My BFing pattern is a combination of on-demand and scheduled feeding.
I am aware of when my 9 week LO needs to feed next (approx 2 to 2.5 hour start-to-start in the morning and 3.5-4 hours in the night) and if it goes beyond that I wake him up. In the morning it is more on demand because sometimes he asks in an hour (start-to-start) OR 1.5 hours and of course I don't refuse or try to distract him or whatever. I feed him.
In the night it feels like more scheduled because I keep an alarm for the max I can allow between two feeds (4 hours) and he usually wakes up or stirs.. and if he doesn't then I wake him.
Now the questions. IF I want to make this completely on-demand:
1. In the mornings ..sometimes he goes beyond 2 hours without asking.. or maybe I miss his cues. BUT he is awake and playing. At the end of 2 hours he may get sleepy because of the play and start to doze off. Before this happens (since I am aware of the time).. I offer him the breast..so he can feed and sleep (in case he sleeps for an hour or two). THIS I do even if he doesn't ask. What would you do? Let him sleep for 2 more hours AFTER 2 hours of play/awake time? That would be 4 hours start-to-start
2. What about night time? How MUCH time do you let them be? Even 8-10 hours? FOR a 9 week old. Do you on-demand-feeders never have a upper limit?
3. IF they start sleeping through the night...do you guys not miss on the highest prolactin levels in the night and the abundant flow of the night? My flow is best from 1 AM through 8 AM........if I let him sleep through the night (which he seems like he will do if I let him) I will miss out on my best flow and best prolactin levels. For those of you who don't pump..what do you do?
4. What about during times of disturbances (like vaccines or colds or fevers). He has recently had an UTI and yesterday a vaccine (WA has a Pertussis epidemic)... where they act extra lethargic and their bodies cannot be trusted to eat well or on time. What do you do then?
Thanks so much
Fledgling midwife on hiatus, Wife to B, mama to C (c/s 12/04) and S (12/07), m/c (3/12) and expecting another bean 6/13 .
When my son was that age he started sleeping anywhere between 6 and 8 hours in one go at night. He would nurse A LOT in the two hours before sleep, and then A LOT again in his first hour or two awake in the morning. He continued to gain weight fine so I think he really was okay sleeping so long and missing the "good" hours for milk. Once he hit about 4 months he started waking a lot more frequently at night, he is continuing to gain well so I think he just decided that he needed more so he wakes up now. I found it stressful at first to let him sleep more than 5 or so hours, but once I was able to relax a bit more it was really nice to have a big chunk of sleep myself :)
During the day I do a combination of on demand and keeping an eye on the clock. If I know it's been more than two or three hours I'll offer the breast to him even if he doesn't appear hungry. He often is but sometimes he will only nurse for a few seconds. I don't push it, but I think it's important to offer. Sometimes I think he just gets so distracted with what is going on around him he doesn't notice he's hungry (or I miss his cues).
I find if he has a real sleepy day, then the next day he eats a lot more. I really do think he knows when and how much he needs to eat. As long as I trust him, and offer the breast regularly when he's awake, things seem to work out well. I did find it hard at first!