In the early days, feeding your baby can take some practice. Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, your baby may be easy to feed one day and confusingly difficult the next. So what do you do when feeding sessions bring you both to tears? We asked some of our amazing KP moms for their best tips for calm, happy feedings.
1. “Feed him when he tells you he’s hungry, whether it’s ‘time’ or not.”
Many of the moms found feedings were easier if they were on baby’s timetable. For both Julia and Katrina, their babies were easier to feed if they watched for early signs of hunger and fed them before they got really upset.
Julia shared, “If I could catch him early, he was more patient if we had to try a few times to get latching right. If I waited until he was screaming to feed him, he would just freak out more if we didn’t get it right the first time.”
Katrina added that she felt this was even more important during times when her baby would cluster feed, or have several short feedings very close together followed by a longer stretch of sleep. “Yes, she really is hungry already!” Katrina found that if she allowed her baby to cluster feed, she was less fussy and then settled into a longer nap.
As long as your newborn is getting in 8-12 feedings per day and having plenty of wet and dirty diapers, you can follow their lead on timing. And this often does make feedings much easier for you both.
2. “Hold them skin to skin.”
Amanda found that skin to skin contact worked well for calming her baby when she was getting upset at a feeding. “In the early days, undressing her to just her diaper and holding her on my chest calmed us both down.”
Skin to skin contact is great for many reasons. With feeding it can be like a baby reboot. Control, alt, delete. If baby is beginning to fall apart, just slip off their clothes and hold them until they’re calm and ready to try again.
3. “Take care of yourself.”
This is the biggest “easier said than done” of all new mom clichés, but it’s true. Sasha said, “Meet your own needs first. If you are starving, or thirsty, or just really need to pee when you feed baby, then you’re going to be uncomfortable and rushed. Not only is that hard on you, but baby may pick up on your vibe and be fussy, too.” She suggested making yourself a nursing station with water, snacks, the remote and your phone. When you sit down, you can take your time and focus on yourself and baby. That may really pay off in calmer feedings for you both.
4. “Ask for help when you need it.”
All the moms, and we mean all of them, chimed in on this one. Don’t go in alone or stay up half the night googling things. And be careful getting your information from unmoderated Facebook groups or online forums. The information can by incorrect and sometimes the moms can be unhelpful, or downright mean. Find a good support group, call an experienced friend, or sit down with an experienced Lactation Consultant if you need help.