The Importance of Feeding Routines

I've looked after many babies over the years and I can categorically say that the best way to care for a new baby is to feed on a routine.

I am often called out to help mums who have spent several weeks feeding on demand and are finding it impossible to cope with a grizzly baby who snacks all day and never sleeps for any length of time. These mums are at their wits' end and utterly exhausted. And have no confidence. It only usually takes a few days for things to change - for the better.

"Before Jo arrived our baby was feeding on demand, she was very sleepy and difficult to feed. She was starting to lose weight and hardly slept, and seemed to always be crying. We were so worried and were told she would have to go into hospital if she didn't start gaining weight. Jo came to see us with her smiley face and explained how we needed to put Ava on a routine and to wake her for her feeds. Within 24 hours she had doubled the amount she was taking, sleeping well and 5 days later had gained 8oz. We are so grateful, we all call Jo our angel, she has changed our lives!" Helen and Doug - Nottingham

A baby that feeds on demand learns to snack on and off. He will never have the feeling of being full and ready for a proper feed. Snacking becomes a habit and you prevent your baby from learning to build up an appetite. With demand feeding you are relying on your baby to wake up and tell you when they need to feed. Most babies in the first two weeks are very sleepy, so what happens if you have a very sleepy baby? If you are breastfeeding it means that your body won't be producing the milk your baby needs later on when they wake up more. It also means that your more likely to get engorged or mastitis as your breasts aren't being emptied at regular intervals. It also means that you don't listen to your baby for hunger or tired signals, so your baby tries to communicate with you that he's tired and you mistake this for a hunger cry and put him on the breast. Your baby then feeds to sleep and learns that's how he sleeps.

  • Always wake your baby 15 minutes before a daytime feed. This way she will be wide awake and have a full feed.
  • Wake your baby at 11pm for a dream feed, so that your baby has her long sleep when you do.
  • Don't change their nappy after 11pm (unless it's dirty) as it will wake them even more. Instead of snacking all day a routine-fed baby builds an appetite for regular feeds and after eating his tummy is full and he feels satisfied. He begins to nap better during the day, sleep better at night and is less tired and cranky. A feeding routine also brings you knowledge, helping you to understand your baby better. I've noticed time and time again that mums with routine-fed babies are always the most confident and calmest mothers around.

If you have been told to feed your baby when she cries then you miss her sleep cues as well as other things, like a dirty nappy. Your baby is crying to let you know something. If you were tired and wanted to sleep then someone gave you a sandwich, wouldn't you be cross!! Learn to listen to your baby and understand her.

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I've noticed time and time again that mother with routine-fed babies are always the most confident and calmest mothers around... My routines follow all babies' natural feeding patterns - whether breast or bottle fed. I suggest doing a 48 hour log of YOUR baby's feeding and sleeping times so you can personalise a routine for them, as all babies are different.

There are seven easy-to-follow feeding routines set out in my book that are suitable for babies from birth (including underweight babies) to six months.

(Feeding routine number 3 from 'Baby Secrets' by Jo Tantum).

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  The Importance of Feeding Routines

I've looked after many babies over the years and I can categorically say that the best way to care for a new baby is to feed on a routine.

I am often called out to help mums who have spent several weeks feeding on demand and are finding it impossible to cope with a grizzly baby who snacks all day and never sleeps for any length of time. These mums are at their wits' end and utterly exhausted. And have no confidence. It only usually takes a few days for things to change - for the better.

"Before Jo arrived our baby was feeding on demand, she was very sleepy and difficult to feed. She was starting to lose weight and hardly slept, and seemed to always be crying. We were so worried and were told she would have to go into hospital if she didn't start gaining weight. Jo came to see us with her smiley face and explained how we needed to put Ava on a routine and to wake her for her feeds. Within 24 hours she had doubled the amount she was taking, sleeping well and 5 days later had gained 8oz. We are so grateful, we all call Jo our angel, she has changed our lives!" Helen and Doug - Nottingham

A baby that feeds on demand learns to snack on and off. He will never have the feeling of being full and ready for a proper feed. Snacking becomes a habit and you prevent your baby from learning to build up an appetite. With demand feeding you are relying on your baby to wake up and tell you when they need to feed. Most babies in the first two weeks are very sleepy, so what happens if you have a very sleepy baby? If you are breastfeeding it means that your body won't be producing the milk your baby needs later on when they wake up more. It also means that your more likely to get engorged or mastitis as your breasts aren't being emptied at regular intervals. It also means that you don't listen to your baby for hunger or tired signals, so your baby tries to communicate with you that he's tired and you mistake this for a hunger cry and put him on the breast. Your baby then feeds to sleep and learns that's how he sleeps.

  • Always wake your baby 15 minutes before a daytime feed. This way she will be wide awake and have a full feed.
  • Wake your baby at 11pm for a dream feed, so that your baby has her long sleep when you do.
  • Don't change their nappy after 11pm (unless it's dirty) as it will wake them even more. Instead of snacking all day a routine-fed baby builds an appetite for regular feeds and after eating his tummy is full and he feels satisfied. He begins to nap better during the day, sleep better at night and is less tired and cranky. A feeding routine also brings you knowledge, helping you to understand your baby better. I've noticed time and time again that mums with routine-fed babies are always the most confident and calmest mothers around.

If you have been told to feed your baby when she cries then you miss her sleep cues as well as other things, like a dirty nappy. Your baby is crying to let you know something. If you were tired and wanted to sleep then someone gave you a sandwich, wouldn't you be cross!! Learn to listen to your baby and understand her.

Baby Secrets Book Buy Now

I've noticed time and time again that mother with routine-fed babies are always the most confident and calmest mothers around... My routines follow all babies' natural feeding patterns - whether breast or bottle fed. I suggest doing a 48 hour log of YOUR baby's feeding and sleeping times so you can personalise a routine for them, as all babies are different.

There are seven easy-to-follow feeding routines set out in my book that are suitable for babies from birth (including underweight babies) to six months.

(Feeding routine number 3 from 'Baby Secrets' by Jo Tantum).

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