Scheduled feedings or baby-led feedings? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you let your baby nurse whenever he/she wants or do you schedule feedings? I've always let baby nurse whenever they wanted. Just curious if he'd do better with bigger stretches between feedings. He also likes to use me as a pacifier (won't take a real one) so I just quit the feeding when he does that. But, I offer breast whenever he wants it (rooting) or when he's crying and nothing else works. Do you offer the breast for simple comfort or have other comfort measures? I'm trying to keep a special blankie with him all the time to give him some kind of non-mommy comfort item and he refuses the pacifier though I keep trying. I know I'm on #4 here but I feel like sometimes it's new all over again!

Sara: Separated Mom to , DD (9), , DS (5), DD (3), , & 4/5/10 + 2 & 1
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#2 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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I feed on demand (unless they would go a longer stretch than I was comfortable with). I was and still am a human pacifier to DD2. She has no other lovey but it works for us.

Depending on how old the baby is I wouldn't worry about stretching the feedings out but that is just me.

~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.

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#3 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 01:59 AM
 
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I guess it depends on how old the baby is? Although in theory I'm all about the baby-led feedings, with both of my kids I feel like we fell into a schedule pretty quickly. By about 4 months they had both fallen into fairly constant nap schedules, and feedings were basically based around then. I knew my DD would need a nap at about 9am, so I'd start feeding her at 8:45 or so. And my DS wakes up earlier than she did, so he usually needs a nap at around 8:30, so when I was BFing him I'd feed him before then too.

Growth spurts and sickness aside, I think that kids tend to have pretty strong natural rhythms and internal clocks. I think that adults learn to ignore them. Obviously every child is different, but with my two kids I definitely found that they scheduled themselves for when they needed to eat and sleep at fairly young ages. It was never anything that I imposed, but it was certainly easier on me to go with it.

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#4 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 02:02 AM
 
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I wanted to add that if you're talking about a newborn, I definitely wouldn't schedule. They go through so many growth spurts where it's important to them to get the food they need, and for you to get into gear for producing the milk that they need.

I would imagine, however, that with 3 or 4 older kids (not sure if your user name is before or after the new baby) you have a whole lot less time to be a human pacifier than if this were your first. Which is fine. For soothing techniques, I really liked the Happiest Baby on the Block book.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#5 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 02:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He's only 3 months. I have a friend who swears that baby's are better off going 3-4 hrs between feedings. He does that at night but during the day it's usually every hour or so. He is my first "power-napper". So, he'll sleep 14-15 hrs at night with about 4 quick feedings during that time. I don't even change his diaper. So, during the day he'll only snooze for 10 or 20 minutes a couple of times and often it's when he's bf'ing. So, maybe that's one reason he nurses so much during the day-because he's sleep so much at night. Hmm, amazing that that didn't dawn on me until now!

Thanks for sharing your experiences! I've always felt that baby-led feedings were best even when others would tell me it's wrong but it helps to have some positive feedback.

Sara: Separated Mom to , DD (9), , DS (5), DD (3), , & 4/5/10 + 2 & 1
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#6 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 02:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
For soothing techniques, I really liked the Happiest Baby on the Block book.
I do those techniques but my babies refuse the pacifier and he keeps biting his hand when he's sucking/chewing on it then cries really hard. I think he really wants to be a thumb-sucker (I've thought that from day 1) but he also won't sleep without being swaddled (Yeah for the HBontheB book!) so it's a catch 22. Not as much time to learn to suck his thumb but no sleep without the swaddle. That's one reason I decided to try a pacifier asap this time. However, not only does he refuse it profusely, it also has screwed up his sucking (he sucks the back of his tongue so he swallows lots of air).

Sara: Separated Mom to , DD (9), , DS (5), DD (3), , & 4/5/10 + 2 & 1
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#7 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 02:08 AM
 
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I've never scheduled ds's feedings, he's in charge of his own hunger. I do nurse him for comfort, but I use other distractions sometimes when I don't think he's likely to want to actually eat. Lately I've found that handing him something really interesting (and usually electronic) when he trips and hurts himself a little calms him right down. When he's nursing non stop because he's having trouble falling asleep and I get tired and sore from nursing so long I usually enlist dh's help or go for a walk and try other strategies to help him sleep.

Mommy to DS1 July '09 and DS2 Oct '12 and someone new in May '15

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#8 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 02:08 AM
 
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I loved being able to solve all the problems in my baby's world with a boob , so yes, I did baby-led feedings. Like the pp, mine both fell into their own little schedules without my prompting. My first was not a comfort nurser. It was all about foor to him, but he still nursed every 1-2 hours during the day and every 3-5 at night. My youngest was all about the boob from birth. Happy? Celebrate with a boob! Upset? Take some comfort from the boob! Bored? How about a boob?

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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#9 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 02:14 AM
 
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If you think he would do better with longer naps, you could try the No Cry Nap Solution book. There are lots of tips for getting longer naps, and lots of information on newborn sleep patterns.

Mommy to DS1 July '09 and DS2 Oct '12 and someone new in May '15

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#10 of 11 Old 07-10-2010, 02:49 AM
 
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I respect my baby's cues and nurse whenever he asks. He is 3 months old.
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#11 of 11 Old 07-12-2010, 05:35 AM
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For a 3-month-old I'd say baby-led, for a newborn, well... but hear me out before you slam me down!!!!

After DD started feeding properly, by day 2, we quickly fell into a routine - her routine. She would wake up, around 7 in the morning, go straight on the breast, stay there for three hours, fall asleep and come off, 5 minutes later, wake up, SCREAM, back on breast, repeat until midnight, when she finally got to sleep, slept soundly for four hours, woke up, fed for 1/2 hour, slept another 3, woke up for the day.

Except for 5 min every three hours, she was latched on for 17 hours straight.

Except for my nipples being sore, and never getting to dry for a moment, and my exhaustion, that's ok, right? I was in seventh heaven! As long as it is helping baby be happy and put on weight.

Except she became more and more miserable. In the evenings I could hardly get her to feed anymore, she just screamed, for hours. And then at 4 weeks she lost weight.

Feeding more wasn't possible. A fantastic lactation consultant helped us, and the first thing she did was put dd on a schedule - not a very strict one, but still.

A feed started every three hours. I would feed her for an hour and a half (switch-nursing, to stimulate milk-prod. and keep dd feeding actively), then occupy her for 1/2 hour and then get her to sleep in the push-chair (because she hated slings and carriers, and wouldn't sleep on me). She'd sleep for 1 1/2-2 hours, then wake up and feed again.

The change in our little girl was huge! Suddenly the baby that screamed whenever she was off the breast became a smiling little darling who loved standing in my lap watching people.

It didn't make my life easier, DD's first year was still the hardest job I've done in my life. But it made her happier. I think she was really desperate to sleep. We have had sleep issues the whole time, first now, at nearly 2 1/2 does it seem to get a little easier for her to go to sleep.

When she was feeding all the time she was trying to sleep, and wouldn't feed properly. And my supply tanked. It took 6 months to get it up again.

But around 3 months she had dropped all daytime sleeps but 1 (2 1/2 hours), and didn't want to feed for over an hour any more, it was a bit of a struggle. Soon after the ped supported my suggestion of dropping the schedule. DD immediately started feeding for about 1/2 h every 2 hours or so, and a month later went down to 10-20 min for most feeds - every hour or so.

By now she still feeds more than 10 times a day (at 18 months she was feeding more than 20 times a day!).

However, trust me when I say, it is much, much easier to feed on demand than on schedule!

But my little baby needed the schedule.
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