Like any parent, you probably understand the importance of routine for your little bundle of joy. Babies need routine, it helps them learn and adapt to their environment. Baby schedules are a must. Whether it is with baby sleeping scheduled or baby feeding schedules, routine is key. Regularity in terms of feeding is also important. Establishing a baby feeding schedule can help ensure that your baby is getting the nutritional value they need to grow into a healthy toddler and child.
Establishing a Baby Feeding Schedule
In order to establish a baby feeding schedule, you will need to determine how you will be feeding your baby. Your baby schedule might differ if you are:
- Nursing your baby
- Feeding your baby formula
- Combination of the above
Tracy decided that she would be nursing Elias as we felt this would provide the best nutritional value for him. However many mothers go the route of formula as they believe that it is easier to establish a feeding and sleeping schedule. The choice is yours, either way, establishing a baby feeding schedule becomes increasingly important to help establish the routine that your baby needs.
Depending on the age of your baby, establishing a feeding schedule may be dictated by your little one more so than you as parents. This is natural. When baby is hungry, they will let you know. Trust us on that one.
Tips for Establishing a Baby Feeding Schedule
- Understand the feeding habits of your baby early on – pay attention to how often your baby desires to gain nourishment in their first few months, this can help with setting the frequency of your baby feeding schedule.
- Talk to Other Parents – a great source of reliable baby feeding information can come from your friends or family members who have children. While all babies are different, there may be similar habits that you can incorporate into your baby feeding schedule.
- Introduce new foods one at a time – as your baby gets older, you will want to introduce new foods. Work on introducing solids at around the five month mark. When introducing new foods, do so with at least three days in between. By doing this, you can test to make sure your baby’s not allergic It was once considered important to wait until age 1 or even age 3 before introducing highly allergenic foods like eggs, fish, and peanuts. Experts now believe that postponing these foods doesn’t prevent food allergies. Careful monitoring of the foods that you introduce to your baby will help identify any potential allergic reactions.
- Do not overfeed your baby – yes it is possible to overfeed your baby. Once your baby is on solid foods, you will notice that if you overfeed with formula or breast milk, they will not eat as much solid food. The reason? They may be too full from all of the formula and breast milk. Depending on the age of your baby they require differing amounts of formula or breast milk. What we have researched is that normal weight gain for a 0-4 month old is about 5-7oz a week, for a 4-6 month old is 4-5 oz a week, and for a 6-12 month old is 2-4 oz a week. Again all babies are different, but this appears to be a good guideline.
- Create a Baby Feeding Schedule based on the seven day week – babies have no concept of time, so in order to establish routine, their feeding schedule should be consistent every day, that is at least until you are able to introduce additional foods with regular occurrence.
- Base your Feeding Schedule on a 24-hour clock – again babies have no sense of time and may require nourishment at any hour. Establishing a feeding schedule can help you “control” when and how much baby eats.
- Control the frequency of a given food – when establishing a feeding schedule work to ensure that baby is not necessarily eating the same thing day in and day out. Of course there will be staples such as formula or breast milk, but providing the same food over and over is too boring even for a baby. Not to mention they may develop a dislike to the food when they are older although this can be difficult to trace back. Be creative with your feeding schedule.
Establishing a baby feeding schedule will help ensure that your baby is eating regularly and still make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need.