Monday, October 17, 2011
From a first time father's perpective
The one thing I learnt from being a father for the first time is that your newborn needs to be fed enough regardless whether they ask for it or not. Do not listen to old wives tale that says infants should be left sleeping and they will wake up on their own if they are hungry.
Every child is different so no one mold can fit all. Some infants will cry naturally when they are hungry which is a sign that they need to be fed. Some on the other hand will sleep through and may not wake up when hungry as they still have enough fats that they accumulate while in the womb.
One of the reason why feeding them enough is of utmost importance is because of jaundice. It is common in newborn with high levels of bilirubin in their body and is one of the cause for your child to be sleepy and not waking to feed.
Bilirubin needs to be expelled out through bowel movements and the only way to do that is by feeding them enough. Not being fed enough equals little bowel movements and this will cause the condition to get worse and possibly reach dangerous levels.
So stick to a regiment of waking them up and feeding them at least every 3 hours. It may be difficult at first to wake them up but you'll get the hang of it.
Breastfeeding is without a doubt the best food for your child. It has nutrients for your child in the form of colostrum produced only at the early stage of lactation as well as the psychological and emotional benefits for both mother and child that no formula can provide way after the colostrum stage is over.
Even if you are not convinced of the benefits, think of how mothers during the time when there was no formula feed their child. Nature knows best.
However, it is normal if your wife is not lactating yet or not having enough milk right after labor. This does not mean you should not try to breastfeed and totally depend on formula because if you don't breastfeed, the body may not be stimulated to produce more milk. So breastfeed even if there is little to give and keep doing it until the supply increases to a sufficient level. Supplement with formula during this stage and stop when no longer required.
At the same time, you can perform breast massages to help stimulate the body to produce more milk.
During the supplement period, your child may prefer the artificial tits to the real one. This can possibly make them dislike breastfeeding as compared to the bottle. To overcome this, cup feed them. This way, they will only know the only two tits which is their mothers
How do you know if you feed them enough? By monitoring their urine and bowel movements. The doctors and nurses will guide you on all the above.
I wish you all the best.