A newborn baby’s life schedule is filled with eating, sleep, pee/ poop, and repeat. It seems easy to follow but stressful for a new parent, especially about how to baby feed without worries. Babies cannot talk to let their parents know if they are hungry or not. So there are many questions pop out in the parent’s mind about how to determine the baby feeding time and schedule.
It is important to understand that all babies are different, so baby feeding time and schedule should be arranged according to their needs. But how can you find out your baby’s needs? If your baby is born prematurely, then it is best if you follow baby feeding schedule arranged by your pediatrician. If your baby is born healthy, then you can apply responsive feeding by signs.
Applying responsive feeding by signs is the best way on how to baby feed for the first month. You should be aware that most babies will cry if they are hungry, but babies cry not only because of hunger. So instead of feeding them right away, you can watch for other hunger signs they give. For example, hungry babies will lick their lips and stick their tongue often. It can be hard to tell the difference between each sign they give, but you will notice it better after several times passed.
Table of Contents
Baby Feeding Chart and Guide
We generally agree that it is difficult for us to know when is the right baby feeding time to eat. As babies get bigger and older, their need in food supply is also increase. they need more food supply beside milk. That is why we need to understand the general guidelines for baby feeding from newborn.
A general guide for baby feeding time you can follow is:
For newborns, baby feeding time to eat is every 2 to 3 hours. But as the size of their bellies is small, the amount of milk they can hold is only between 0.5 to 1 ounce for the first and second day. And that amount will increase to 1 to 3 ounces until the babies reach 2 weeks of age. Please keep in mind that you are not allowed to give any solid food to newborns.
- Up to 2 Months of Age
Next, after 2 weeks of age up to 2 months of age most babies can eat from 2 to 4 ounces of milk. You need to set baby feeding time every 2 to 4 hours, so the babies will not cry and suck all day. The same with the previous standard babies up to 2 months of age should not eat any solid food.
- Up to 4 Months of Age
After 2 months to 4 months of age, baby feeding time to eat at every 2 to 4 hours. The amount of milk they can hold is increasing again to 4 to 6 ounces per feeding. Again do not give any solid food to babies in this phase of age.
- Up to 6 Months of Age
As babies reach 6 months, they will go longer between feedings that are every 4 to 5 hours. The amount of milk they can drink has also increased to 8 ounces per feeding. This is why most babies around this age do not cry too much and are easier to feed. As the amount of milk they drink increases, many parents have already introduced solid foods in this phase. But, you do not have to if your baby still under 13 pounds and can not hold their head up yet.
- Up to 12 Months of Age
For babies between 6 months old to 12 months old, you do not have to increase the amount of milk they drink. Keep it at 8 ounces per feed and set baby feeding time for milk in every 5 hours. Of course, this baby feeding schedule likely will not be enough for most babies. That is why you should start giving food to them. Start by giving them soft foods like fruits and pureed vegetables. But do not stop the milk feeding. They still need it to grow up healthy.
Read also : 3 Stages for Baby Food
Baby Feeding Formula Tips
As we are talking about baby feeding time and schedule, we should talk about how you feed your baby formula milk. Formula-feeding babies are different from breastfeed. You need to prepare the milk beforehand, and sometimes you even need to clean the bottle first and make sure that everything are sterilized.
But do not panic! You just need several tips below to start formula-feeding your baby.
- Clean the bottle thoroughly
It is important to always make sure that the bottle used to feed your baby is clean. Always clean the bottle thoroughly before and after using it. This way, you can prevent many diseases that may happen to your baby because they are bottle-fed.
- Check the temperature first
Do not forget to check the temperature of the formula milk before feeding your baby. It is better if you serve the bottle at room temperature instead of warm temperature. This may help the baby get accustomed to unheated milk and will save you a lot of time for the next feeding sessions.
- Snuggle while formula-feeding
If a breastfed baby can have a love bond between mother and baby, formula-feeding can be easily customized to bring the same bonding session. Snuggle your baby, sing a song, and make eye-to-eye contact while bottle-fed them.
- Do not worry about the dark poop
The color and texture of formula-fed babies might be different from a breastfed baby. But you do not need to worry. As long as your baby can grow up healthy, formula milk is a great help and the condition of their poop is nothing to worry about.
Read also : Breastfeeding Tips for New Mom
Baby Feeding Amount
Most babies will not have difficulties eating as much as they can. But is it the right amount for their age? How do you know it? Especially if you are breastfeeding them, you can not measure how much they eat already.
From the baby feeding chart and guide before, you already know the right amount for babies based on their age. After all, if you are not sure whether your baby is already full or not, remember that it’s better to offer less than too much. If babies are overfed, they will experience stomach pain or vomit. And you better do not let this happen to them.
Stop feeding them before they are full. You can always give more later. Some babies just like to suck even though they are already full. In this case, you can offer pacifiers. They can keep sucking it instead of milk and end up overweight.
When do Babies Start to Eat Baby Food?
You must be excited when you start feeding baby food. But you should not give it before the baby has any sign that they are ready. Most babies give out the signs when they reach 6 months old. For information, some of the signs are that babies can hold their heads up, they reach for the food you are eating, and they already weigh more than 13 pounds.
If your baby already has those signs, it means you can start giving them food. You can make pureed baby food for a soft texture. You need to start with one food for 3 to 5 days. It is important to help you figure out if there is an allergic reaction caused by certain food.
How Long Does a Feed For at a Time?
Just like the amount of milk drink by most babies may differ, the feeding duration of each baby also differs by their age. On average, a newborn baby may feed for up to 20 minutes on each breast. And as they get older, their feeding duration can be faster to 5 or 10 minutes on each breast.
But you do not have to worry if your baby is nursing up to 45 minutes. It is still normal and is not a problem to worry about. As long as your baby is full and healthy, you can adjust their feeding duration to their need.
How Often Should I Feed the Baby?
Last but not least, back to the baby feeding time and schedule, you need to know how often you should feed your baby. If you are breastfeeding them, it is hard to figure out if your baby is full enough or not. That is why you need to make a schedule of how many times you need to nurse them.
Newborns should breastfeed at least 8 to 12 times per day. This applies for the first month because newborns are often hungry since their bellies are small, and breast milk is easy to digest. After the first month passes, it is enough to breastfeed them between 7 to 9 times per day.
Hopefully, all the information about baby feeding time and schedule above can ease some of your worries as new parents. And do not forget that babies are sensitive and easy to understand, so you will find signs about everything you want to know. Just keep your attention to them and do not hesitate to ask help from a pediatrician if there are any questions or concerns.