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Calling all breast feeding mums of 6 months and over!!(36 Posts)
A quick question please! How did you get your LO into a routine of feeding (spaced say every 3 hours) or didn't you bother and did you instead carry on feeding on demand??
My HV and mum says that I should space feeds for my 7 month old every 2 hours and gradually work up to 4 hour gaps. He feeds on demand and always has and his feeds are generally every 1-2 hours. I can't persuade him otherwise as he screams until he is fed - and rightly so as how can I expect him to go hungry/thirsty just for the sake of getting a routine in place? I have started weaning and he is happy to take a couple or 3 teaspoons of whatever I give him, but soon gets fed up and just screams until I give in and b/f!
Thanks in advance
I didn't do any kind of routine or spacing out of feeds at that age.
Just a thought about weaning - are you giving solids about an hour after a breastfeed? That way your baby should be not too hungry and not too full.
Nope, I didn't do any spacing either. A sort of daily routine formed once they were eating proper wee meals 3 times a day. They just gradually fed less on their own.
No routine, no spacing here but didn't offer and didn't refuse type approach. He is 20 mo old now and only feeds before sleeping now, the feeds just naturally dropped.
I didn't space feeds or have any clear routine either. He gradually cut down as he got older and like jaggythistle says, a loose routine formed once he was eating three meals a day. We used to do BF an hour before solids too.
My ds was naturally going 3-4hrs between feeds by 6mo so I can't really help.
I didn't really give him food when he was hungry at first - I gave it between milk feeds as he didn't associate food with hunger at first.
He's now 9mo and has food at 7am, milk at 8, food at 12, milk at 4, food at 6, milk at 7:30.
Never did. Did feed about an hour before offering solids though as above.
By 12 months both times they had naturally dropped to just am and pm feed 99% of the time, and 18 months just am feed. Kept am feed until 2.5 ish years
When mine were that age I would be aiming for:
Not a rigid routine at all but a sort of plan in my head. To me, feeding every 1-2 hours at 7m does sound like a lot. That's fine if you're happy with it, but if not maybe it would be worth trying more of a routine and see how your LO responds.
No routine. I don't know any bf mums that do tbh and I know lots of mums who have bf babies and toddlers until they were 3/4.
You will find your baby might just slip into a natural rhythm and 'routine' the older he gets. My DC didn't 'get' weaning until about 9 months and knowing I could bf on demand was an absolute blessing.
Well in the end it comes down to what you are comfortable with. If you are happy to still feed on demand then that's your choice. No one else is doing it for you.
In my experience, both my girls were on a sort of 3/4 hourly routine by that time. I like routine. My girls were happy and content. After the first 4 months or so I sort of stopped feeding 'on demand'. They were happy to go 3 hours between feeds.
Personally, by 7 months and already weaning I would expect to be able to go longer than that between feeds. At that age I would say that they are probably feeding for comfort rather than hunger.
There is nothing wrong with that at this stage (if you are happy with that) but if not you may need to get a bit tough!
Personally feeding this often at this age would drive me mad and both mine were fed until they were 16 months.
BUT if you are happy as you are for now then just carry on.
Is there a reason you want to space feeds?
By 6 months we were in a "routine" of basically feeding to sleep and then feeding when he woke, so maybe 6 feeds in the day, plus a couple in the night.
My dd is 7 months and we have a very similar routine to tumble- bf first thing in the morning, mid morning, mid afternoon and bedtime. And sometimes she is hardly interested in the mid morning and mid afternoon ones.
From about 2 months I fed about every 3 hours and moved onto this new routine about a month ago as she got more into solid food.
I really like having a routine and I think ot suits her too as she has never really 'demanded' to be fed! But I imagine trying to enforce a routine on a baby who isn't keen would be hard work so unless it's bothering you, how about giving it another couple of months and see if he naturally bf less as his solid food intake increases?
Wow! First of all, just to say thanks to everyone for all your replies. I never expected so many in such short time!
It seems then that most mums don't try to space feeds and just let their LOs find their own pattern naturally. I'm def more for that but lately have been advised by HVs and my dear old mum who says if I don't start spacing out feeds he will be expecting b/f when he's one year old! ... and people who b/f toddlers are weird !! ... etc etc (her words, not mine!)
Also it's hard cos I never know exactly how much milk he is getting and leave it up to him to decide how much he needs. I can't express (only tried once and it took absolutely ages to get a couple of ounces out!). I heard that formula makes them feel fuller for longer and that's why alot of mums use that instead of b/f.
Sorry I can't answer all emails individually but to answer the questions:
ExBrightonBell: I'm giving solids about half an hour after a b/f usually. I have to give him some milk first to stop him from screaming when I put him in the high chair! Maybe I could leave it longer before offering solids.
Fledermaus: There's no real reason I want space feeds except for pressure from HVs/family to space them as he shouldn't be feeding so often. But how can I possibly leave him to scream when he's hungry?! It makes me wonder how anyone survived the old days when babies were left to 'cry it out' for hours on end?!
