Feeding on demand or on a schedule?

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eliann's picture
Joined: 04/19/11
Posts: 2441
Feeding on demand or on a schedule?

Which do you do? And if you do a schedule, what is it like? Like when do you feed and how often?

I feed on demand, but I'm curious what a day looks like when you feed on schedule?

eliann's picture
Joined: 04/19/11
Posts: 2441

And if you feed on demand, is there anyway you can still get them on a sleep schedule? Lately Henry eats at 6:30pm and then will start his long stretch of sleep. It sucks, because he wakes up when I am ready for bed. Do I just wake him up? Do I try to hold off feeding him?

Ok I guess this thread is also inquiring about your baby's sleep schedule. I used to just let him sleep, because sleeping was so rare for him, in the beginning there were days where he slept as little as 3-4 hours in a 24 hour period.

OkieMommy04's picture
Joined: 07/03/10
Posts: 511

I feed on demand. He usually eats every couple hours during the day then we got to bed at 9. He will sleep until 4, nurse and sleep again until 7:30-8. My previous son would nurse every 1-2 hours at night so I'm soooo glad Wade is a good sleeper!

jennyflem072207's picture
Joined: 03/25/07
Posts: 214

on demand:) But typically that is 1 1/2 hrs to 2.. Trying to stretch her to more 2's then we can shoot for 2 1/2s idk.. Sometimes she seems constantly hungry thinking growing spurts in those times..

Sadie usually feeds at 5, 7, 9 , 11, 4, 7, 9, 11, 1, 5 over and over, today tho has been every hr and a half:) She only wakes up one time at night so its pretty nice .

eliann's picture
Joined: 04/19/11
Posts: 2441

Ok good to know you ladies feed that often during the day. My nephew who is about the same age eats every 3-4 hours and I would love that.

So either Henry falls asleep in the early evenings like I described above OR he cluster feeds between the hours of 4-9pm. Tonight I nursed him at 7pm, and by 7:38 he was doing hunger cues and after a bath he was furious screaming for food. My boobs cannot be ready to feed every 30 minutes forever. Does the cluster feeding ever end?

OkieMommy04's picture
Joined: 07/03/10
Posts: 511

The cluster feeds will end. He's more than likely going through growth spurts when he does that. If your into reading check out the book The Wonder Weeks. It's not about breastfeeding but it gives so much insight into babies growth spurts, why they get fussy during those times and when to expect it. Every momma should read it.

crazy j's picture
Joined: 10/08/07
Posts: 1162

I feed on demand. We've tried to put her on a bit of a schedule and she won't have it, those always end up being our worst days. She seems to do a lot better when I just let her eat and sleep as she wants. During the day, she'll go 3 hours between feeds, but then wants to eat every two hours in the evening.

I feel ya on the cluster feeding. I need a good hour in between feeds in order to have another letdown and she wouldn't go to bed until she had a full tummy. I know this isn't recommended for supply, but when she was all cluster feedy in the evenings and I couldn't satisfy her, I topped her off with a bottle. Saved my sanity and got us both more sleep. She's over the cluster feeding stage and pretty much never needs it anymore so no long term harm done.

Also, she just was able to go 3 hours between some feeds a few weeks ago. 4 hours is not at all typical for a 1-2 month old. Even most strict schedulers don't move to 4 hours until 4 months old. If you're looking for an idea of what a schedule looks like, google "1 month EASY routine." Personally, I find the routines are hard to while nursing, not impossible, but much harder.

eliann's picture
Joined: 04/19/11
Posts: 2441

Thanks for the info ladies. My SIL also feeds on demand, but she has a sleepy boy. So she has to wake him up to eat and struggles to get him to eat. So while I think I would love that, I'm sure it would scare me too.

Yes the cluster feeding kind of sucks because I read that your body produces less milk during those early evening hours, so it leaves him unsatisfied and hungry at night. Joan we are doing the same as you and topping off with a bottle. I have to give him his prevacid with a bottle anyway so it works out great.

I swear its whenever I complain that he ends up sleeping a long stretch. He slept 7 hours again last night and has been sleepy-ish all morning.

eliann's picture
Joined: 04/19/11
Posts: 2441

Oh and Joy, yes I think he just went through his 6 week growth spurt. Lasted 5 days. I think he is sleeping so much now to make up for all the fussing and eating he did over the past 5 days. I will check that book out!

Joined: 03/19/05
Posts: 338

We do the EASY routine but also on demand if needed.

Basically I nurse him when he wakes then expect to nurse him again in 3 hrs. We keep this 3hr schedule until about 4pm when he starts the clusters--every 1-2 hrs depending upon the day he will want to nurse. He usually sleeps from 7 (sometimes he awakes for a nurse around my bedtime) until 2 or 3 am then he clusters again.

I don't think the routine helps his sleep at night, but it does help me determine why he is fussy during the day. We started the 3 hr schedule when he was 8 weeks and he fell into it naturally. When he is fussy between the feeding times, he most likely needs the diaper changed or a nap, if that isn't working then we nurse and reset the schedule. Now that I can read his cues better, he spits up less and seems more content.

tori729's picture
Joined: 07/23/07
Posts: 1743

I do the EASY routine too but I'd call it more of a flexible routine than a "schedule." I did the hard and fast schedule with my first and although he had no adverse effects, I would get stressed out when the schedule got messed up. I go by the book called The Baby Whisperer.
So in the morning after his 7-8am feed, he is usually awake (although sometimes he stays asleep after he eats and then it throws it off a bit) for awhile and then when he gets fussy takes his morning nap. He usually eats every 2 hours in the morning and stretches it a bit in the afternoon to every 2.5-3. If we're out sometimes he goes 3.5 hours. But basically he eats about 8 times a day. At night, I have been just feeding him right before he goes to sleep no matter how long it's been since he ate. He goes down at around 9 and sleeps until 4, then until 7 or 8 usually.
In your case Elizabeth, I would probably try both of the things you mentioned - either try to stretch it so he eats at 8 or so, or just wake him up before you go to sleep and "dream feed" him (feed him while he's still half asleep). If he cluster feeds though then that works too.

For me, I a routine of some sort works well. The time is always different so sometimes he is asleep when DH gets home and sometimes he is awake and hungry/crying but it generally works well. Like on Sundays every week it ends up that I feed him at 10:30, during the sermon. It just always ends up working that way without me really trying. I think once you start doing it the same way every day, baby gets used to it.