Inside you’ll find all you need to know to put into a newborn feeding chart and then have a printable one for yourself!
I gave birth to my firstborn in a hospital in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
To a midwife whom I’d never met.
It all happened so fast and no one thought I was actually near 10cm because they hadn’t checked dilation since I wasn’t in much pain. Must not be close, they assumed. But really I’m a redhead and my pain signals are all jacked up so then it was go time before we knew it.
“But I don’t even have the paperwork ready…” she said in a sort of sweet and confused voice.
“IT’LL WAIT!” I yelled.
Fast forward a few days and I was ready to start tracking my baby’s feeds. I couldn’t remember which side she had fed from or if she was feeding enough and I felt stressed. I wanted to write it down and keep it in her nursery. I used a pen and a little notepad and over the next few weeks kept diligent track to make sure things seemed okay.
Newborn Feeding Tips (& A Newborn Feeding Chart)
(Psst… you can scroll down and get your free downloadable newborn feeding chart).
Here are some basic rules of thumb when it comes to feeding newborns. Talk to your pediatrician or nursing consultant if you have any issues, but for most babies these principles will help you have a calm, contented baby.
Give Full Feeds
Newborns are sleepy. They want to feed a bit then nod off. This is not a good idea for a few reasons.
- They do not get the breast milk most rich in fat and calories (the hind milk) because if they nurse for a short period they’re only getting the fore milk (less density which means less filling).
- They will not go into a deep sleep (which takes around 20 minutes) and then when they transition through sleep cycles (around 45 minutes or so after they’ve gone to sleep) they’ll wake up out of hunger.
- You will be feeding baby every hour all day long.
Feed Unswaddled By Day And Swaddled By Night
We want our babies to know the difference between night and day so they’ll have their wake times in the day and sleepy time at night. This means that we create certain associations with being awake and other associations with sleep. One of those is the swaddle. You should swaddle from Day One because this will decrease the likelihood your baby “fights the swaddle.”
I had 5 babies and none fought the swaddle because we did it from Day One and there simply wasn’t an option.
Babies who are not swaddled will wake frequently or nap lighter since the startle reflex (moro reflex) will cause their arms to rise up and “startle.” If they aren’t in a deep sleep cycle this might be enough to wake them. During the day unswaddle them to feed so you’re communicating wake time. At night, unswaddle the bottom of their swaddle (the swaddles perfect for this shown below) to change their diaper, then reswaddle them and feed swaddled. This means baby will essentially sleep through the feed. Voila!
Bring Baby To You, Don’t Lean Towards Baby
Those midwives in Scotland had it going on. Not only did they give you all the logistics while you were in the hospital, they visited you for a few weeks AT HOME during the postpartum period. You could ask them absolutely anything about anything and they helped make it all work. One thing they gave me in my welcome packet was a DVD on how to get baby to latch properly. With 5 babies I have had 0 issues with latching on and I’m telling you this works.
Instead of leaning down onto baby, position the breast and the baby’s head so that you push the baby onto your breast. This means your bringing baby where the milk is, not trying to bring the milk down to baby. This will make for a better latch.
Sample Newborn Schedule
Newborns have tiny tummies. You’ll be feeding baby around the clock for weeks at a time. However, by giving full feeds and keeping baby awake during feeds (which can be a feat) you’ll be able to increase the time between feeds providing baby with more restorative naps. Initially you want to aim for feeding baby every 2.5 to 3 hours. So you may feed at 6 am, 8:30 am, 11:00 am, then 2:00 p.m.
The only reasons baby should feed less than 2.5 hours apart are these:
- They are not feeding enough at each feed (not getting calorie rich hind milk or enough ounces of formula)
- They are going through a growth spurt.
Newborn Feeding Chart That Works Like A Charm
I’ve created a newborn feeding chart below where you can record what times your baby is feeding and use that to find a good rhythm for you and your baby.
I’ve created a free email series just for you! If you struggle with creating an easy flowing routine or rhythm in your home… this is it. I’ve gathered all my easiest routine hacks into one free series and, best of all, you can get a big sneak peak into our book that has over 25+ routines for babies ages 6 weeks to 5 years. This series will help you:
- find a routine and rhythm for your child
- learn how to juggle multiple routines (for 2 or 3+ kids)
- know what is and isn’t working so you can make one tweak that’ll change your day
Click here to sign up for my free email series or simply click on the image below.
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