Feed Your Newborn Baby Based On Signs

When it comes to feeding newborn babies, the ideal would be to feed them based on needs. Babies can’t talk like us, so you will have to figure it out based on the signs they are giving you. Note that these signs will appear more when your newborn gets older. Some signs won’t apply to your baby. Here are some signs you have to take note of:

  • Crying – Newborns cry for many reasons, but if you have already done everything else right then it’s most likely that your newborn is hungry. Usually experts say that this is a late sign of hunger. The reason this is considered a late sign is because your newborn will most likely over eat and vomit because she is already too hungry to control herself.
  • Sticking tongue out – This depends on your baby. Some babies love sticking their tongues out. My baby sticks her tongue out all the time. It doesn’t mean she is hungry all day. However, this might be one possible hint.
  • Showing the rooting reflex – Once your newborn knows what it feels like to be fed, she will develop a reflex towards something touching her cheek. When you touch her on the cheek, theoretically, she should open her mouth and face that direction. This is known as the rooting reflex and it definitely means she is hungry.
  • Making sucking sounds – Some newborns are so quiet, you will constantly check on them. Some newborns are so active that they make sounds all day. Sometimes make sucking sounds can mean that she is hungry or it can mean that she is simply playing with herself. Don’t rely on this sign to determine her hunger levels. Check for evidence of other signs too.
  • Sucks on her fist or thumb – This is a heavy sign that she is hungry. It’s especially true when you notice her putting her whole fist into her mouth. It goes to show how hungry she is already. If she does this any longer, she will start crying because she is already overly hungry. When you see her suck on her fist or thumb, it simply means that she is already mildly hungry.
  • No signs at all – Newborns use a lot of effort to be born. They are tired. Sometimes, it really feels like they are sleeping all day without being hungry. If that’s the case, definitely talk to your doctor first to see if there’s something wrong with your baby. However, usually this is pretty normal. More on that later.

Newborns That Sleep a Lot

Newborns can often sleep a lot. Newborns typically should sleep 16 to 17 hours a day. Commonly, newborns wakes up at irregular hours due to hunger or having needs to have a diaper change. However, if your newborn is one of those that sleep extended hours without waking up then you would have to manually wake her up for feedings.

Wake her up three to four hours to feed her. Even though I said wake her up. You don’t literally have to wake her up. Simply test her mouth and lips with a nipple (bottle or breast), then let her suck on your milk without opening her eyes.

However if your baby sleeps way too much then contact your doctor. Sometimes your baby might be having other health problems other than because they are exhausted from being born. Double check with your pediatrician first just in case.  You simply want to make sure that she is not sick.

Sick Newborns

When your newborn baby is sick, feed her less. You might see her crying and being fussy much more often than usual, but don’t overfeed her. What happens is that she will most likely have trouble digesting what she is drinking and vomit most of it.

Avoid having her vomit as much as possible. Vomitting is the act of sending milk and her stomach acid up the esophagus and out the mouth. Stomach acid can cause damage to their esophagus and her teeth if she is teething.

Feed her more often with smaller amounts. Don’t force her to drink the same amounts like usual. Cut the amount in half or in thirds and feed her more often. Sit her slightly more upright instead of laying her completely flat so that it’s easier for her to pass her milk down into the intestines.

Sometimes It’s Not Hunger

Just because your newborn is making a big fuss, it doesn’t mean that she is hungry. It’s very tempting to simply stick a nipple into your newborn whenever she is crying to solve all your problems, but it’s not necessarily the right solution. I’ve experienced that myself first hand and I caused my baby girl a lot of unnecessary vomiting and even louder crying.

Find evidence for signs of hunger. I’ve already mentioned the signs of hunger earlier, so if none of the above applies then it is most likely something else. Maybe she needs a diaper change.

It can also be some other random reasons like the following:

  • She could be bored – Babies in general enjoy the company of other people. Just being in the room and making occasional gentle eye contacts with her can make a big difference. If you are willing, telling a story, singing her a song, or simply chatting with her would work too.
  • She could be tired – Newborns typically don’t know how to fall asleep on their own. If that’s the case, then turn off the lights in the room, close the curtains/blinds, and add some white noise to get her into sleeping mode. Have her crib or bassinet together in your room so that she can imitate your breathing patterns during sleep.
  • It might be too hot/cold – Newborns have very sensitive skin so it’s very easy for them to cry in extreme temperature conditions. Occasionally check her neck neck and belly to see of she is too warm or too cold.
  • It could be too quiet/noisy – Newborns typically don’t like sounds that are too sharp like metal hitting metal or people yelling and shouting. It would wake them up for sure. If it is too quiet, newborns will feel umcomfortable too, because it makes them feel alone and unsafe. Add some white noise, like fan blowing sounds, or soft melodies for example to solve that.
  • She got shocked or scared – If your baby gets consistently scared, then it will become easier and easier to scare her. This will make her cry for every little thing.

Formula vs Breastmilk

When you feed formula, or in other words, cow’s milk mixed with enriched nurtrients, your baby will often have more trouble digesting it. It is thicker and easier for your baby to vomit it out. That’s why for formula, remember to feed smaller amount, and spread out the feeding time more. Feed her roughly every two to three hours for formula.

When you feed breastmilk, feed her more often. Breastmilk is very watery, so it’s extremely easy to digest. When you feed her breastmilk you will find yourself feeding her every hour. The reason for that is because she’s going to be crying and hungry every hour.

It Depends On Age and Growth Spurt

Newborns can’t control how much they are swallowing. Newborns just began learning how to drink milk so it’s very easy for her to overeat. If that is the case, first try 30 ml or 1/2 oz to see if it satisfies her. In the first month, add 1/2 oz or 30 ml every two weeks, because her appetite will increase a lot during that time.

During growth spurts, your newborn will eat a lot more than usual. If your baby is fussy about drinking more milk than usual, it’s very likely that she is going through a growth spurt. If that’s the case, feed more 1/2 oz or 30 ml more than usual to see if it satisfies her. Burp her more often now, and let her sleep with her slightly elevated with a folded towel, because it’s also very easy for her to vomit.

If you have any questions about feeding your newborn, then please don’t hesitate to leave it in the comment section below. Thank you.