Father’s Bonding with Babies: Though many fathers dote on their babies but this late bonding disappoints them to a certain level. Occasions when the mother is unable to feed the baby due to her work or other engagements are great opportunities for the father to feed the baby and bond with her.
Training Your Baby for Feeds.
If you need to feed your baby in her mother’s absence quite frequently, then it is better to train her early for taking milk from a feeder spoon or sipper. The mother can express some breast milk and store it for use when she is not around. Exercise the following measures while training your baby for feeding other than from mother’s breasts.
Avoid Nipple Confusion: Don’t try to get your baby into feeding other than from breasts too early (before 4 weeks) so as to avoid nipple confusion in your baby, since problems with nipple confusion can abruptly end breastfeeding.
Mother’s Absence Makes Feeding Easy: Breastfeeding creates a very strong bond between the mother and the baby. Breastfed babies are unlikely to accept feeds from other modes from their mothers. Fathers can make use of this opportunity to bond with the baby and feed her. It is best that the mother stays out of the baby’s sight while the father introduces her to the feeds for her to accept the feeds readily.
Different Positions for Feeding: Experiment with different positions for feeding your baby. Some babies appreciate a feeding experience with a familiar setting as that of breastfeeding, cradle hold, skin contact etc with lot of interaction involved. Others may view it as a completely different activity. You can try walking around while offering the feeds. Use a baby sling to make feeding easier.
Fix Up a Feeding Routine: Fix up the time of your baby’s feed in such a way that it is in sync with her breastfeed time. Don’t wait until the baby is desperately hungry. The baby is most likely to accept the feed when she is comfortable and not when she is at the edge of hunger pangs.
Things to Remember While Feeding Your Baby.
Use a Clean Mode of Feeding: Babies can be cup- fed, fed with a nursing feeder spoon, or they can take milk from a sipper. Whatever the mode of feeding you use, make sure that it is clean and sterilized. The best way to ensure hygiene is to store the breast milk, when expressed, directly into the feeding cup or sipper that you are going to use. Also make sure the spoons, feeders and sippers you use are right for your baby’s age and size.
Feeding Older Babies: Older babies who have started eating solid foods may get much of their nourishment from non-milk sources while the mother is away. So you can feed your older baby with food as well while mum is not around. Older babies are more likely to be interested in having solid foods from you, in comparison to milk, since they prefer having milk directly from mum.
Your Baby’s Favorite Food: You need a lot of trial and error to figure out your baby’s food preferences. If the baby doesn’t accept one food, you can try another food. Also re-try the same food that the baby rejected earlier, after a gap of some days, to check acceptability. You can also experiment with the consistency, presentation and texture of the food to increase the chances of acceptance of a particular food. For example, your baby may not like dal-rice, but she may be fond of khichdi. Small changes in the preparation increase the chances of food acceptance in babies.
Provide Correct Portion of Food: Make sure that you are providing the right portion size to your baby otherwise she may not be able to finish her food or may be left hungry. Most of all trust your baby’s tummy for fullness. If the baby is full she is not going to accept any more food. Do not force feed your baby.
Interact with your baby at all times, whatever her age. This makes her more comfortable with you and she starts trusting you as much as she trusts her mother. Exercise great patience and perseverance while dealing with her. Do not force-feed her, even if she hasn’t eaten. Patiently encourage her to take the feeds from you. If she rejects, wait for a while and then try again. This kind of connection makes her more acceptable to the feeds you offer. Use the feeding time to the maximum for bonding with your baby.