Should I Wake My Baby For Feedings
For the first few weeks of life, I usually recommend that Mom wake the baby to breastfeed at least every two to three hours, measured from the start of one feeding to the start of the next, during the day and evening hours. It’s okay to let the baby take one longer stretch of sleep at night if she is able to do that.
What Should I Do To Support My Babys Feeding Schedule
Newborn feeding pattern
If youre in the thick of the first 8 weeks, take a deep breath! You and your baby are both still learning and things will get easier over time. Focus on babys feeding cues to let you know what to do.
Feed your newborn 6 to 10 times for formula and 8 to 12 times for breastmilk in a 24-hour period versus focusing on a specific feeding schedule. Follow your babys hunger and fullness cues.
Older baby feeding pattern
As baby gets older, their feeding cues may change.7 A consistent baby feeding schedule may not emerge until your baby is around 6 months old. Remember that your baby needs to eat frequently , especially throughout the first 3 months. Watch for your babys natural schedule, but do not force it or stick to a rigid baby feeding schedule.
Allow your babys cues to guide you in determining how much breast milk or formula to offer and how frequently. Its ok if your baby stops nursing sooner than usual or does not finish a bottle, and its also ok if your baby prolongs breast feeding or needs you to prepare an additional bottle.
Read more: Breastfeeding on Demand vs. on a Schedule
Find your support group
Build a strong support network. Feeding a baby is a demanding job! Having friends and family members who can support you, whether with holding the baby while you nap or tossing in a load of laundry so you dont have to, will allow you to focus on yourself and your baby.
Read more about the experts that help write our content!
Should I Feed My Baby For A Certain Number Of Minutes Per Breast
Don’t remove your baby from the breast. Allow him to tell you when he’s done with the first breast. You’ll know he’s had enough when he removes himself or when he stops sucking for longer than a few minutes. There’s no specific amount of time he should spend on each breast. If he wants to take the second breast, that’s fine. If not, that’s okay too. It’s important to allow your baby to determine the end of the feeding to allow him access to the higher fat, creamier milk that usually comes near the end of the session. If you remove the baby after a specific amount of time you may hinder his ability to get enough of the creamier milk.
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How Can I Tell If My Baby Is Hungry
Its normal to think that crying is an indicator of hunger in your newborn, but according to the La Leche League, Crying is a late feeding cue and indicates your baby is too hungry.
It may take a while for your newborn to settle down once they get to this point, making feeding time difficult. Its important to recognize early feeding cues before crying sets in.
It will take you and your baby a few days or even a few weeks to adjust and learn each others cues. But this adjustment period is important because responding to early feeding cues will help eliminate hunger cries.
Look for these signs to tell if your baby is hungry:
- Opens their mouth
- Turns their head toward your chest
- Places their hands and fists in their mouth
- Moves their head from side to side
- Whimpers or makes grunting sounds
How To Feed A Baby Chick
When you first bring your baby chicks home, you will need to set up your brooding area.
Ideally, this will be completed before you carry your chicks to the brooder because you will want everything to be set up adequately before you need to take your chickens out of their shipping container.
Waiting to set up your brooder until your chicks have already arrived is a recipe for disaster, as it will require them to be out of a warm area for much longer than necessary.
If you are raising just a few chicks , you can use a large box with walls that are at least a foot and a half high.
Some people use plastic totes or other makeshift brooders, and this works just fine in most cases, especially if your box can be placed in a safe area that is not exposed to drafts or interference from household pets or small children.
You do need to be careful about using plastic containers if you are using a traditional heat bulb, as it can melt the plastic.
Cover the brooder with either a towel or screen and then set up your brooder lamp or heat plate.
Chicks need to be kept at temperatures between 95 and 100 degrees for the first two weeks of life and the temperature will then be reduced by about five degrees each month.
You should use a red brooder bulb to make sure your chicks dont peck each other.
Your chicks will do a good job of telling you whether they are cold or hot, and this can be evidenced in several different ways.
