There's no denying that having a baby changes your life; babies bring lots of joy to a family, but let's face it: they can also wreak havoc with your work efficiency. Creating a feeding schedule for your baby can help keep your baby healthy and happy, and it can help you keep on schedule with your work duties.
Months 1 to 3: Take it Easy
It's best not to try to establish a schedule for a baby's first three months. Babies are making so many adjustments during these months, and their digestive systems are still so immature, that trying to stick to a feeding schedule will probably prove frustrating to you both. Newborns usually eat every two to three hours, and by the end of three months, most babies can go three hours between feedings. Breastfed babies usually eat more frequently than bottle-fed babies.
Months 4 to 6: Begin to Schedule
Babies at this age are maturing enough to go longer periods of time between feedings. Most 4-6 month-olds eat around 6 times a day, which averages 4 hours between feedings. By now, however, most babies can go for longer stretches during the night and many may sleep through the night, so be sure to schedule a before-bed feeding and an early morning feeding when your baby wakes up. Try to set some regular times during the day when you feed your baby: perhaps 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and final feeding at 11 p.m.
These times should be adjusted according to your schedule needs. As you begin to implement a regular schedule, you will see how the schedule opens up blocks of time when you can get work done. Being able to see your "work windows" will help your work efficiency.
Months 6 to 9: Solids come into Play
As babies reach the half-year mark, most are ready for solid foods. One advantage of this is that solids tend to fill babies up more and stick with them longer than their previous all-liquid diet. Therefore, most babies of this age eat less frequently, and that means more work time for you.
Babies 6-9 months eat 4-6 times per day on average. You can decide which solid foods you would like to introduce; usually cereals are introduced first, followed by vegetables and fruits. You will want to introduce one food at a time and wait for a few days to check for any allergic reactions.
Months 9 to 12: Almost a Toddler
At this age, your baby is almost a toddler. Babies this age generally eat 4 times a day, which is pretty similar to other family members. Your baby can join the family, eating at the table with the others and sampling table foods that are safe to eat and fairly bland in taste. Continue to block in work times and rest times between your baby's feeding times - by now, you're a pro at this!
It's not easy working while having a baby in the house, but as you introduce a feeding schedule, you'll become more and more efficient at meshing your work needs and your baby's needs as well.
Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana. She writes at girlsinwhitedresses.wordpress.com and Associated Content.