I found between 6 and 9 months all I did all day was breastfeed, solid food, breastfeed, nap, breastfeed, solid food, breastfeed, nap etc etc etc
For most babies breastfeeding is about so much more than hunger - it's about thirst, comfort, reassurance, sleep.
This has been really interesting. I feed my 8mo whenever he tries to stick his head down my top, or about every three hours. When my husband is at home with him giving him expressed milk, he also goes roughly three hours. He still feeds more during the evening - can be about every 90mins. I just let him so what he likes. This might be a bit 'path of least resistance' on my part, but it seems to work ok. I plan to continue feeding him past one, so I'm fine with this.
I would just say, OP, don't be pushed into stopping breastfeeding before you really want to. It's really handy breastfeeding up till at least 1 yr, as you then don't need to ever introduce a bottle. You can go straight to sippy cups of cows milk instead.
I also think it's actually a really good thing that demand breast fed babies get to choose how much milk they take and when. I think it sets them up well for weaning, as they know their own appetites.
As its all supply and demand you can' t usually expect to make sudden routine changes but you could delay feeds by ten minutes until you get the timings to suit you better if you decide thats what you want to do.
7 months is still little BF at 1 is completely fine if you are happy with it and can provide lots of benefits for you and baby/toddler.. As you're happy with it and your baby needs it go with it. I still bf my 10 month old and plan to until 2 years (or possibly longer) as advised by world health organisation.
Have you tried finger foods, perhaps your lo wants to feed himself? Don't be bullied into doing something against your instinct. My lo has been I'll today and eaten very little solids but has bf which makes me a lot less concerned as getting enough nutrition to cope for a day or two whilst feeling dreadful. Our job as parents is to keep offering a variety of different foods, we can't choose whether they will eat them!
I've never had a bf routine, he started going longer himself from around 9-10 months but is still bf on demand at 16 months.
I also have a dm and friends who think it's weird after a year
Perhaps you can ask your mum and your HV not to have a drink or a snack more often than four hourly - you can explain how ridiculous it is for them to have a cup of tea followed by 2 cups of coffee an hour or two later, and to carry a water bottle with them on a hot day. After all, they should be able to do without and just stick to a rigid timetable.
Your baby is 7 mths.
You are happy, he is happy; you are offering him other foods and he is starting to accept them. He is healthy and well able to let you know what suits him.
What on earth has it got to do with them??!
Your HV needs a spot of retraining, from the sound of things. And you could do with some assertiveness practice, maybe?
I think (as others have said) that you are in that period of chaos where you seem to spend your entire life feeding either milk or solids.
I would always say 'stick with your instincts' you will know him best.
I found that by 9 months things had settled down a lot and more of the food i was making him was going in
not ending up on the floor and milk feeds were becoming fewer and further between to a point where around 10m he was only really interestedin a proper feed first thing in the morning one after his lunchtime nap and one before bed, because he was chilled out at these times he would feed really well, if he fed at any other time he was very easily distracted so was more like a quick snack.
I think i read on here 'food is fun until you are one' meaning it takes a while to get proper food going well, and milk is main source of nutrition until then.
We never had a strict routine for feeds either - now DS is 8.5mo and he seems to have naturally cut down feeding to about 3/4 times during the day. At first I was worried about him cutting back but now I'm back to going with the flow!
I'm at a point now where I'm in uncharted waters with friends/family in terms of how long I'm BFing so am beginning to get the "when will you be giving up?" questions.
Every day is a bit different with my little guy - just like I might eat and drink differently every day. Like tiktok said, why do we expect a small baby to go for hours without food/water when we wouldn't?!
Do whatever you and your baby are comfortable with - if you feel that your system is working well for both of you, well that's the answer for your Mum and your HV.
Good luck, it can be tough feeling like you're justifying your choices all the time!
Lots of great advice above! I would say though that every 1 hour is quite a lot - is he actually feeding or just bored/doing it out of habit? I never consciously spaced feeds but did notice in hindsight that with my first I was sometimes too quick to shove a nipple in his mouth every time he gave a peep Once I had Dcs 2 and 3 I didn't have enough time to be permanently nursing and realised that sometimes the baby actually just wanted a change of scenery or action. Having a little more time between feeds did help me to get out a bit more and let my DH play more of a role too. That said, there's no need to change things dramatically if you are both happy - it'll naturally space out over time anyway.
No routine at 6 months. A sort of routine emerged at around 10 months. Very much to-routine by 18 months. It just all happened naturally though (some of it was pushed by my return to work).
Thanks for all your messages. Such a lot of lovely helpful ladies out there!
I do need to take a few lessons in assertiveness. I think when it comes to issues like this I need to stop presenting them as problems and start saying instead this works for us, etc.
I always find that asking on mumsnet is far more helpful than asking HV/family.
Anyway, I have to go as DS started crying from his cot!!
will email again later
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