Newborn Breastfeeding Schedule
- May 14, 2012
- by Melissa Lawrence
Today’s video is all about the difference between on-demand breastfeeding and scheduled feedings. Breastfeeding your baby is exhausting and overwhelming, but with this baby feeding schedule, I hope I can bring some peace to your hectic life as a new mom! Keep watching for more!
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Newborn Feeding Schedule
If you are following the on-demand breastfeeding schedule, the AAP (American Association of Pediatrics) recommends 8-12 feedings every 24 hours, lasting 10 to 45 minutes each. On-demand breastfeeding happens when your baby shows signs of hunger such as chewing on their first or wrist, puckering their lips in search of a nipple, or crying. The hardest part of this is usually keeping your baby awake!
For a more scheduled feeding method, you’ll be putting your baby in the crib 1 ½ hours after each feed, and waking them up if necessary for their next feed 3 hours later. I’ve thrown a baby feeding chart into this video to let you know what times of the day are ideal for breastfeeding your baby!
This is a pretty rigorous schedule, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll have a baby who sleeps well during the day, wakes up hungry, and sleeps soundly through the night (hopefully!).
Baby Feeding and Sleeping Schedule: Breastfeeding Newborn
The first few weeks with your new baby can be incredibly overwhelming, and one of the things moms worry about most is, “How do I know if my baby is getting enough to eat?” This is especially true when you’re breastfeeding. Both you and your doctor will be watching your baby closely to make sure she regains her birth weight and continues to gain weight well. So how do you know when to feed your baby and for how long?
There are two theories when it comes to nursing newborns: on demand feedings and scheduled feedings. Either way, expect to be feeding your baby a lot in the early weeks.
The American Academy of Pediatrics espouses the on demand theory, which means you feed your baby whenever she manifests signs of hunger: rooting, chewing on hands or fists or crying.
On Demand Feeding:
- 8-12 feedings every 24 hours during the first weeks of life
- Feedings last from 10-45 minutes
Some parents choose scheduled feedings for full term babies, and even four of my five babies who were borderline preemies were able to breastfeed on a schedule with my doctor’s okay. So whatever you decide at this early stage, make sure you check with your own doctor.
When I say schedule, what I mean is a loose routine that helps you structure your day. You should always adjust if your baby shows signs of being hungry. It’s all about being flexible. Here’s my sample schedule, assuming your first feeding of the day is at 7 a.m. (of course this could be adapted for whatever time that first feed occurs).
7a m. First feeding of the day. Feed baby thoroughly, at least 20 minutes per side. 90 minutes after the feeding began, put baby down for a nap. Feed baby no later than 3 hours after the start of the previous feeding. Wake baby up if necessary. If your baby wakes up hungry before then, feed her and adjust your schedule.
Baby’s Feeding and Sleeping Schedule:
7 a.m – 1st Feeding
8:30 a.m. – Nap
10 a.m. – 2nd Feeding
11:30 a.m. – Nap
1 p.m. – 3rd Feeding
2:30 p.m. – Nap
4 p.m. – 4th Feeding
5:30 p.m. – Nap
7 p.m. – 5th Feeding
8 p.m. – Bedtime
10 p.m. – 6th Feeding (directly back to sleep)
1 a.m. – 7th Feeding (directly back to sleep)
4 a.m. – 8th Feeding (directly back to sleep)
Whether you’re feeding on demand or on a schedule, I do recommend not letting your baby sleep too much during the day. Once your baby has been asleep for 2-2.5 hours during the day, I would wake her up for a feeding. You want your baby to get used to the idea that daytime is playtime and nighttime is sleep time! If she sleeps for five hours in the middle of the day she might want to be up for five hours in the middle of the night!
Watch my video and get the schedule for your 2-4 month old breastfeeding baby. Also check out this handy chart for tracking your babies time on each breast and his wet and poppy diapers from our friends at FamilyEducation.com.
What tips do you have for a newborn breastfeeding schedule that you can share? Comment below – I would love to hear them!
Mary is the bomb.
This is a fantastic schedule.
Melissa thank you so much for covering this topic! I recently found your blog and it has really been a Godsend for me as a first time mom, so thanks so much!
I do have a question though, my daughter will be exactly 1 month old tomorrow and currently I am exclusively breastfeeding her, but she eats about every hour! In this case, how do I go about getting her on a schedule? I will be returning to work in another month!
Very normal for a young baby to eat this frequently and nothing wrong with it at all. Make sure she is awake and full after a feed, often babies get tired and sleep and then they are back at the breast after only one hour. If you do that, you have the best chance of having her go longer than one hour. Then, try to have her nap — let me know how it goes and good luck back at work!
I have read and heard people saying that milk may not get generated and flow soon after baby birth. For some women it takes long time too. So wanted to know how the hospital care help in such situation. As well please share your experiences and tips. Also first time will it hurt ? and also how to deal with colostrum
Thanks in advance!
I have many videos on these topics. It can take a few days for your milk to come in. My doctor’s advice was to keep the baby nursing at the breast every few hours for 20 minutes or so on each side. The colustrum came in small drops for me during the first few days, and it is very healthy and important for your baby. Yes, it hurt! It hurt for me with each of my five babies. But that pain went away within a few weeks. Check out my other videos on nursing in the early days. xo M