Baby feeding routine tips

About baby feeding routines

When implementing sleep and feeding routines for your baby, it’s important to be flexible and responsive to their needs.

In the early days of life with a newborn baby, establishing a routine might seem very challenging, as your baby’s sleeping and feeding patterns are unpredictable. Rest assured that this is normal and things get easier as time goes on. A routine for a newborn baby can be as simple as offering a feed soon after your baby wakes, changing their nappy after a feed, then cuddling and settling them back to sleep.

As days turn into weeks, your baby will become more alert and you will begin to learn their cues. Around this time, you will start to notice a more predictable pattern of sleeping and feeding. Learning and understanding your baby’s cues helps you identify what your baby needs and how you can help keep them settled and content throughout the day and night.

Planning a feeding routine for a baby with colic

Symptoms of colic in babies can make it difficult to understand what your baby needs at certain times. Figuring out whether your baby is very unsettled due to hunger, over stimulation, discomfort or pain is a challenge many parents face. Babies who are experiencing pain or discomfort from colic may want to feed very frequently, as feeding offers them comfort. This can contribute to the challenge of establishing a routine while being responsive to your baby’s needs.

Many parents find that their baby’s colic symptoms are worse at night. Preparing for this time of day and following a routine can help you and your baby through this difficult stage.

Setting a consistent nighttime routine can also help you to feel less anxious about your baby’s colic.

A simple nighttime routine for a baby with colic could include:

  • Breast or bottle feeding your baby, ensuring you are offering breaks for your baby to burp throughout the feed
  • Giving your baby a warm bath followed by a gentle tummy massage
  • Dressing your baby and swaddling them in a natural fibre swaddle appropriate for the season.

If your baby remains unsettled after being fed, bathed, massaged, dressed and swaddled:

  • Try holding you baby in an upright position in your arms
  • Sway, rock, or walk with your baby, movement often helps to calm an unsettled baby
  • Gently talk or sing to your baby, or play soothing music or white noise

Implementing this routine at a similar time each night helps your baby to feel secure and calm.

Some parents find keeping a ‘colic diary’ helpful. Keeping a record of your baby’s colic symptoms, sleep and feeding patterns can help you identify the cause of your baby’s behaviour. This helps you to best support them and be prepared for times they are more likely to be unsettled.

For more information on colic in babies, you can reach out to us or refer to the Royal Children’s Hospital Information on Crying and Unsettled Babies.

Post written by Emily Brittingham – Lactation Consultant at Willby’s

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