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How to Establish a Breastfeeding Schedule

Learn how to establish a breastfeeding schedule from lactation consultant Melissa K. Nagin in this Howcast video.


In the very beginning, with a newborn, there is no schedule. Usually we're just asking that the baby is fed every two to three hours from the beginning of a feed. That's as much of a schedule as you're going to get.

It's hard to say because there are going to be growth spurts at weeks two, three, and six, and then three months and six months, what's going to be happening in between. You might think you're cruising along, you've got this really good pattern going, and all of a sudden a growth spurt comes up and it shifts everything in a different way.

After a couple of months, you're going to find that your baby is starting to fall into their own pattern and their own schedule. And it still will probably remain that they're still being fed every three hours during the day because after all, we're supposed to be eating every three hours during the day as adults.

So yes, they will still do that, but what you will probably find is that their nights start pushing back. So if they were once staying up until midnight and we're putting them into bed then, all of a sudden they're not able to do that anymore, and we start pushing that back to eleven, and then ten, nine, eight, seven. Eventually they do go twelve hours. I promise you they do sleep twelve hours.

It's very hard to schedule a baby. Their brains are not wired for this in the very beginning. After a couple of months once you start seeing that pattern emerging, you go with that. If eventually you're going back to work and you need closer to the time where we're starting to really feed solids, you might find more of a schedule happening then because then they have a solid breakfast, lunch, dinner. They have snacks in between. It really, really depends.

Until then, we sort of just have to go with the every two to three hours. It might be a little more frequent on some days. It might be a little bit later. That's okay. We want to adhere to around that three hour mark as best we can.

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