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You should feed your baby on demand whenever your baby appears to be hungry. Cues to look for include smacking or licking lips, opening and closing mouth and sucking on lips, tongue or hands. Your pediatrician will help guide you on how to adjust amounts of formula offered and which nipples to use for bottles.

In the hospital, new bottles of formula are good only for one hour at room temperature. Throw away any formula not taken in one hour. Some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • Hold your baby comfortably and closely to you. Talk to your baby during feedings. This provides a sense of security and love during your baby's feeding time.
  • Always keep your baby's head higher than the stomach and switch arms during feedings to help the baby's eye muscles develop equally. Keeping the baby's head elevated will help prevent ear infections.
  • Tickle your baby's lips with the nipple and wait for the baby's mouth to open.
  • Bring the bottle to the baby horizontally. The angle of the bottle determines how fast the formula flows. You can raise or lower the bottle as needed. A little air in the nipple will not hurt.
  • The baby's lips should be around the base of the nipple.
  • Burp your baby after about every half ounce taken. If the baby has been crying, there may be air in the baby's tummy and may need to be burped sooner.
  • In the first few days, babies will take from 10 to 30 ccs per feeding. Watch for feeding cues such as hands near the baby's mouth, rooting, or smacking lips. Crying is a late sign of hunger. Babies will eat six to eight times per day and may take different amounts at each feeding.
  • Most babies will take all the formula they want in about 20 to 30 minutes. When your baby has had enough, they may stop sucking, pull back, push the nipple out with their tongue, or let formula flow out the side of their mouth. Follow your baby's cues.
  • Never prop the bottle. This can result in choking or increased ear infections. Your baby should always be held while feeding.
  • To wake a sleepy baby, unwrap the baby, tickle the feet, or wash the face with a cold cloth. Babies are especially sleepy the first three to five days, so you may have to work a little harder to get them to wake up.
  • Your pediatrician will recommend which formula you should use for your baby. Consult your pediatrician if you believe it is necessary to change formulas, for example, from a milk-based formula to a soy formula.

Questions about feeding your baby?
Before you go home from Mercy Gilbert's Lund Family Birth Center our nursing staff will make sure you have the education and skills needed to care for and feed your baby at home. For information on our baby care and child safety classes, please call (480) 728-5414 or visit our Classes and Events section.