a yawn or a cry. Make sure the baby's tongue is down and then bring the baby to the breast swiftly.
Milk Intake: How much does my baby need?
Breast milk intake depends on the age and weight of that baby, but at any age it takes approximately 20 minutes of swallowing for the baby to take in enough milk for proper growth. Below is a chart for babies under six months. Use these numbers if you are expressing a bottle for work or other times away from baby. Divide the second number below by the number of feedings your baby takes if it is a number other than 8. This is only an average amount. You may adjust to the next ounce, but usually not more than that.
Babies over six months who are on solid foods three times daily still need 24-32 oz per day which is either five and six ounces if you expressing for a cup or bottle.
Positioning Baby at the Breast
To position baby at the breast make sure that the baby's body is turned in to mother. For example, in the cradle hold, the baby would be tummy to tummy with mom so that he/she doesn't have to turn his/her head to swallow. The baby's ear, shoulder, and hips should be in a straight line. Use a nursing pillow and stool to make sure baby is at breast level.
Solids should not be started until the age of six months in most cases. Waiting until this age greatly reduces the incidence of allergies. Developmental phases should also be taken into consideration. The baby should not only have doubled his/her birth weight, but should be sitting alone without support. Readiness signs include grasping at the parents plate or food. Breast milk is still the main source of nutrition so always breastfeed immediately before offering solids as to ensure a healthy milk supply and a healthy appetite for the superior breast milk.