How then, you may well ask, am I going to get any kind of order into my life? This is why you should prepare for a siege well beforehand. You need to have as little else to worry about as possible while you and your baby get to know each other, develop a rapport, and get some sort of system going.
Before long you will see a pattern emerging, in which you find your baby sleeps for a reasonable length of time between certain feeds so that you can get things done.
If you are bottle feeding, your baby will be able to go longer between feeds before she feels hungry, because the curds formed by cows milk are larger and take longer to digest so she feels full for longer. Here you can use the four hourly schedule as a guide. If she wakes earlier and she is not starving, get everything ready, take her nappy off, expose her bottom to the air and have a little fun talking to her. Then as soon as she needs it, give her a feed.
If you are breast feeding and your baby wakes after three hours she is probably going to be yelling for food pretty soon. Breast milk is easily digested so her tummy will feel empty quicker than if she were bottle fed. So feed her as soon as she is ready; but if you have time, go through the same routine as described above for a bottle fed baby.
If your bottle fed baby is screaming and yelling after two hours and you remember she didnt take all of her previous feed, she may be hungry – so feed her. In the early weeks your breast fed baby may even want a feed after less than two hours. Give it. It will soon sort itself out into a more predictable pattern with longer intervals in between as your breasts produce more milk and your baby gets stronger and can suck more vigorously. Remember, breast feeding requires work on the part of the baby.
Even with demand feeding there are going to be times when you really dont know what your baby is trying to tell you. You feed her, she takes it, and then 20 minutes later, she is crying again. This is the kind of stress that gives mothers grey hairs before their time if not worse. There is proof that some babies are just more difficult to satisfy than others regardless of who takes care of them. If it is your first baby, then you are having a baptism of fire. If it is your third, at least you know it is not really your fault. See Crying in the first weeks, p. 62.
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