It's safe to say that your newborn's feeding and sleeping schedule will look nothing like your own for a while. This is obviously frustrating (and tiring) for new parents, but don't despair. There are ways to carve out daily routines; it just takes a little work and a lot of patience. It also means figuring out the best breastfeeding schedule for a newborn? As it turns out, it's not the time you feed your baby, but the amount you feed them that matters most.
Feeding a newborn in those first couple of weeks can be so confusing. First, unless you're pumping into a bottle, you can't really measure the amount of breast milk coming from your boobs. Second, infants often feed constantly and sometimes every 30 minutes. This may seem like a lot, but it's very normal. According to Web MD, breast milk is easy to digest, therefore most breastfed babies feed usually between eight to 12 times a day. That means your baby feeds roughly every one-and-a-half hours to two hours.
For those looking for a more concrete newborn feeding and sleep schedule with set times, the Baby Sleep Site has an easy guide to follow. It starts when the baby is 2 weeks old and ends at the 8 week mark. It starts with the baby waking and feeding at 9 a.m. napping at 10 a.m. for an hour, and repeating the waking and feeding routine until 9:30 p.m. Throughout the night you feed as needed, and put the baby right back to bed. Obviously, your lifestyle and schedule may differ from this, but it's suggested that you make these wake-feed moments a fixed point in your schedule however you see fit.
It's important to note that just because you try to implement a baby feed schedule doesn't mean your baby will adhere to it. Babies who suffer from reflux, were born prematurely, or that had a low birth weight will feed for shorter durations and more often, according to the Baby Center. Additionally, if you are traveling, or there's a time change, you can expect some disruptions.
Besides using parent-led feeding schedules, you could try no schedule and simply follow your babies hunger or have a combination of both. No matter what technique you follow, experts agree that it's best not to get to the point where the baby is crying. A little crying is OK for a baby, but distressing cries are late indicators of hunger, as explained by Kelly Mom. That's why trying to feed your baby every two hours during the day, even if you have to wake them, is recommended.
Although many new moms probably wish there was a magic feeding schedule for their babies, there isn't. Every baby and lifestyle is so different. But rest assured, as long as your baby is ingesting the recommended amount of breast milk, is wetting and soiling diapers, and gaining weight you're probably doing everything right. And as always, if you have concerns consult with your doctor.