- Paper plate
- Clean egg flats
- Shoebox lid
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Watch For Hunger Cues
Babies may not be able to use words to let you know that they’re hungry, but they can tell you that it’s time to eat in other ways. A newborn is ready to eat when they are:
- Awake, alert, and active
- Moving their head from side to side
- Pulling up their legs
- Putting their head on your chest while being held
- Sucking their hands
- Squirming around
Your baby may show some or all of these signs of hunger. You may not notice that these are hunger cues at first, but as the days go on, you’ll begin to recognize them more easily.
How Do I Incorporate Breastfeeding Or Bottle
Even though your baby is now slurping purées from a spoon , the bulk of her nutrition will still come from breast milk or formula. Consider the solids you serve at first as healthy supplements and a chance for your sweetie to explore new tastes and textures.
When should you bring out a bottle or your breast, and when should you dish out solids? There’s really no set rule. Some parents find that an appetizer of breast milk or formula is a good way to start off a meal, so their little ones aren’t too hungry to settle down to eat.
Other parents offer solids as a first course and breast milk or formula for dessert. Then there are moms who like to completely separate solids from nursing or bottle-feeding sessions.
Since there’s no hard and fast rule, experiment until you find a feeding schedule that works for you.
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Breastfeeding Tips To Help You Get Started
Positioning and attachment for feeding come naturally to many babies and mothers, but many need time and practice to get it right. Some tips that may help include:
- Have skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
- Feed your baby soon after birth, preferably within the first hour.
- Your milk production usually increases between 24 to 72 hours after birth. This is often called your milk coming in.
- Babies need to feed frequently, usually 8 to 12 times in 24 hours.
- Hold your baby fully facing you and close to your body.
- Touch the area between your babys nose and mouth with your nipple. This will encourage a wide mouth ready to take in the nipple and surrounding breast.
- Breastfeeding can be a bit uncomfortable in the beginning. If you feel pain, break the suction by gently inserting a clean finger in the corner of the babys mouth, and try again. Re-attaching your baby often helps.
- If your baby is having difficulty attaching to the breast, hand express your breastmilk and give it to them.
- Remember, for most women learning to breastfeed takes some time. Dont be afraid to ask for help.
- Young babies find it easier to feed when mothers respond to their early feeding cues, so delay changing their nappy until after a feed.
- Crying is a late hunger cue try to respond to your baby before they become distressed.
- Avoid giving your baby dummies, teats and fluids other than breastmilk unless a health professional has advised you to use them.
Dealing With Leaking Breasts
Sometimes, breast milk may leak unexpectedly from your nipples.
Wearing breast pads will stop your clothes becoming wet with breast milk. Remember to change them frequently to prevent an infection.
Expressing some milk may also help. Only express enough to feel comfortable as you do not want to overstimulate your supply.
If your baby has not fed recently, you could offer them a feed as breastfeeding is also about you being comfortable.
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When To Night Wean
Now, I know that it can be difficult to tell when exactly your unique baby is ready for night weaning. Thats why I created a night weaning quiz, Is Your Baby Ready For Night Weaning? Its very short just 5 questions and easy to take, so if youre struggling with whether or not your baby is ready for night weaning, I suggest you take this quiz. The response you get will help you determine whether not you should move forward with night weaning, or whether or not you need to wait a bit and try night-weaning later.
In general, a baby needs to be able to consume all of their calories in the daytime in order to be night-weaned. This typically happens around 4-6 months old for formula-fed babies and around 6-10 months for breastfed babies.
I typically recommend at least an attempt at night-weaning by 8-9 months old , because at some point, sometimes it is a chicken and egg problem. A baby needs a certain number of calories during the day and if he gets some at night, he wont eat more during the day and if he doesnt eat more during the day, he needs it at night. So, sometimes, a baby really does feel hungry at night, but it doesnt mean he cant go all night without a feeding. It simply means he needs to adjust how much hes eating during the day. The idea is to help him do this.
How Do I Know My Baby Is Hungry
Signs that babies are hungry include:
- moving their heads from side to side
- opening their mouths
- placing their hands, fingers, and fists to their mouths
- puckering their lips as if to suck
- nuzzling again their mothers’ breasts
- showing the rooting reflex
Despite what you might think, crying is a late sign of hunger. You should give a feeding before your baby gets so hungry that he or she gets upset and becomes difficult to calm down.
