It is my belief that full feedings can and should begin from birth.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed, formula and/or breast milk, what is important is that you feed your baby fully upon waking and maintain that for every feed.
What is considered a full feed?
• Breastfeeding = 30 minutes total feeding time, including burping
• Bottle-feeding = 30 minutes to finish bottle (amount will vary depending on age and individual needs but should align with the national standard recommendation of age-appropriate bottle feeding guidelines.
It is ironic that your biggest obstacle to accomplishing full feedings will be sleep, and that is why it is essential to separate eating and sleeping from the very beginning. You must keep baby awake long enough to eat. I have seen mother/baby nurses, NICU nurses, and doulas use gentle measures to keep a baby awake long enough to take a full feeding. Some examples of these efforts include placing a cold wipe on baby’s foot or taking off baby’s clothes to wake them up. While you may feel that waking them to eat or stimulating them to ensure a full feeding is unnatural, I can assure it is necessary for proper nutrition and essential to get baby sleeping through the night.
If you start from birth to establish full feedings, and work to maintain those throughout the first year, you will have developed one of the main ingredients for infant sleep.