Establishing an Infant
Feeding Schedule

An Infant Feeding Schedule will help you time and anticipate the bulk of your newborn baby's feeding sessions. This is important because if you plan your daily activities as well as your baby's sleeping schedule around his feeding sessions you are far more likely to satisfy his needs before he becomes cranky.

The Basics:

- Do not worry too much about a feeding schedule for your baby during his very first few days after being born. This is a good stage to feed on demand to make extra sure your baby gets all the nutrition he needs.

- As soon as your milk comes in it makes sense to see if you can establish (more or less) how long your baby streches from one feeding to the next naturally, without depriving or overfeeding.

- Many babies start forming a natural rhythm with feedings 2, 3 or 4 hours apart. Once you start seeing a pattern, you can begin to plan your baby's routine loosely around the feeding sessions. Do this by using the Infant Feeding Schedule and test to see how it goes.

- Try to document most of your baby related activities, like feedings, sleep and nappy changes. This will make it easier for you to identify his natural rhythms and tendencies and identify problems.

- As your baby gets older the time intervals between feedings may stretch a little as feeding amounts increase, but don't try to stretch the intervals too long.

- Most babies will start skipping one feeding (normally the late-evening session) after a few weeks. This occurs naturally and you shouldn't push it. Your baby will simply sleep through for longer than normal before demanding a feed again.

Clueless Mom's Tips:

- Always remember to be realistic about the Infant Feeding Schedule. Your baby acts instinctively and will definitely not follow the schedule because you want him to. Rather shape and change the schedule around your baby's natural patterns.

- During a growth spurt expect your baby to feed more often. It is very important that you are more flexible during these stages to ensure your baby gets the necessary nutrition as his energy usage will be very high then. Things will go back to normal after a day or three, only his feeding amounts will probably increase a bit from there to compensate for his increasing body mass.

- Some newborn babies have certain times of the day when they want to "cluster feed" smaller amounts at short time intervals. This is quite normal and you need to supply what your baby is asking for. However, sometimes a baby makes a habit out of cluster feeding all day long. This may interfere with his sleeping and also make life difficult for you. You may want to limit this type of feeding by increasing feeding quantities as much as possible and trying to stretch the intervals a little at a time.

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