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Community Questions : Newborn Feeding Schedule

"Is there a guide you used which gave a brief overview of a newborn feeding schedule and how it should look? Some tips are much appreciated! I know every baby is different but would appreciate a brief guide. A guide on all things newborn feeding really! New mum here :)"

Absolutely! Every baby is different so you follow your own baby and their cues and do what works best for you both but we can share a feeding schedule that worked for us. As a new mum, one of the most important aspects of caring for your newborn is establishing a feeding schedule routine.

In this guide, we will walk you through a typical newborn feeding schedule routine that we used when our little ones were newborn.

1. Breastfeeding or Bottle-Feeding: Both feeding methods have their advantages, and the choice ultimately depends on what works best for you and your baby. Breastfeeding offers numerous benefits, including providing valuable antibodies and promoting bonding. If you do breastfeed, it's important to establish a breastfeeding routine, which usually involves feeding on demand especially in the earlier weeks. This means feeding your baby whenever they show signs of hunger, such as sucking on their hands, or making sucking noises. On the other hand, if you opt for bottle-feeding, you can follow a more structured feeding schedule, typically every 2-3 hours.

2. Newborn Feeding Cues: Understanding your baby's feeding cues is essential for ensuring they are fed when they're hungry. Some common feeding cues include lip smacking, sucking on hands or fingers, restlessness, and turning their head towards your breast or the bottle.

3. Frequency of Feeds: In the first few weeks, newborns typically need to be fed every 2-3 hours. This frequent feeding schedule is necessary because their stomachs are small, and breast milk or formula is easily digested. As your baby grows, their feeding intervals may gradually increase to every 3-4 hours. However, it's important to note that every baby is unique, and their feeding needs may vary. It's best to pay attention to your baby's cues and adjust their feeding schedule accordingly.

4. Nighttime Feeds: Newborns often need to be fed during the night as they feed every 2/3 hours. During the first few weeks, it's common for babies to wake up every 2-3 hours for feeds. To make nighttime feeds more manageable, consider creating a calm and comfortable environment where you will feed your baby. Dim the lights, keep the room temperature consistent, and minimise noise stimulation. It can also be helpful to have everything you need for nighttime feeds within easy reach, such as a bottle or breast pump, nappies, and muslins.

5. Burping: After each feed, it's important to burp your baby to prevent discomfort from trapped air. Gently hold your baby against your shoulder or sit them upright while supporting their head and neck. Gently pat or rub their back to stimulate burping. It's normal for babies to spit up a little during burping, so keep a muslin handy.

6. Signs of Fullness: Some signs that your baby is full include turning their head away from the breast or bottle, falling asleep, or releasing the nipple. It's important to respect these cues and not force your baby to continue feeding if they indicate they're full.

7. Growth Spurts: During the first few months, babies go through growth spurts, where they may seem hungrier and demand more frequent feeds. These growth spurts are a normal part of development and are essential for your baby's growth. During these periods, it's important to respond to your baby's increased hunger cues by feeding them more often and ensuring they receive adequate nutrition to support their growth.

8. Introducing Solid Foods: Around 6 months of age, your baby may be ready to start solid foods alongside breast milk or formula. Signs that your baby is ready for solid foods include sitting up with minimal support, showing interest in food, and being able to swallow with coordination. Begin by introducing small amounts of pureed fruits and vegetables, and gradually increase the variety and texture of foods as they grow.

Remember, this is just a general guide, and every baby is unique. It's essential to follow your baby's cues and adjust the feeding schedule to meet their individual needs. Don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or questions about your baby's feeding habits. With time and practice, you'll become attuned to your baby's needs and establish a feeding routine that works best for both of you. You've got this!

Establishing a feeding routine is an important part of caring for your baby and it will look different for every mum! Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, understanding your baby's cues, recognising signs of hunger and fullness, and creating a nurturing environment for feeding are key elements for success. Remember, be patient with yourself and your baby as you navigate this new chapter of motherhood. You're doing an amazing job, and with the support of the Carol App community, you'll have the resources and encouragement you need every step of the way.

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