Tips for first-time moms to enjoy feeding moments with their baby

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For a majority of first-time moms feeding their baby can be an emotional and stressful experience. New moms encountering these common, yet unexpected feeding challenges are not alone. A recent national survey, commissioned by Playtex®, revealed that 85 percent of first-time moms have experienced at least one feeding-related problem when caring for their new baby.

As a leader in infant care, Playtex commissioned this national survey to better understand common issues, anxieties and concerns first-time moms face when feeding their babies.  To further address the survey findings, Playtex brought together leading pediatricians Drs. William Sears, Alanna Levine and Laura Jana today for a Web symposium.  The goal of this expert forum was to provide meaningful insights and solutions to help moms experience the joy of healthy feeding.

"Moms spend more time feeding their babies than any other interaction during the first year," shares Dr. William Sears, renowned pediatrician and author of more than 30 books on childcare.  "Feeding a baby is more than simply a means of providing nutrition, it's an important bonding moment.  This bonding time can be interrupted by stress and anxiety when new parents encounter feeding complications."

The national survey shed light on specific challenges, problems and questions of new moms when it comes to feeding their babies, including:

  • Not as Easy as it Looks: While first-time moms feel that feeding their baby is an important and enjoyable activity, nearly half of those surveyed (43 percent) confessed that feeding was a challenge they faced in caring for their new baby.
  • Food for Thought: Nearly half of first-time moms (49 percent) cited gas as their top feeding problem, followed by difficulty breastfeeding (37 percent), fussiness or difficulty feeding (33 percent) and problems latching or sucking (32 percent). The majority of moms surveyed (70 percent) share a common problem determining that their baby is eating enough during feedings.
  • A Bonding Experience: Infant feeding is an important bonding moment and favorite for many.  In fact, 86 percent of survey respondents agreed time spent feeding their baby is an important bonding moment.  In addition, nearly one in four moms (24 percent) said feeding was their favorite bonding moment during their daily routine.
  • In Need of Guidance: Moms are searching for answers and validation as they become feeding "experts" for their own baby.  According to the survey, more than half of first-time moms (56 percent) ask feeding-related questions during their regular pediatrician appointments; with more than one in four (26 percent) doing so at every visit.

"Newborn babies intuitively know how to eat using a sucking, swallowing and breathing rhythm that comes naturally to them," said Jon Jager, Senior Brand Manager, Playtex Infant Care.  "Despite this natural instinct, first-time parents and their babies routinely encounter feeding related problems.  To help educate new moms and encourage further awareness of feeding challenges, Playtex, with our pediatric partners, has developed tips that will provide the solutions parents need to enjoy feeding moments with their baby."

Five recommended tips to happy and healthy feeding moments:

  1. Slow Down:  Feeding too much, too fast, can increase intestinal gas from the breakdown of excessive lactose.   Break feeding sessions down by providing smaller amounts more often.   As a rule of thumb, feed your baby twice as often and half as much.  This will help your baby's digestive system handle food better.  To further reduce gas, colic and spit-up, consider using a bottle that mimics an infant's intuitive swallowing and breathing patterns. The Playtex® Drop-Ins® Bottle System has been clinically shown to have the same suck-swallow-breath rhythm as breastfeeding so the baby can have a more natural feeding experience from a bottle and less colic and gas.
  2. Bottles Up:  When using a bottle, it's best to hold your baby semi-upright at a 45-degree angle while being fed and for a half-hour afterwards.  This position will help avoid excess fluid build-up in your baby's middle ear and allow fluids to move through the digestive system more smoothly with less air swallowed. Look for bottles that feature an angled design and support a semi-upright feeding position recommended by pediatricians to help reduce ear infections.  The Playtex® VentAire® Advanced Bottle System offers an angled design with micro-channel vents that create a consistent flow of liquid to minimize pressure on your baby's ear canals and helps protect against gas, colic and spit-up.
  3. Moms on the Go: If you know you're going back to work or traveling, try introducing the bottle several weeks before, so you can address any challenges in advance.  Begin by experimenting with different bottles and nipples to find the one that works for you and your baby. You may want to start with Playtex® Drop-Ins® Bottle System is clinically shown to deliver an experience closest to breastfeeding.  It's the only national brand that has pre-sterilized, disposable, soft liners that collapse and contract like the breast as the baby feeds to prevent air from mixing with the milk.  
  4. Babies, Bubbles and Burping:  Encouraging fathers to be involved with feedings creates valuable bonding time with their baby.  In addition to helping with bottle feedings, dads can help burp the baby. Your baby should be burped half way through and after each feeding to avoid gas.  To further minimize the intake of air, you should make sure your baby's lips are positioned on the wide base of the nipple, versus just on the tip.  
  5. Seeing Eye to Eye: Maintain eye contact during feedings. Watch as your little one studies your face and takes in your expressions. Not only does this deepen your attachment, it sets an early foundation for important social skills.  During each feeding, be sure to relax, slow down, and savor every moment with your little one.  

Energizer Personal Care, LLC


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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