Feeding a new baby can be a frustrating and confusing time so I thought I’d put down the breastfeeding routine we followed for the first 6 months of our little one’s life. Please note that this is a guide only as your baby may sleep/feed/play for longer or shorter periods.
As bub gets older there will be less feeding time (they will drain your breast faster) and more awake time so this will need to be adjusted according to your baby’s stage.
The most important thing we found was keeping to the exact routine, that way bub gets to know the drill pretty quickly. If you are changing from some other breastfeeding scenario then expect a bit of resistance to start with as baby might be a little confused but don’t worry they will adjust.
The times used here are only a guide as the routine starts whenever bub wakes up. If you are confident and definite about your actions then baby will sense this. The reverse is also true so even if you are not sure then pretend that you are!
7.00am – Wake up, change nappy and then offer left breast until empty.
7.20am – Offer right breast and feed until baby is done.
7.40am – Put baby on shoulder and pat back lightly to ‘burp’.
7.45am – Playtime with eye contact and talking.
7.55am – 5 minutes of ‘tummy time’ is good for babies muscle development
8.00am – Another Nappy change, cuddle and back to bed for sleep until 10am.
For the sake of this exercise we will presume that bub sleeps for 2 hours in the 3 hour routine.
Even though most medical practitioners will tell you that breastfed babies don’t need burping we found this not to be the case. A tell-tale sign is unstoppable crying with a slight bluish tinged upper lip and jittery movements in the limbs.
If your bub won’t settle check for wind, temperature, comfort levels, soiled nappies or even sickness before putting them back to bed. If all of these things are OK and they still won’t settle then it’s usually a case of them wanting attention or being overtired.
We would not pick up our bub during this time – rather we would go to her cot and place a soothing hand on her for a couple of minutes and reassure her softly to let her know that we are close at hand before leaving quietly. If she continued to cry we would wait a couple of minutes and do the same thing again and again until she settled.
Remember that it takes all of your infant’s strength just to draw the milk out of your breast so if they have had a good feed then they should be exhausted pretty quickly and ready to sleep.
10.00am – Wake up, change nappy and then offer right reast until empty.
10.20am – Offer left breast and feed until baby is done.
10.40am – Put baby on shoulder and pat back lightly to ‘burp’.
10.45am – Playtime with eye contact and talking.
10.55am – 5 minutes of ‘tummy time’ is good for babies muscle development.
11.00am – Another Nappy change, cuddle and back to bed for sleep until 1pm.
…and on it goes every 3 or 4 hours.
We always let our bub sleep until she was ready rather than waking her upon the 2 hour mark to feed. Subsequently when she did sleep for longer she was even hungrier when she woke which makes for a better feed.
You can be flexible about the start time of the routine but not the actual routine. The only thing that should change is the amount of time baby sleeps. Everything else should remain the same.
It’s also a good idea to rotate which breast you offer first during each feed as they may not drain the entire second breast so that one should be offered first for the next feed. If you are having trouble remembering then tie a ribbon or pin a safety pin to the corresponding bra strap.
This breastfeeding routine worked excellently for us and after a week or two everyone knew what to expect which made for some relatively smooth sailing. Most importantly we could be confident that our little one was getting enough to eat and at the end of the day that is what it is all about.
Now let’s check that nappy…