Newborn Eat, Play & Sleep cycle
During the first 0- 3 months of life, your newborn’s sleep patterns will be short bursts,
anywhere from 30 or 45 minutes but can range up to 3- 4 hours, waking mostly to eat. Newborn’s don’t follow a typical day/night sleep schedule, their circadian rhythm has not yet developed and will not do so until around 3-4 months.
Some newborns come out of the womb having their days and nights completely mixed up. This is called "day/night confusion", and babies who struggle with it tend to sleep a lot during the day and then wake up frequently at night.
Typically at this age we consider them on-demand feeders unless you are bottle feeding or following a specific Doctor ordered regimen/parenting style. Your baby will grow a lot in these first 6 months and you will notice days that they nurse what feels like all the time, and other days not so much.
Many parents discover that their newborns are extra sleepy in the first week or two after birth and you may find that you have to wake them to feed, or that they drift off during a feeding. I have provided a guideline to go by; but for more information on nursing and complications, make sure to contact your Doctor or lactation consultant.
As for how much formula your baby needs – Take your baby’s weight and multiply it by 2.5. For example an 8lb baby would need about 20 ounces of formula in a 24-hour period.
As for breastmilk – a general rule, most newborns need between 20 and 30 ounces of breastmilk (and between 25-35 ounces once they’re past the newborn stage). If you have a "normal" flow you would get this if your child nurses 15 minutes each side. If your flow is heavy or lite make sure to adjust accordingly. If you are unsure you can always time it while you pump into a bottle.
In general, if you are exclusively nursing it’s best to nurse on demand in the first few weeks after birth, this will ensure that your milk supply becomes well-established. In order to maintain your supply, you’ll need to nurse every 2-3 hours, on average.
Suggested Newborn Breastfed Schedule
Waketime: 45-60 minutes
9:00 AM – Wake and Feed*
10:00 AM – Nap (30-60 minutes)
11:00 AM – Wake and Feed
12:30 PM – Nap (30-60 minutes)
1:30 PM – Wake and Feed
3:30 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
4:30 PM – Wake and Feed
6:00 PM – Nap (30 – 60 minutes)
6:30 PM – Wake and Feed
7:30 PM – Catnap (20 – 30 minutes)
8:00 PM – Wake and Feed
9:30 PM – Catnap (20 – 30 minutes)
10:00 PM – Wake and Feed
11:30 PM – Feed and Bedtime*
3:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep
6:30 AM – Feed and Right back to sleep
* Remember this is just a suggested schedule that can be adjusted to fit your childs/families needs. This schedule is also different if formula feeding or dealing with things such as acid reflux.