By this point, your five-week-old baby's feeding schedule should feel somewhat routine, which can actually be liberating! With some confidence around when your baby will be ready to eat, you can also plan for outings—both with and without your baby. If going back to work is on the radar, now is a good time to start organizing the feeding essentials so you can make the transition as smooth as possible.
How much should a five-week-old baby eat?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and La Leche League recommend the following feeding schedules and amounts for 5-week-olds.
Breast milk: 2 to 3 ounces every 2 to 3 hours
Formula: 4 to 5 ounces every 4 hours
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends that parents should follow the responsive feeding method, also known as feeding on demand, which looks to the infant's hunger cues for when to feed. The schedules below are just examples—be sure to follow your baby's hunger signals to know when your little one is ready for the next feeding. As babies get older, their hunger cues and feeding times start to become a little more predictable.
How often should a five-week-old baby feed? A sample feeding schedule:
Remember, it's more important that you follow your baby's cues than adhere to a set schedule, so schedules outlined are general guides of how frequently you'll feed your baby—not hard-and-fast rules.
These guidelines also apply primarily to infants born full-term and without any underlying medical conditions. For preterm infants, babies with certain medical conditions or for any specific questions pertaining to your child, be sure to consult your child's pediatrician for a more customized feeding schedule.
When is breast milk supply regulated?
For breastfeeding mamas, milk supply during the early weeks can feel like a roller coaster. But, by 5 weeks of breastfeeding, your milk supply should begin to regulate more. First, the good news: That means you may not feel as much engorgement and will not experience as much leaking. However, it's common for supply to dip, too. The best ways to keep your supply going strong is to continue to feed your baby when they are hungry, keep yourself hydrated and avoid diving right into strenuous exercise when cleared by your doctor.
How to pump breast milk at work
If you are heading back into the office in a few weeks and plan to pump, the logistics may feel a bit overwhelming at this point. First of all, it's important to know you've got this! Many, many mamas have walked this road before you. They also led the way to creating legislation that protects your rights as a pumping mom. With that in mind, it can help to have a thorough discussion with management about where and when you'll have the privacy to pump. Don't leave this to the first day back on the job! Then pick up some more pumping-on-the-job tips from a lactation consultant.
Feeding your baby is a team sport—and you are the MVP, mama. Remember that the most valuable player needs to take care of themselves, too. If you've been holding down the nighttime feeding shifts for the past five weeks, consider asking your partner (if applicable) to take over a nighttime bottle-feeding shift so you can squeeze in a bit more shut-eye. Even one night of deeper sleep can make a world of difference.
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