Kellie Eason RN, RM, IBCLC
Kellie Eason is a Nurse, Midwife & IBCLC in private practice with over 25 years experience.
Did you know that babies are equipped with innate senses to cue their hunger and thirst signals?
For the health and wellbeing of your baby, we know it is important for you to offer your baby their feed and/or drink when they indicate hunger and it is then up to them to accept the feed that they need.
This enables babies to get all the nutrients and fluids that they need and it also helps them to develop a healthy and strong ability to regulate their own intake so they are not at risk of being over or under fed or developing issues with feed refusal or fussiness with feeds and food.
Babies indicate hunger by demonstrating cues such as:
When they have had enough to eat or drink, babies tend to:
If you are struggling to understand your baby's behavioural cues - it's important that you chat with your Midwife, IBCLC, Maternal & Child Health Nurse, Paediatrician or GP for assistance.
A lot of parents get confused by directions on the back of formula tins and tend to read these tables as being gospel to what their babies needs are....These feeding guideline tables are exactly that, GUIDELINES...only your baby knows how much he or she needs.
Truth is, your baby knows way better than what is written on the formula tin and your baby knows way better than what anyone else thinks his or her thirst and hunger needs are...So it's really important to read your baby, not the tin...
I often need to prescribe feed volumes for babies - such feed prescriptions are GUIDELINES only...based on mathematical calculations of according to weight and age of babies. Some babies will take more of less than is recommended. Some will smaller volumes more often and some will have large volumes less often. So again, it's really important to read your baby's behavioural cues so that you can best meet their needs.
Most infants to the age of 3 months, will have 8-10 feeds per day on average.
Most infants aged 3-6 months of age, will have 6-10 feeds per day on average.
Most infants to the age of 6-8 months, will have 6-8 feeds per day plus 2-3 solid meals per day, some snacks and some drinks of water.
Most infants from 8-12 months of age, on average will have:
Again, these are averages, guidelines to give you an idea of what most babies feed, eat and drink as appropriate for age.
Under the age of 6 months, if breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, there is NO NEED FOR EXTRA WATER or fluids that need to be given to your baby, regardless of the hot weather or any other reason.
This is because developmentally, your under 6 month old baby is designed to only drink breastmilk or formula which are are customised to suit your baby's vital organs such as their brain and kidneys. Extra water in young babies, has been shown to overload the kidneys and cause extra fluid build up on the brain.
When infant formula is made up with the correct ratio of powder to water as directed on the tin, the formula is made to ensure your baby has the right balance of water and nutrients with every feed.
When breastfeeding, your baby's saliva tracks along the breastmilk ducts, modulating the correct amount of nutrients, fluids and antibodies that your baby needs at that particular period of time.
Did you know that breastmilk contains more water during hot seasons and more fat/protein during the warmer months?.
Whether breastfed or formula fed, infants will feed more frequently than usual when:
This is how infant's regulate their intake and it is really important that you follow their lead and trust that you as their parent are more than capable of knowing what is best for your child.
My take home motto "trust YOUR baby and trust YOUR, because YOU know what is best for YOUR baby"...
This article is of information which is relative for most healthy babies and is not intended to replace the advice of your IBCLC, Midwife, Maternal & Child Health Nurse, IBCLC, GP, Paediatrician.
If you have any concerns about you or your baby's health & wellbeing, contact your care provider.
Please refer to your local healthcare contacts in your Child Health Record for advice