Nourishing your newborn: what’s your plan?

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Soon you’ll be cradling your new baby in your arms, comforting them face-to-face and sharing their first meal. Create a feeding plan for yourself, your partner, and your baby’s other caretakers to give yourself, and your little one, the best start possible.

Planning for a successful breastfeeding experience

Experts agree that breastmilk is the best nutrition for your baby. Having a feeding plan makes life more organized for you, and everyone else, as your due date gets closer.

  1. Get a support system lined up. Talk to a Gerber Certified Lactation Consultant, or one in your community, to help you prepare for a successful experience. A few friends with breastfeeding experience on standby, willing to guide you, will be invaluable.
  2. If you’re involved in childbirth classes, or during a hospital nursery orientation, ask about their breastfeeding procedures for newborns. Does the hospital have a Certified Lactation Consultant that can visit with you?
  3. Let the nursing staff know you want to breastfeed immediately after birth. Immediate skin-to-skin contact can help increase milk supply and keep baby’s temperature and breathing normal. Asking to breastfeed before baby’s tests are done is a reasonable request. Even with a C-section, try to breastfeed, skin-to-skin, within two hours. Speak up to be sure baby is not given formula or water. No bottles or pacifiers until at least four weeks, after breastfeeding has been well established.
  4. Once at home, breastfeed, skin-to-skin. Keep baby within hearing range so you can quickly learn and respond to baby’s early feeding cues. Ask if your health insurance policy provides a Certified Lactation Consultant for follow-up at home.

Planning for a successful formula feeding experience

If you’ve decided to nourish your newborn with an infant formula, learn as much as possible about how infant formulas differ and why the first formula you choose may make a difference. Choosing your infant formula brand before the big day will make for a successful and enjoyable feeding experience.

  1. Infant formula is the next best choice to breast milk and offers a complete source of nutrition for baby during the first year. Infant formula is patterned after breast milk, but not all formulas are the same.
  2. When packing for your trip to the hospital, pack for baby too. It’s best to bring a supply of 3 fl. oz. ready-to-feed infant formula nursers to the hospital to ensure baby is able to get the same formula at the hospital that they’ll be eating once they get home. Some hospitals may only carry one brand of formula, or not stock your chosen brand.
  3. Before delivery day, learn how to prepare and store formula. Be sure to have at least a two-week supply of formula at home to get started. Having at least six small bottles on hand is a good idea, since baby will be feeding about 12 times in a 24-hour period.
  4. Let the nursing staff know you would like to feed immediately after birth. Immediate skin-to-skin contact builds a strong bond with baby and helps keep baby’s temperature and breathing normal. Even with a C-section, try to feed, skin-to-skin, within two hours.

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