How to Create a Newborn Feeding Schedule

By Jaimie Zinski
BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Bringing a newborn into the home not only means sleepless nights and piles of dirty diapers, it means determining why your baby is fussy and crying. Hunger is a likely culprit for your newborn's fussy mood, and, according to Mayo Clinic, an infant this young will generally eat between eight and 12 times per day. No matter if you're choosing to breastfeed or bottle feed, establishing a feeding schedule helps you stay on track and keep your newborn healthy and happy.

Step 1

Prepare bottles or make yourself available if you've chosen to breastfeed. Prepare enough bottles to get your child through the day. According to KidsHealth, formula bottles will remain viable in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If you're breastfeeding away from home, plot out potential spots where you can feed your baby, such as the mall bathroom. If you can't breastfeed, pump before leaving the house and prepare a bottle.

Step 2

Watch for signs your newborn is hungry. According to KidsHealth, these include sucking on his hand or fingers, moving his head from side to side, sticking his tongue out and making a sucking face, like he's feeding on your breast or the bottle.

Step 3

Feed your newborn at the first sign of hunger. If bottle feeding -- either breast milk or formula -- remove the bottle from the refrigerator and warm it under a hot tap or in an electric bottle warmer. KidsHealth cautions parents against warming the bottle in the microwave, as this unevenly heats the formula or breast milk, which could burn your newborn's mouth.

Step 4

Write down the time you fed the baby on a dry erase board or sheet of paper that is hung up in the baby's room or on the refrigerator. Write the date and what time you fed the baby. Based on this, you can determine approximately when your baby will be ready to eat again.

Step 5

Feed your newborn based upon a schedule of every 2 to 3 hours, or when he begins showing the signs of hunger. Continue to plot the time when your baby is hungry and fed to determine the amount of time he typically stays satisfied between bottles. This helps you schedule your time away from baby or away from the home with baby to avoid being apart or out when it's time for a feeding.