Whether it’s your first or seventh baby, bringing home a new baby can be stressful. Figuring out a sleeping and feeding routine are two of the most challenging parts of newborn life.
This blog will explore newborn feeding schedule options. I say options because not every feeding schedule works for each baby! If your baby is breastfeeding they will likely have a different rhythm than a formula-fed baby.
Is formula okay to give my baby?
Formula is more than okay to give your baby! It’s a great choice. There can be mom guilt surrounding formula feeding, but here at Ingy Bingy Baby, we believe that fed is best! I’ve breastfed 2 babies for over a year and formula fed 1 for his entire first year! Each decision was made based on what was best for my baby and me. I hope you listen to your body and baby when you decide which type of feeding is best!
Newborn Feeding Schedule with a Formula-Fed Baby
Formula takes longer for your baby’s body to digest so they will likely stay fuller longer. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, formula-fed babies typically eat every 3-4 hours.
The first few days they will most likely only be eating 1-2 ounces at a time so they will need to eat more frequently. Their bellies are tiny, but as they grow they will be able to drink more in one sitting and your feedings will space out!
We fed on demand for the first 6 weeks with our son who was formula fed. After that we stretched him to 3 hours in between feeds and by 8 weeks he followed a 4 hour feeding schedule. We used a model found in the book 12 Hours Sleep in 12 Weeks.
Newborn Feeding Schedule with a Breastfed Baby
Breastmilk goes through babies quicker so they typically eat more frequently than formula-fed babies. According to the CDC, they will usually eat every 1-3 hours.
Since you don’t know how much milk your baby is drinking during a feeding it can be harder to implement a schedule. As they grow your baby should be able to go 2-4 hours between feedings.
I found breastfeeding whenever my babies were showing hunger cues (also called feeding on demand) worked best for my breastfed babies. It was easier to not have a feeding schedule since the milk was readily available for them when I was present. Preparing a bottle takes more time so a schedule worked best for our other son! Always remember, there is no right or wrong way to feed your baby! Let your baby lead and do what feels right for you both.
Ultimately, if your baby is hungry, you should feed them, but if you’d like to try to stretch their feedings a little bit longer here are some tips!
Tips for Stretching out Feedings
- Pacifier: A newborn pacifier will give your baby that comforting sucking motion that is similar to feeding.
The frustrating part about infant pacifiers is that the pacifier keeps falling out. Most people usually use a pacifier clip to help with this problem. The Ingy Bing Band is a safer newborn pacifier accessory that allows your baby to access their newborn pacifier at all times. This pacifier bracelet velcros to your baby’s wrist so they can self-soothe from as early as 4 months! The Ingy Bingy Band is a pacifier wristband that will help space out those newborn feedings!
- Toys: Bright colors and loud noises are very entertaining for babies. Rattles, mirrors, or toys with unique textures might help take your baby’s mind off of eating!
- Motion: Babies love movement! Try taking your baby for a walk or car ride to get your baby to wait a little bit longer to eat! You can even turn on some music and dance around the living room to stretch the time in between feedings by even just a few minutes.