For most people, before the baby arrived, life was easy to schedule. You knew exactly how things would work and when they would fit into your schedule. Your screaming newborn probably changed all of that. You can predict your baby’s rhythms, eventually. However, it can be very difficult to figure out what they are within the first few weeks of life. Babies are individuals. Due to their differences, they nurse of different schedules. Some babies will nurse every hour. Others will nurse as little as every four hours. Your life with your baby will be quite unpredictable.
Many friends or relatives might try to convince you that scheduling your baby’s needs will be best for both you and your baby. This, however, is simply not the case. Putting your baby on a schedule will only please you, not your baby. Restricting feeding and nap times because of a scheduling conflict is not a good idea. Your baby has needs that must be met immediately, not when they fit into your schedule. You must build your life around the schedule your baby sets, not the schedule you want them to follow for your convenience.
Human milk is digested very easily and very quickly. This is part of the reason it is so good for you baby. Most babies will digest their feeding within ninety minutes. Once the baby’s stomach is empty, you need to fill it again. Many mothers try to watch the clock to determine the next feeding. However, you should watch your new baby for signs of hunger instead of deciding what time they should next eat. Signs of hunger include rooting, sucking on fingers, chewing on finger, or crying. If your baby has reached the point of crying, they have been hungry for fifteen to thirty minutes.
You should plan to nurse your newborn at least every two hours for the first two months of life. It is appropriate to go three hours between feedings during nighttime hours. This means you should nurse your baby at least eight times during any given twenty-four hour period. There are a few reasons that you must feed your baby frequently. First, your newborn must have enough nourishment and hydration. Frequent feedings ensure they get all the food they require to meet these two crucial needs. Second, you must develop your breast milk. Frequent feedings can help your breasts develop the pattern they need to stimulate a good supply of milk that your baby can have whenever he wants it.
During the first few weeks of life, don’t be surprised if you find yourself nursing ten to twelve times each day. Your baby’s stomach is only the size of your fist, and he can only handle so much milk at any one time. As your baby’s stomach gets older, you will nurse less frequently. Scheduling your baby’s feeding can prevent them from getting the milk they need to grow and develop. Breastfeed your baby according to his schedule and work it around your own schedule.