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Newborn - demand feeding or routine

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by bunique, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. We still feed on cue now at a year old. I honestly can't see how a breastfeeding relationship can be established without following baby's lead for at least the first 6-12 weeks. After that you'll probably find they settle into their own rhythm. The concept of leaving a hungry baba to cry because they're not 'due' a feed totally baffles me! So demand feeding all the way here ;) Your baby - your decision - you can politely tell your family to bog off ;)
  2. My LO was formula fed from birth and I fed on demand- every two hours at least until 16 weeks until she began to slowly feed less often. The advantage of this was she slept 12 hours with no wake ups by about 10 weeks (until about 7 months but that's another story!). Let your LO do what they want to do, it is too stressful listening to them cry!
  3. I agree with bunique: politely tell them to bog off, ad it's your baby! We demand fed both times and both babies bf. Think you'll find that if you want bf to work, you have no choice but to feed on demand as the baby's demand stimulates your production. You can move towards a routine as your baby gets bigger- I'm just rereading baby whisperer as my 3 month old sleep patterns aren't fab. Good luck!
  4. I could never have managed a routine with my lttle one- breastfed a lot. I wouldn't try any routine for the first month minimum- babies will want feeding at different times and I think if you go for a strict routine you may not be stimulating milk supply sufficiently. (Babies will suck to stimulate the body to produce milk- it is the way nature intended, so if you reduce the amount baby feeds you will be reducing the amount of milk you make- making life harder!)
    I think I made a similar thread to this when I was pregnant- and was totally baby led. It worked for us.
    A newborn has a tiny stomach- the size of walnut so needs frequent fillings. I guess you never quite know how it will be until baby is born or what will work for you.
    It is your baby so ignore anyone who tells you what you should be doing. I think everyone parents slightly differently to how they expect then they are pregnant though.
  5. undiwear

    undiwear New commenter

    "But now some family members are encouraging me to put baby on a routine straight away when she is born."

    Ask yourself how many of these 'some family members' breastfed at least one baby past six weeks to get an idea of the value of their opinion. [​IMG] Handouts 3 to 9 from this page are excellent print out and keep handy leaflets for a new breastfeeding mum to take to hospital and keep in the early weeks. http://kellymom.com/momblog/professional-handouts-set-1/

