Resources for Parents

When should I feed my baby?

Feeding is one of your baby's most pleasant experiences. At feeding time, the baby should feel secure and stable. It is important that you be comfortable and relaxed as you feed the baby. If the baby is sleeping at feeding time, try to undress the baby, tickle his feet/back, or apply a cool cloth to his face. Babies very commonly have bowel movements while feeding. Be prepared. Always hold the baby securely and comfortably close, and support the head. Feeding time is for the baby—don't try to watch TV, talk on the phone or read a magazine while feeding the baby.

You can feed the baby "on demand" (whenever he cries and acts hungry) or by schedule (every three to four hours for formula fed babies and every two to three hours for breastfed babies). On demand is more natural, but a schedule is easier for planning daily activities and visitors. If the baby does not eat as much at one feeding, try to wait until the next feeding time instead of feeding another smaller amount sooner. Most babies settle into a routine very easily.

Always wake the baby on schedule for feedings during the day. Plan your feeding so that the baby eats around 7:00 pm and 10:00 to 10:30 pm. Try to keep the baby awake during these two feedings, and after the night feeding, put the baby down to sleep. Don't wake him in three to four hours. See how long he sleeps. The average age for a baby to sleep through the night is two months. Waking and feeding the baby regularly during the day will help him sleep longer at night. Early use of cereal does not make the baby sleep through the night any earlier.