Feeding your baby will take up a majority of your time in those early days. It can feel overwhelming to new parents for a variety of reasons. Knowing how much to feed your baby and when, what to do when something is wrong, and what exactly “right” feels and looks like are all new concepts. New moms can make some common feeding mistakes in the beginning, but we’re here to help.
Having Firm Expectations About The Feeding process
While it’s good to have a plan, the reality of parenting is that you need to be flexible. Perhaps you intended to exclusively breastfeed, but your little one came early, requiring pumping and supplementing. Maybe you were set on one type of formula, but your baby’s tummy had other plans. Speaking of your baby’s tummy, your own diet could need to be altered depending on how they react to certain foods you consume while breastfeeding. There are so many possibilities that could change your best-intended plans. Learning to remain flexible and pivot to whatever is best for your baby will benefit you both in the long run.
Staying In The Same Routine For Too Long
Just when you finally figure out what works best for your baby, it’s going to change. Your little one will hit a growth spurt and require more frequent nursing sessions or another ounce in their bottle. They’ll experience a sleep regression and change up their eating habits again. Sticking too ardently to the feeding schedule that once worked will frustrate you both. Just like having to be flexible when it comes to your expectations, learning to be flexible with your baby’s feeding routine is vitally important.
Trying Too Many Things Too Quickly
On the flip side of sticking it out too long in a routine, trying too many new things too quickly is another common feeding mistake. When your baby turns their head from a feeding, don’t immediately assume a growth spurt is over, they’re done with that formula, or are trying to wean. Maybe they got distracted by their sibling running around the room. Maybe they just aren’t hungry at this particular minute. Changing their schedule or bottle, introducing new foods, or switching formula because of one rejected feeding will only confuse your baby—and you.
Additionally, as your baby begins to eat solids, introducing foods slowly is key. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should offer single-ingredient foods three to five days apart to watch for any reactions. Slowly introducing foods in this way allows you to catch any possible sensitivities or allergies. Your little one might also reject those first feedings because the texture and taste are new. Try again in a week. If they’re still rejecting attempts at solid foods, you’ll want to reach out for help. Which brings us to the next point…
Waiting Too Long To Seek Out Help
As moms, we want to be able to tend to our baby’s needs. However, sometimes we need help. If you’ve tried to resolve a feeding issue on your own but still feel like something is off, it’s time to reach out for help. If you’re struggling with breastfeeding, be it latch or tummy issues for your baby, reach out to your pediatrician earlier rather than later. Latch issues can be fixed quickly and easily, resulting in a happier baby—and mom. If you feel like your baby might not be reacting well to their formula, reach out. As we mentioned in the previous point, if your baby rejects solid, pureed food for a few weeks after initial introduction, it’s time to call the doctor. Your pediatrician has seen it all and will have helpful, productive suggestions to help you and your infant through the rough spot.
Being Too Hard On Yourself As A New Parent
You’re new at this. Guess what? So is your baby. Together, you’re going to figure this out. You may have to ask for help with common feeding mistakes from your pediatrician, lactation consultant, friends, or family members. You may have to try new things for a little while to see if they work. You will have to be flexible for sure. But you’re going to be okay. Your baby is going to be okay. You’re both going to get through this learning curve and head into a new one—together.