Feeding on demand, slow weight gain, judgy friends....argh...

(36 Posts)
tertle Sat 16-Aug-14 07:57:01

Hi there.

DD is 5 months old exactly and EBF. She weighs 13lb 4. She feeds on demand, usually about 6-8 times during the day and 2-4 at night. She goes to sleep at about 8pm then wakes at about 1am, 4am and 7am (on a good night! It can be every hour after 1am).

I've just spent a few days with two friends with babies who are around the same age as DD. Both boys are formula fed, weigh over 16lbs and are sleeping right through the night from 8.30pm until 8.30am. Cue a lot of judgy comments about how I am raising DD. Both friends think it's weird that I don't feed every four hours on the dot and put this down to DD not sleeping through the night and gaining weight slowly. One friend even told me that having no feeding routine is actually bad for DD and that her 'snacking' means she is never really hungry so will never feed properly.

I was always convinced that I was doing the right thing re: DD and feeding and put down the non sleeping through to being something that will pass when she's ready. But now I'm beginning to feel a bit worried, especially by her weight gain. She weighed 8lbs2 when she was born so she is still a couple of lbs away from doubling her birth weight which admittedly I thought she would have done by now.

I would like some others' perspective on what they do regarding feeding on demand. Does anyone have any tips of how I could help DD gain weight more quickly? I'm not in the UK and everyone I talk to here formula feeds every four hours from 1 month and weans at 4 and so everyone I talk to just suggests I go onto formula or wean. I know there is nothing wrong with ff but I want to continue breastfeeding; it's very important to me.

Thanks.

Frusso Sat 16-Aug-14 08:14:09

Is your baby putting on weight and having wet nappies? If the answer is yes, then forget/dismiss/ignore their opinions.

Yes ff baby's cam go for longer between feeds because formula gives the that full feeling.

But it doesn't guarantee them sleeping through the night. I know plenty of bf babies that sleep through, and equally ff babies that don't.

tertle Sat 16-Aug-14 08:31:15

Thanks for your reply. Yes she does put on weight every week but only a little. And yes she has plenty of wet nappies.

Do those babies who sleep through the night have routine feeds or are they fed on demand? My friends were saying that a routine will help her fill up more and sleep for longer, regardless of whether it's a breast or formula feed.

magicalmrmistofelees Sat 16-Aug-14 08:38:54

If it's any consolation, I switched to Ff at 5 months, DD is 9 months now, FF and on solids and still doesn't sleep through the night! Some babies just take longer than others. I fed on demand when BF, as long as your baby is gaining weight and is having wet and dirty nappies then I really wouldn't worry!

Frusso Sat 16-Aug-14 08:50:00

All ff babies I know are routine fed.

But even with bfing on demand, your baby creates the routine,

If you feed her every 4 hours you're baby will be hungry. How can feeding her less help her put on weight on? Ignore your friends they're talking crap.

Notfastjustfurious Sat 16-Aug-14 09:07:18

Dd1 was ff every 4 hours but on demand - I didn't set the 4 hours she did - but still didn't sleep through til she was 10 months old. It's nothing to do with how they feed. And as for weight gain baby boys do get bigger any way so you really can't compare, as long as she is gaining and is healthy why worry? Do what you're happy with and leave them to get on with it.

Sweetmotherfudger Sat 16-Aug-14 09:09:45

I switched to ff at 4 months. She still doesn't sleep through the night and has only just doubled her birth weight at 11 months. She's your baby. You know best.

theborrower Sat 16-Aug-14 09:09:48

Hi OP, is your baby following her centile line? Maybe she's just a wee baby? My first daughter was very small and on the 0.4 centile so her weight gain was very gradual, but she was healthy.

I mix fed DD1 (mostly FF) and am now FFing DD2. Formula babies should also be fed on demand, but sometimes it just so happens that they fall into their own wee routine where their feeds are always approximately x hours apart. Formula takes longer to digest which is why they can go a bit longer than BF babies, I think. But I don't think sleeping through the night is exclusive to FF babies. She will sleep through when she's ready, and if she's little that may just take longer. Certainly DD1 was nearly 5 months before she managed anywhere near 730-7.

I agree with other posters that if she's growing and having plenty of eye and dirty nappies, and you're happy with her, them there's probably no need for concern, and try no to compare babies - on feeding, sleeping or development, as they're all different smile

Just wanted to give a FF point of view and let you know that no, FF babies shouldn't be fed 4 hourly on the dot like your friends.

goingloombandcrazy Sat 16-Aug-14 09:11:56

Are these people really your friends?

Or people you just happen you have had baby with?

I'd be tempted to send them some breastfeeding links and ask them to read them before they try and discuss your chosen method of feeding.

tertle Sat 16-Aug-14 09:12:27

The feeding less 'advice' was so that when she feeds she will be 'properly hungry' and therefore eat a full meal as opposed to a snack which will fill her up for longer. It was more in regards to her sleeping through the night.

I'm glad all of you think that it's ok to continue to bf on demand! I was quite hurt when my friend told me that 'a baby needs routine to develop and yours has none'. She made me feel like a bad mum.

LST Sat 16-Aug-14 09:17:18

Both my ff babies were routine fed. And my bf is ff her 4mo and she feeds every 3 hours in the day and sleeps 7.30-7 every night. Every baby is different. You are doing fab. She is gaining weight and I take it she is happy smile

LST Sat 16-Aug-14 09:17:43

That should be bf is bf.. sorry

tertle Sat 16-Aug-14 09:18:12

Thanks theborrower, it's true I try not to compare babies but it was quite hard not to do so when staying together in the same house. She does seem to be a slim baby but she was quite big on birth which always seems to surprise people.

