There are so many unclear things that come with parenthood, and one of them is feeding the baby. But stress no more, we got this. These are some of the essential tips to know about feeding a child and burping them, whether that be breastfeeding them or giving them formula. Just remember, every child is different and if there's anything that comes up that might be unusual, always consult with the baby's doctor. But having said that, every baby will burp, have spit ups, hiccups, cry and experience tummy aches. Not to mention that feeding might be hard sometimes, and there will be good and bad days. But the most important thing is to learn how to read a child at a young age, as it can make life so much easier.
Which is why we tried our best to assemble information and tips for breastfeeding as well as formula feeding, burping, hiccups and any other food related issues that might come up. Relax, being a parent isn't easy but you totally have this down!
Here are 21 things pediatricians tell new moms about feeding and burping their little bundle of joy.
21 The Food Mom Eats Is Passed Into Her Breastmilk
Pretty much everything the mom eats can affect the baby milk to a certain extent. Which is precisely why it is very important that the mom maintains pretty healthy eating habits even after her giving birth. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that she can't have her favorite spicy food or a cheeky drink or two here and there, but she should definitely make sure to not let the child drink that milk if she does. However, most foods are fine and won't affect the child in a significant way, they might just change the taste of the milk a bit.
20 Which Is Why The Baby Can Show Allergic Reactions And Food Intolerance
However, sometimes babies can react to the milk in a negative way by getting an allergic reaction or tummy pain, and moms should definitely keep track of that. Remembering what you ate which day, even keeping a food diary for can be very useful for this purpose.
Sometimes it's as easy as kicking something out of your eating habits in order to make your baby so much happier and less cranky.
Another common thing is that the child might not even be allergic or intolerant to something, but just won't like the taste of the milk and therefore will eat less of it.
19 It's Best To Burp Baby During And After Feeding
Honestly, when it comes to burping, babies can be quite different in terms of their needs. Some don't need to do it as much, especially if they are breastfed since they tend to swallow less air when they are. However, if the baby is given formula with a bottle then chances are they will need a few more burping sessions. It is a general rule that babies should be burped not only after they're finished with their meal, but also once or twice while eating. Again, every child is different, so it's best to try and see what suits their needs most.
18 Babies Have An Underdeveloped Sphincter In Their Esophagus
And since it is still underdeveloped they cannot burp the same way we do, which is why they need help. Burping your baby shouldn't be taken lightly, since a baby that feels full or is in pain because of gas bubbles in their stomach is not a happy baby. And what do unhappy babies do? Yeah, exactly: they cry.
So if parents want to keep a sane mind, but more importantly, make their child feel as comfortable as possible, the burping is something that needs to be done!
Besides, once they grow a bit and start burping on their own, you're bound to miss this time!
17 Babies Swallow A Lot Of Air
Okay, we cannot stress enough how much air babies tend to swallow, regardless of what they eat and whether it's from breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. However, it does tend to be slightly more from bottle feeding, because babies are tiny and precious and they haven't got that whole "eating food" thing quite figured out yet. So it takes them a bit to realize that they are sucking on air, and no milk is going down their throats.
16 Breastfed Babies Tend To Need Less Burping
Now, we definitely don't want to worry any moms who breastfeed into going extreme on the burping, as chances are it isn't necessary.
Burping your child once while switching and once at the end should be totally fine, and unless you notice that there is a need for more, don't do it.
Babies naturally tend to be better at breastfeeding than they are at drinking from a baby bottle, which is exactly why breastfed babies swallow less air. Just keep an eye on your child's needs, you will notice once if they need less or more burping.
15 Babies At Six Months Should Burp On Their Own
Babies can start to burp on their own even when they are around four months old, but by the time they turn six months, they should generally be doing it on their own. Now again, every single baby out there is different, and yours might need that one extra month to get the hang of it, so please, do not panic. But if the baby just doesn't seem to be learning how to do it, it's definitely a good idea to consult a professional on how to help them get there. Burping is a skill that needs to mastered, after all.
14 There Are Plenty Of Ways To Burp A Baby
Now let's talk ways to burp a baby. There are so many ways out there, and honestly people seem to get quite creative in finding what works best for their little one. But the general two options everyone always tries out is burping the baby over the shoulder and burping the baby sitting on your lap. If parents aren't sure on how exactly to do it, they can always ask their pediatrician (or their own mom, chances is she will know). And if needed they can always consult the internet, as there are plenty of videos demonstrating how it should be done.
13 Getting The Right Baby Bottle Nip Is Important
There are a few different baby bottle nip sizes, and it is very important that the parents get the right size depending on their child's age.
This can heavily influence how much air their babies swallow, as babies that are using a too big baby bottle nip tend to swallow a lot more than they would if the nip size was adjusted.
If you're not sure check the packaging it should definitely state the age the bottle nips are for, but you can always also ask the store clerk, they should be trained into knowing to help with that stuff.
12 Minimize Air Bubbles In Powder Formula
Besides having the wrong baby bottle nip size, one thing that parents sometimes make the mistake of is powder formula.
While the instruction might say to thoroughly shake in order to mix the fluid with the powder, this can sometimes cause tiny air bubbles, and as you can imagine, those end up in your baby's tummy causing pain and a need for burping.
To prevent this from happening parents should either try the stirring method - which may not work well for certain formulas, they should let the drink sit a bit so the air bubbles go out, or they can always look into liquid, pre-made formula options.