It’s also important, however, to realize that every time your baby cries it is not necessarily because of hunger. Sometimes babies just need to be cuddled or changed. Or they could be overstimulated, bored, or too hot or too cold. If your baby cries only an hour after a good feeding, there may be something else causing the distress.
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References: The Newborn Feeding Schedule
Nutrition during lactation is an excellent resource for parents who want detailed information about the newborn feeding schedule and other breastfeeding issues. It is available online. For more information regarding the newborn feeding schedule, see these publications :
American Academy of Pediatrics. 1997. Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk. Pediatrics 100 : 1035-1039.
Casiday RE, Wright Cm, Panter-Brick C, and Parkinson KN. 2004. Do early infant feeding patterns relate to breast-feeding continuation and weight gain? Data from a longitudinal cohort study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 58: 1290-1296.
Casey CE, M.R. Neifert MR, Seacat JM, and Neville MC. 1986. Nutrient intake by breastfed infants during the first five days after birth. Am. J. Dis. Child. 140:933-936.
de Carvalho M., Robertson S, Merkatz R, and Klaus M. 1982. Milk intake and frequency of feeding in breastfed infants. Early Hum. Dev. 7:155-163.
Dewey KG, Nommsen-Rivers LA, Heinig MJ, and Cohen RJ. 2003. Risk Factors for Suboptimal Infant Breastfeeding Behavior, Delayed Onset of Lactation, and Excess Neonatal Weight Loss. Pediatrics 112: 607-619.
Fildes VA. Breasts, bottles and babies. 1986. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Freeman V, vant Hof M, and Haschke F. 2000. Patterns of milk and food intake in infants from birth to age 36 months: the Euro-growth study. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 31 Suppl 1:S76-85.
Content of The newborn feeding schedule last modified 9/2017
Support From Partners For Breastfeeding Mothers
Partners can do a lot to help mothers feed and care for their baby. They can provide support and encouragement to assist them through the difficult patches. Partners can help by:
- finding out about breastfeeding
- believing in their partners ability to breastfeed
- taking an active role in the day-to-day care of the baby. Taking the baby for a walk, cuddling, changing nappies or bathing the baby gives partners an opportunity to get to know their baby and gives you a rest and some time for yourself.
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When A Baby Is Unable To Breastfeed
Occasionally, there may be times where your baby is not able to breastfeed for a while. Hospital grade electric breast pumps can provide the needed suckling stimulus for your milk production and are readily available. At first, you may be able to only express a few drops of milk. This is very common, especially if this is your first baby. Begin double pumping as soon as possible and continue pumping on a regular basis . Your milk supply will increase over time. Do not worry about how much milk you are pumping. When you are able to breastfeed your baby, your milk production will be better.
Breast Milk Varies In Caloric Content
When Shelly Hester and her colleagues analyzed 22 published studies on the metabolizable opens in a new windowenergy content of breast milk, the researchers were able to estimate the calories found per serving: About 65 calories per 100 milliliters of breast milk.
But hang on. That estimate is the average for milk expressed between 2 weeks and 6 weeks postpartum .
Milk produced earlier is substantially less caloric. Colostrum, the milk produced during the first few days, has only about 53 calories per 100 mL. Then, between approximately 6 and 14 days postpartum, the caloric density increases slightly, averaging 58 calories per 100 mL .
And milk produced later after the 6 weeks postpartum becomes increasingly caloric as time goes by. Thats because the fat content of breast milk tends to increase the longer a woman continues to nurse.
When researchers have tracked lactating mothers over time, theyve found that the fat content in milk produced at 6 months is higher than it is at 3 months .
Thats a lot of variation already, but weve only scratched the surface because individual mothers vary substantially in the energy content of their milk. Studies indicate that individual woman may range widely in the fat content of their milk from 2 grams per 100mL to 5 grams per mL .
Finally, its worth noting that the quality of breast milk changes during the course of a feed.
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