They are my friends, yes, but they are from another country and have quite different methods of raising babies. None of them can believe that DD is still in our room or that we haven't left her with the inlaws to go on holiday yet!

callamia Sat 16-Aug-14 09:21:37

It sounds like you're doing a fine job. You might find that your little girl starts to gain weight when you start to wean. It sounds like you feed whenever your baby is hungry (or thirsty), and you're helping her to understand and regulate appetite. That 'snacking' thing is nonsense, but it took me a while to realise this.

I had the same worry as you - my baby fed very frequently for ages, but it seems that it was fine - he wasn't going hungry and now he's 10m, he's feeding in between meals, and has reduced night feeds (hurrah!).

If your daughter is developing well, meeting milestones etc, then her size is almost immaterial.

LuckyLuckyMe Sat 16-Aug-14 09:23:04

Ignore ignore ignore tertle

Someone will judge you no matter what you do. Do what you think is right.

theborrower Sat 16-Aug-14 09:24:38

My DD2 was much bigger at birth than her sister and was on the 50th centile, but she's now on the 25th, which is no cause for concern as she's growing and feeding well, she's just finding her line and looks like she'll be petite too. Maybe your baby is doing the same.

Ach, ignore your friends' advice. They're probably well meaning but don't kniw what they're talking about. Just smile and say something like "thanks for your concern, but we're happy thanks and the doctor/health visitor are happy too".

hubbahubster Sat 16-Aug-14 09:31:10

DC1 was ff, woke every three hours like clockwork (pretty much) for a feed and didn't consistantly sleep through until about 8/9 months.

DC2 is bf and has slept 7-10 hours a night from about two weeks in.

They're just different babies! Don't worry. On the upside, while my ff baby used to throw up what looked like cottage cheese all over himself on a regular basis, my bf one is hardly ever sick - maybe just the odd mouthful of warm milk. And she certainly doesn't have the explosive nappies of her brother either. I think that's down to bf and not having a huge belly full of heavy formula.

BravePotato Sat 16-Aug-14 09:35:54

I fed mine on demand, to start with, but around 6 months went to more of a schedule for my own sanity (I had been tied to the house/baby 24/7).

For us slightly-flexible scheduled feeding worked best.

Breastfed babies are typically slimmer than bottle fed ones, so I would not worry or compare.

tertle Sat 16-Aug-14 09:37:19

Thanks all, I am feeling so much better now! I am sure my friends are well meaning and are trying to help me with what they deem to be a nightmare situation. Will learn to ignore; I just wonder why people with babies feel like they need to offer so much unwanted advice!? I'd never dream of telling them what to do with their children. Surely they must know that it's bloody annoying.
Well, my daughter is a happy and alert baby and I think that is the main thing. I will be a bit tougher when I see them next and they dish out anymore unwanted advice.

Imeg Sat 16-Aug-14 10:15:28

I was breastfeeding on demand but from about 4 months found it increasingly hard to tell when he was really hungry and when he was tired or just chewing things for fun... So I moved onto me determining when to feed him rather by trial and error - initially actually found that feeding him more frequently than he was asking eg every 2 hours made him sleep better at night (think he was having a growth spurt). Now I feed him approx every 3 hours during the day depending when he happens to wake up in the night/morning, and he sleeps for 7 hours ish at night (on a good night) before waking for a feed. So a sort of flexible routine is working for us at the moment.

RedErik Sat 16-Aug-14 10:39:36

Both my breastfed babies were sleeping through by 5 months.

My 7 month old DS only weighs 16lb so not a big baby.

Sleeping through has nothing to do with feeding methods or weight.

Writerwannabe83 Sat 16-Aug-14 11:03:31

My DS is 5 months and is EBF - he has not yet doubled his birth weight. He was just over the 75th percentile at birth but now floats between the 25-50th.

He typically feeds 10 times in 24 hours.
Seven of those feeds are during the day and the remaining ones are a result of nighttime cluster feeding. He always wakes at least once for a feed during the night, sometimes twice.

We have no feeding routine at all - I just feed him when he wants it. Sometimes he goes 4 hours between feeds but other times he only goes 2 hours.

He is gaining weight - some weeks he puts on about 5oz but the next week he will only gain 1oz.

The longest I have left him for is two hours and that was only last week.

You are doing absolutely fine. It's hard when people pass their opinions and it usually isn't a criticism of your parenting but them just using any excuse to brag about their 'perfect baby' which is actually pretty pathetic in my eyes. Just smile and nod in the knowledge that you know your baby is perfect without needing confirmation of that from others smile

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 16-Aug-14 11:13:20

If she's happy and healthy, I really wouldn't worry.

DD1 fell off the graph completely and scarcely gained any weight at all for six weeks. I eventually weaned her at 5.5 months on medical advice as she wouldn't take a bottle.

By a year old she sat exactly on the 50% line (born on 9th), 13 years later she is still exactly average sized.

Honestly, the fuss about babies weight is a debate not worth joining.

hollie84 Sat 16-Aug-14 11:14:05

Both my babies were born at 75th centile. First one was breastfed on demand but had settled into his own routine by 5 months. He was 25th centile by then, fed at night until 9 months and didn't sleep through until he was 2. He's 4 now and still 25th centile.

Second baby is 5 months now, mix fed, more or less has a routine, feeds many times at night and weighs about 18lbs!

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