The first few weeks after having a baby often feel like a bit of a blur, a muddle of feeding changing and sleeping. During this time, when your baby cries it is a good idea to presume hunger and to feed her. By doing this you achieve two things: your baby learns that when she cries, her needs are met, and by feeding frequently you are able to establish a good milk supply.
Once you have established your milk supply, you can look at spacing feeds a bit. Milk supply takes btw 6weeks and 3 months to establish.This routine is a basic suggestion of how you can make your day a bit easier for yourself. Try not to be too rigid and be aware that you will have to customize it to suit your baby. All babies are different and with a little tweek here and there you should find your own way with your baby.
The main reason this routine follows a sleep, feed, awake pattern is to avoid feeding a baby to sleep, which is handy to start with but gets to be a bit of a bind when your child is a year old and you are still the only one that can put her to sleep. During the first few weeks babies are quite hungry when they wake up and aren’t too willing to wait for a feed. Another reason is that it is easier to space feeds by using this order as babies sleep for the last part of the cycle and somehow manage to wait longer asleep than awake. If you feed a baby to sleep, you will probably have to feed again when she wakes up as well, which won’t give you much time to do anything other than feed, feed, feed.
7am-ish FEED offer 1 breast till had enough /comes off /starts fussing
Offer same breast again
If not interested, but you think she is still hungry offer other breast.
When she comes off feed is finished
Change nappy if dirty, if not wait and change later before she goes to sleep.
Until niggly, that means after having tried everything: lying here and there, and carrying around a bit.
8.30/9ish SLEEP i.e. Change nappy if you need to, swaddle if she likes to be wrapped up,
give a dummy if you use one,or a musical toy that suggests sleeptime.can take for a short walk
hold till calm and quiet and put into bed(a dark, quiet room will help)
If she fusses., try to settle in bed, change position, sit her up and wind her, and if calm lie her back down. If doesn’t settle try holding for a bit till calm, then back into bed. BE PATIENT AND PERSISTANT, babies love repetition
Remember the SNOOZE BUTTON if she wakes soon after she went to sleep, presume tiredness and press the snooze button. Ie dummy or pat back to sleep, if possible keep her in bed, change her position in case she’s uncomfortable. Soft crooning `’now its sleep time type noises” and out you go again. If she insists then its feed time again.
10-11ish FEED when she wakes up,
12/12.30ish BIG SLEEP (NB to be in her bed for at least one sleep, to let it be a proper sleep)
2-3pm FEED when she wakes up
Btw 4-5pm SHORT SLEEP (Not very important, can nap anywhere)
Evening: 2 options I can offer and I’m sure there are many more…
6pm BATH when starts to get niggly and FEED in dark and quiet place
AWAKE If she is happy to wait FEED just before bath and then again after bath. FEED in dark and quietInto BED round about 7pm-ish if that suits your lifestyle and your baby.
Most babies will wake up to feed once or twice during the night. Other things to consider if your baby is waking up often at night:
Too cold / too hot
Clothes wet if nappy has leaked
Uncomfortable (change position/ try winding)
Blocked nose if s/he has a cold (elevate head of bed with pillow under mattress, try Nasenol drops by Natura)
Expect to FEED if she wakes at around 10/11ish and change nappy if dirty
(some books recommend waking up a baby for this feed, personally, I think babies feed better when they wake up themselves because they are hungry.
If you wake her, she will more than likely have a half-asleepy, half-hearted feed and still wake up again hungry later so that means you still end up feeding in the night AND you are tired from waiting up late to feed)
And early morning FEED if she wakes up, don’t change unless dirty.
Regardless of when she fed during the night always start morning feed around the same time-ish, 7-7.30 seems like a civilized time for the day to start, see what works for you. Another helpful routine is to bath your baby in the morning after a feed and then feed again after bath and then let her have a sleep. Baths are amazingly exhausting. Again, the routine rythm is what babies like. This also can help to get a rythm for yourself as after bathing your baby you can then have a shower and get your own day started.
That way each day starts at the same time and you can keep a pattern going.
Try to keep feed times quiet times – that way feeds will be proper and longer and that means it will be easier to space feeds.
Be flexible, some days things WILL go pear-shaped, so what? That’s just one day, tomorrow will probably work just fine.
NB HONOUR THE GROWTH SPURTS!!!!, these come almost weekly for the first couple of months and in order to keep up a good milk supply you will have to allow more frequent feeding at these times, they should only last 24-48 hours but some , like week 3, can last up to a week. Honour this restocking up of milk and then after breasts are fuller, you can get back to “normal”
Some days won’t work too well, especially in the beginning. But babies DO love repetition– so keep repeating a pattern and she WILL fall into a routine
Try to keep a sense of humour about it all. When its tough remember this too will pass. It WILL get easier. The birth of a mother is more difficult than the birth of a child and it takes much longer.
EVENTUAL AIM: I repeat this is the EVENTUAL aim, not all babies will ever get to this bit just see what kind of babe you’ve got. Remember keep it flexible, if you get too rigid it just makes you tense and babies never respond well to tense parents.
FEEDS: 7am 11am 3pm 5/6pm (snack) 7pm 11pm (and maybe once during the early morning)
SLEEPS: 9-10/11pm 12-2/3pm 4-4.45/5pm
After a while, as your baby gets a bit older, the 11pm and early morning feed will merge into one feed and later still, that feed will be done away with. This takes time and all babies are different, so don’t rush your baby. Babies seem to co-operate more if we let the night feeds disappear at their pace rather than at ours.