11 Always Have Gripe Water At Home
Gripe water is on of those things that are great to have at home. It's a non-prescription product meant to relieve colic and other gastrointestinal ailments and discomforts of infants, and the best thing is it can also be used for the parents when in need. Seriously, gripe water usually has natural ingredients that tend to calm down an upset stomach, and they can save the parents from a lot of unnecessary baby crying and pain. Just make sure you invest in a good kind, as you want to make sure your child gets the healthiest gripe water to soothe their tummy.
10 Hiccups Are Caused By Excess Gas And Immature Digestive System
Remember how we talked that babies have an underdeveloped digestive system? Yeah, a big consequence of that is that they get hiccups quite frequently. These are mainly caused by excess gas and will eventually stop happening once the child gets a bit older. So no need to worry, just put the baby in an upright position and the hiccups should stop soon. Another tip to stop hiccups is to give the baby their pacifier, as this will help relax the diaphragm. And gripe water is always good to help against any tummy issues, and it can help prevent hiccups as well.
9 Babies With Colic Might Have Gas From Swallowing Too Much Air
Colic, aka episodes of crying continually for more than three hours are not too uncommon for babies. And a big reason of why babies sometimes do that is because they experience stomach discomforts cause by all the air they swallowed. And in that case, the parent can comfort them and hold them all they want, but they will have to change other things to prevent these crying sessions. Some things we already mentioned, such as changing the baby bottle nip, burping the child more or giving them gripe water. It's also always good to consult a pediatrician as it not only gives the parents specific tips tailored to their child, but it also calms them down.
8 Look For Early Signs Of Sucking On Fists And Fingers, And Lip Smacking
It might take a while for parents to figure out when to feed their child and when the child is hungry. But instead of waiting for the child to start crying, they should definitely look for earlier signs, which are quite obvious: sucking on their fingers, fists (honestly anything in front of them), as well as lip smacking. Once the baby does this it can mean they're hungry so it should be worth a try. And if they aren't, they will let you know. After a while the parents will figure out their child's signs for hunger, but these are a good start.
7 Ask Your Doctor About Vitamin D Supplements
Consulting with your baby's doctor about potentially getting your little one some vitamin D supplements wouldn't be bad. Babies might need a vitamin D supplement, regardless of whether they are breastfed or drink formula, even though some formulas might already have an additional dose of the supplement within them.
Making sure the parents are aware of how much vitamin D their baby is getting is crucial, and if for some reason your doctor doesn't bring this topic up, you definitely should.
Once the baby starts eating more solid foods, the supplements can be lowered and eventually substituted with actual food.
6 Heat Helps The Milk Flow
Sometimes when breastfeeding, moms struggle with the milk not flowing easily, and the baby is often too weak to suck it out. In this case, using a heated compress can do wonders to help the milk flow better, and it can also help with some of mom's pain. Just make sure that it's not overheated and other than that, it's pretty self explanatory. Better milk flow will not only make mom hurt less, but it will also make eating for your baby way easier. Sometimes is these small life hacks that can make a parents life so much better!
5 If Baby Is Wetting Diapers With Dilute Number 1 They Are Getting Enough To Eat
Parents often tend to worry about whether their little baby is eating enough. And trust us, we get it, it's not easy knowing when to stop and nobody wants their child to be hungry or malnourished. But one easy tip for parents is to keep an eye on their child's pee. If it's light in color and diluted that means the child is eating enough, but if it's darker then you might want to feed it a bit more. It's sort of the same way we can track our own hydration, and it is very applicable for a newborns feeding.
4 Solid Foods Are Introduced Between Four And Five Months
Once the child turns four and five months, solid foods can lowly be given to them. Now keep in mind, this mainly means pureed veggies, fruits and meat and the parents can decide whether they will get them pre-made in the form of jarred baby food, or if they will make the food themselves in a blender. Either option is fine as long as they make sure to check the ingredients. And also make sure the food contains no spices and this includes any added sugar or salt as well. From then on, it's important to give your child a variety of different blends.
3 Avoid Certain Foods Until Baby Turns One
Some food should definitely be avoided until the baby turns older than one. There are plenty of lists online and you can always consult with your doctor, but generally some of the foods you shouldn't give them before they turn one are cow's milk, seafood, egg whites, honey, any seeds or nuts, berries and citrus, and grapes. it's not because the foods are bad per se, it's mainly because the child's digestive system still isn't ready to process them, and it can in turn cause them pain. Eventually, once they are a bit older, they will be able to eat everything.
2 The Baby Is Done Eating When It Turns Away From The Food Or Spits It Back Out
An easy way to know when the baby has had it with eating, aka they are full and don't want or need any more, is when they start spitting it back out and they keep turning their head from the food. Of course, sometimes the reason for this kind of behavior can be caused by something else like a distraction or already upset tummy, but in most cases the baby is done, and they really shouldn't be forced to eat any more. They may be super tiny and fragile, but they still know how to listen to and express their own needs.
1 Trust Your Instincts
The last tip is to just trust your instincts. Being a parent can be super nerve-racking, and feeding your child, especially if they're a first born can be quite a burden for parents, as they are stressed about doing something wrong. But the truth is, there isn't much you can do wrong if you only trust your inner gut, you will pretty much always know when it's time to feed again, and whether your baby liked or dislikes something. Besides, they will outgrow this phase so quickly, that you should relax and enjoy it a bit more, instead of worrying that much.