    good luck

  6. all_heart

    all_heart New commenter

    My LO was in hospital/special care for 10 days and they put her on a routine of being fed every 3 hours on the dot, when we took her home we tried to follow this thinking OK the hard work is done and we'll follow the routine she's used to (we even set our alarms to wake us up every 3 hours even in LO wasn't awake as that was their advice!) Didn't work!!!!!! She was crying after 2 hours for a feed and it was agony for all of us to wait so we changed to feeding on demand and as others have said over time, and most important in her own time, she began to to ask for 3 hours and now at nearly 5 months she's going 4 hours sometimes longer - and it happened all on it's own, no planning or routines. Good luck and remember Mum's know best (took me a while to reassure myself on this, but it's true) x
  7. I totally echo what everyone else has said.
    My baby is 5 months old and I've exclusively breast fed from the start. As far as I know you have to feed on demand in the early days. I am not sure how you would leave a screaming tiny baby? I have no idea how you would get a baby to wait until it is 'time'. Maybe ask these family members to demonstrate to you when the baby is here how to have a routine when the baby is crying and getting all worked up. Getting a baby to breastfeed in the early days can be quite difficult as it is but nearly impossible if you wait until they are really upset. Sorry, but these 'well meaning' family members do my head in!
    Even now I use a combination of demand and scheduled feeding. I look at how long it has been since the last feed as sometimes for me it is difficult to work out whether he is tired or wants feeding. This is because I have a very hungry little man (born on the 25th percentile but now around the 91st percentile for weight) who still wants feeding in the day every 3 or so hours.
    At the end of the day, you do what you think is right. You will know once she is here what feels right (but I am sure it will be feeding on demand whether you end up breast or formula feeding).
    Best of luck and congratulations! Make sure you get plenty of sleep in before she is born and if you are breastfeeding make sure you sleep as much as you can between feeds. It's a tiring but magical time!
  8. Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I really appreciate the voices of wisdom on this forum! Of course I will go with my instincts when the baby is born, but you have really reassured me and I'm sure I will be feeding on demand and happy to let the baby let me know when she's hungry. It's great to have feedback from other mums here. Sometimes I think well-intentioned family members must have rather fuzzy memories, because the advice can be puzzling..!
  9. Lots of really good advice here - everyone seems to be in favour of demand feeding.Lots of people advised me to get baby into a routine, so I thought I would let her demand feed at the start then get into a routine later on when it felt right. Around 3 months I noticed that she'd got herself into her own routine, she was feeding roughly 3 hourly during the day and going longer at night (she was pretty much sleeping through at that age, but that stopped as she got older and started teething etc). I still demand feed now and she's 22 months [​IMG] I can't imagine leaving a small baby hungry, but I do know a few people who told me they would walk the floor with a screaming baby for up to an hour because the next feed wasn't due. Unsurprisingly those people swapped to formula after a few weeks because they "didn't have enough milk" (milk production is on a supply and demand basis, so the more you feed the more milk you make) If you really want to breastfeed for more than a few weeks then you should definitely demand feed at least for the first few weeks/months.
  10. Have not read the other replies so I apologise if this repeats.
    Demand, demand, demand. I breast fed - LO was prem and was on a 3 hour feeding cycle in hospital (fed from a cup as he couldn't suck) he soon decreased this to 2 hours then 1 and then before I weaned him to 45 minutes for 10 minutes - he was starving. - I have never been a routine sort of person - LO has his own and we follow it. That is harder when back at work but where possible we find our lives easier that way.
  11. You can't truly decided what you will do until LO is here and it's all happening. We always think we know what we'll do but the reality is very different! I would agree with others, if you are bfeeding then on demand is the only way to go. We were pretty much 2 hourly for a long while and then went to 3 hourly etc. I didn't get into a 'proper' routine until 6 months when solids were introduced fully and it was working around mealtimes. My MIL claims that from birth she fed 6am, 10am, 2pm 6pm and 10pm but only for the first few weeks. And that was it! It was nearly 50 years ago so I'm hoping her memory has faded and she fed more than this! Hilariously, she expected me to be on exactly the same schedule, as if there was only one way to do it. You must do what's right for you and your LO. Good luck,
  12. It's true what everyone says in that you do what YOU want to do and smile sweetly when family/friends tell you how you should bring up your baby.
    Not at all wanting to stir but we actually chose to feed to a routine and it worked well for us. We BF every 3hrs (often waking her for feeds) and then went every 4hrs once she was about 6weeks (I think!). We were very very lucky in that LO slept very well at night and although did have a few cries at times, feeding by a routine really did work for us. It also helped as I had mastitis and such sore nipples (cracked and bleeding) that there is no way I could have fed on demand because the pain was so bad. I just about managed to work up the courage to feed, knowing that the next feed would be in Tminus 3hrs etc etc.
    Most of my NCT group fed on demand but there were a couple of us that fed by routine. No-one ever judged anyone else and at the end of the day, we each did what worked well for ourselves. We did share experiences and ideas but every baby is different so what would work for one baby, would not necessarily have worked for another.
    Try not to let it stress you out when the time comes, take whatever the hospitals/midwives say with a pinch of salt (our hospital basically told us to buy some formula on the way home!!!) and just go with your own thoughts.
    Good Luck xx
  13. We fed our LO to a routine and it worked really well for us. We woke him in the night for a dream feed and followed a 3 hour then 4 hour routine during the day. I don't think it did him any harm; he followed the same percentile on the chart for the first year of his life.
  14. Worth mentioning that my LO was a few weeks early so had a bit of catching up to do, hence the frequent feeding I think. Plus, I am tiny and my OH is v tall so doctors thought she would have been bigger had I had the 'space' to grow her! Consequently, she was born on the 50th percentile and has been on the 91st since about 3 months. However, at 15 months she does still prefer to be fed every couple of hours so maybe not a great pattern to start her off on!
  15. No question about it, you can't do anything other than demand (breast)feed a newborn. Not just because you wouldn't leave a baby hungry (which no-one sane would do I'm sure!), but for establishing your milk supply. This takes at least 6 weeks. Without demand there is no supply. Fact. And you need that frequent feeding to get your supply going. (My LO in the first few days once fed 17 times in 24 hours - we were writing them down at first!) Saying that, my LO (breastfed for 9 months) got into a feeding routine (partly by himself and partly with some very gentle encouragement on my part) by about 2 months old. With regards your relatives; in our mothers' generations midwives used to advocate routine feeding. In hospital they used to take the baby to the mother every 3 hours or so to be fed - and this is why so many women didn't breast feed in those days as demand feeding was discouraged/misunderstood. I wonder if this is why so few of our mothers breastfed? Good luck!
  16. Mariposa, I think it's a little harsh to make this statement as it could make people feed bad if they have had a bad experience with BF and/or chosen to bottle feed a baby from early on. Whilst BF may indeed be the preferred method for most, we shouldn't judge people on the decision that they make. In our NCT group, one of the mummies tragically died when her baby was only 9 days old (she had a heart condition and other complications), and her little boy was bottle fed from when he was about 5 days old (when his mummy's condition worsened) and I know that his daddy will say that being bottle fed from almost birth has not done him any harm in his development with regards to the milk that he had.
    Also, in my experience, I had no problem whatsoever with the amount of milk that I produced and the supply was never an issue when feeding to a routine. In fact, I can remember my b00bs starting to leak as feeding time was approaching. The let down was excessive and milk often sprayed everywhere (oops!) when LO latched on. One could say that this was because my b00bs were overfilled and feeding on demand would have regulated this but feeding to a routine worked for us.
    So whilst you feel that it is a 'fact' that one shouldn't feed a newborn in any way but on demand, that's fine as it's your opinion and experience but please don't knock others who chose to do things differently. The OP was asking for opinions and experiences. I gave mine but also said that I understood that others preferred to feed on demand. I don't feel it useful to suggest to the OP that there is only one way to feed.
    Pogo x
  17. pogo, I'm really sorry you felt I was judging anyone in my post, I can absolutely assure you I wasn't commenting on breast V bottle. I have no issue whatsoever with bottle feeding and am surprised you read this into my post....? I'm confused....Is it in the first sentence? Where I'm saying a breast-fed newborn needs to feed on demand? Did you think I meant a newborn should be breastfed not bottle? Again I can assure you this is absolutely not what I'm saying.
  18. I don't think La Mariposa was thinking about bottle feeding at all in her post rather just saying that breastfeeding, for most, only really works on demand.- and certainly bringing a tragic case up has nothing to do with that she was saying... this isn't a BF/FF debate it is a thread asking about breastfeeding.

