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I remember when I first started high school. Do you know what was one of the hardest things about high school? Lunch time. Why?
Because at our school, we couldn’t all fit in the lunch room, so we had two or three (can’t remember right now) lunch sessions. We also had alternating schedules, called “A” day and “B” day. Every other day, we had a difference schedule. Four classes on A day and four different classes on B day. We also had the potential to have lunch at different times. I was one who had it that way.
So one day lunch was at 11:30. Another, it wasn’t until 12:30. Talk about difficult! There was no consistency to my eating, so my body had no idea what to do.
If you eat at the same time each day, that is when your body will get hungry. On Becoming Babywise says, “…the hunger mechanism (digestion and absorption) operates as if it has a metabolic memory reinforced by routine” (page 48). So if your baby eats at the same times, she will be hungry at the same times.
Granted there are things that can change this notion. Think to being pregnant. There are times when you are hungry all day long. This will be true for a baby, too, as she enters growth spurts. There also might be times she doesn’t eat well for one meal, in which case she might be hungry sooner than her usual time.
If you are trying to establish a predictable routine, keep this idea in mind. Eating at the same times each day means the child will get hungry at the same times each day. Do watch for growth spurts because they happen often.
Also, keep this in mind as you are starting to establish a consistent morning time for baby to wake up. The recommendation is to keep the time of the first feeding consistent within 30 minutes each day. That means a 30 minute sway total, not 30 minutes in either direction. So from 7:15-7:45 or 7:30-8:00 etc. Feed baby within this window each morning so she will be hungry at that time each morning.
See the Wake Time blog label for more on morning wake time.
See Early Morning Feedings Before Wake Time for more on what to do when baby wakes close to your morning wake time.