Bluestem Health on Feeding Your Baby

Most parents worry that they baby isn’t getting enough to eat. Follow these instructions from Bluestem Health for recommendations for feeding your baby.

Feeding your baby is supposed to be easy, right. They drink milk, then at about 6 months you introduce real food. Sounds easy enough. Wrong. There is more that goes into feeding your baby than you might know. Even if you are lucky enough to have a healthy, developmentally average baby, feeding can still be tricky. If you have a baby with special needs, make sure to seek help beyond this blog by contacting your pediatrician or our lactation counselor. In the meantime, check out these baby feeding tips to make sure your baby feeding game is on point.


Most parents worry that they baby isn’t getting enough to eat. Follow this easy to read chart for proper feeding of your baby.



  • Brings the hand to the mouth
  • Sucking on tongue, hand, or makes smacking sounds
  • Tight fists held at the center of their chest
  • “Rooting”: When baby moves its mouth & turns head toward the breast
  • Waking up from sleep or fluttering their eyes
  • Crying or very fussy can be a sign of hunger. Try to latch before they get frustrated & start crying.


  • Eating slower
  • Relaxing body and arms and moving away from mom’s body
  • Stops sucking milk
  • Falls asleep
  • Turns their face away from breast


  • The pattern is press, compress, relax for proper hand expression. Always remember to have clean hands.
  • Over time, it can help express milk faster and in higher amounts than pumping.
  • It increases milk supply and encourages mature milk to come in faster.
  • At first, it will start with just a few drops, but will increase over time.
  • Express some drops on the nipple for baby to smell and taste to initiate a feeding.


  • Make sure hands, bottles, pump parts, and storage containers are clean and sanitized.
  • Massage breasts to initiate a let down.
  • Always seal containers well and leave space for freezing because milk will expand.
  • Store milk in small amounts, or in amounts that the baby typically eats to avoid waste.


Defrost milk in warm water, NEVER in a microwave or with boiling water.

Frozen milk can be put into the fridge to defrost and if you want to save milk you defrosted, it can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours.

  • Defrosted milk should not be re-frozen. Milk can separate and you can swirl it gently to mix it.
  • Milk should NEVER have a soapy, rancid, or sour odor.
  • Breastmilk does not spoil easily and can be stored as follows:

According to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

Room Temperature

Up to 4 hours is best

Up to 8 hours is acceptable


Up to 4 days is best

Up to 8 days is acceptable*


Up to 6 months is best

12 months is acceptable

*If collected in very clean condition
**Do not store in door of freezer


Now that you know the ins and outs of pumping and storing for feeding your baby, you may be ready to go back to work. Going back to work or school can be hard while breastfeeding. Your hard work will pay off and your baby’s health will be protected for years to come with proper preparation for breastfeeding, pumping, and feeding your baby.

  • Consider using all maternity leave available, if you are able, as it will be beneficial to you and your baby’s breastfeeding journey.
  • Latch baby often to establish a good supply. Always seek help from a lactation counselor if you do have trouble.
  • Look into possible work alternatives like cutting down hours or working from home. Some employers may be okay with you bringing your baby into work or having them come to work when the baby needs to breastfeed.
  • For pumping, you will most likely need a 20-30 minute break, two or three times, during an 8-hour work day. Let your employer know that you plan to pump. The Federal Labor Standard Act guarantees sufficient breaks and private space to pump at work for up to a year.
  • Plan where you will be pumping and make sure it is a comfortable, private area.
  • Obtain a high-quality pump with your insurance. This can be our Health 360 location, at Milkworks, or a community pump clinic.
  • For milk reserve and storage, after 2-3 weeks of establishing a good supply, you can start using your pump to create a small reserve.
  • When baby is 2-4 weeks of age, have someone else introduce a bottle. Start with a slow flow nipple. Remind the caregiver to be patient, as the baby may be frustrated or confused when learning how to take a bottle.

*See below how to obtain a free breast pump with insurance in our pumping clinics section to help with feeding your baby.


  • It is not generally recommended to give a baby cow’s milk before the first 12 months.
  • NEVER give a baby under 12 months honey because of the risk of botulism.
  • Hard to swallow foods should also be delayed to make sure they are not a choking hazard.


At Bluestem Health in Lincoln, Nebraska, we believe Breast is Best. Breastfeed your baby if you are able. The benefits of breastfeeding are many, read more in our Benefits of Breastfeeding blog. For more information and videos on breastfeeding visit


Pump Clinics at Health 360 are for anyone 36+ weeks, pregnant or with a newborn. We cover breastfeeding topics like maintaining and maximizing lactation, latching, health benefits, renting a pump* and more. Insurance may cover the cost of a breast pump. We provide pumps to new moms if:

  • Mother has proof of insurance
  • Mother has a prescription for a pump
    *Please call your provider for a prescription.


For Lactation Counseling or to sign up for one of our Pumping Clinics at Bluestem Health in Lincoln, NE contact Karina, Certified Lactation Counselor at our Health 360 location, 402-441-6642.

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