    Anyway, back to the OP- just as something extra to be aware of.... Cluster feeding. I had never heard of this and wish I had. My daughter fed a lot- pretty much hourly in the day and it was hard but the evenings were something else- she fed all the time- several feeds between 6pm-9pm. Once I got used to them it was ok and they stopped after some time, but she was attached to me a lot but the cluster feeding did tank her up for the night and she slept pretty well at night.
    Some BF babies may work well on a routine but I think most tend to work better on demand- often they fall into their own routine anyway.
  19. Sorry La Mariposa. I obviously did misunderstand your comment. It was the comment about babies needing to be "'(breast)fed" that made me think you were implying that it should be BF all the way, rather than just 'fed'. I also managed to BF after latching/sore nipple issues etc and pleased that I did and would also recommend that mummies at least try to BF but having had a couple of friends who have recently really beat themselves up about BF with the fear of being judged if introducing a bottle I'm afraid I went off on a tangent.
    Sorry; I didn't mean to cause trouble and it has certainly been useful for OP to see different sides of demand vs routine.
    Muchos apologies [​IMG]
    pogo xx
  20. undiwear

    undiwear New commenter

    This is correct. Some mothers have a large storage capacity for milk but most mothers don't. Back in the days when women were ordered to feed every 3 or 4 hrs from birth and had their babies separated from them in the hospital, A large storage capacity probably plays a a significant role in how some mothers managed to breastfeed their babies even on a 3 or 4 hr routine right from the start but as history showed, most mothers milk supply failed. Thing is, you can't tell the size of a woman's milk storage capacity unless she is already breastfeeding and she experiences how often her baby cues for milk etc. The size of a woman's breast has nothing to do with storage capacity. So it comes back to feeding on demand at in the earliest days and letting your baby take the lead. A mother /baby *** who can breastfeed every 3 hrs from early days is an exception to the rule.


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