After giving birth, your midwife will give you information about your local well-baby clinic, which is usually held in your medical centre. The well-baby clinic gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns you have about your baby with a child health nurse. You can also have your baby weighed at the clinic to give you peace of mind they are growing well and within the normal range for their age. New parents often have concerns about feeding and can worry about whether their baby is drinking enough and whether they should wake their baby for feeds during the night. Here's an overview of how the well-baby clinic can assist you with three common formula feeding concerns:
You may be surprised how quickly your baby's appetite grows. In the first few days after birth, they will likely drink no more than 25ml of formula at each feed, but as their stomach grows, they may start drinking 100-150ml at each feed after only a few weeks. New parents are often concerned their baby is drinking too much when their appetite increases quickly. Conversely, if your baby increases their feed volumes at a slower rate, you may be worried they're not drinking enough to stay hydrated and meet their nutritional needs. The staff at the well-baby clinic can explain how you can identify signs of dehydration and the minimum volume of formula your baby needs to drink in a 24-hour period to grow and remain healthy. They can also help you identify whether your baby is letting you know they are hungry or whether they are crying for another reason, such as feeling cold, needing a cuddle or feeling unwell, and this can prevent overfeeding.
The advice around feeding frequency for formula fed babies has changed several times over the last three decades, and this has left new parents feeling confused and uncertain about certain aspects of feeding, such as whether to wake a baby every few hours to feed them or wait until they wake up by themselves for a feed. You may also be wondering when you can start dropping night feeds and when it's okay for your baby to sleep through the night without a feed. Your child health nurse can help you determine when your baby is ready to start stretching their feeds out, explain the current minimum age and weight recommendations for allowing your baby to sleep through the night and how you can determine whether your baby is waking at night because they are hungry or whether it's out of habit.
It's normal for a baby to regurgitate a little milk straight after they've had a feed, and this is known as posseting. If you have concerns about the volume of milk your baby is bringing up, or if they are bringing up milk a while after they've been fed, it's a good idea to speak to a staff member at the well-baby clinic. Bringing up lots of milk after each feed can indicate your baby has an underlying health condition, such as infant reflux or intolerance to cows' milk, and your child health nurse can identify the problem based on your baby's symptoms. Babies often grow out of conditions that cause them to vomit after feeding, but they may require a hypoallergenic formula, which is available on prescription, in the meantime.
Many well-baby clinics offer drop-in consultations, but if you have to schedule an appointment several days in advance and you're concerned about your baby's health or well-being, contact your GP.