Would you like to be a member of our research pane? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.

How long to BF on demand for...?

(13 Posts)
34at32 Sun 06-Jan-13 10:03:16

My DS is 7 weeks old and I have been BFing on demand from the start.

He is naturally dropping into a routine at night where he feeds less, going up to 5hrs, which is great. During the day it can be pretty varied...I sometimes think there is a routine, and then it changes. I am fine with this as this is what I expected.

Some friends have been telling me that I need to start enforcing a routine now to get him to sleep through the night and so that he doesn't become too demanding. I'm a bit confused as if he is hungry, surely he needs to eat and denying him food must be more damaging for now. When do babies learn how to manipulate you for attention?

He happily takes a bottle of expressed milk from DH in the eve and has taken it from others also so he is not fussy or especially clingy to me.

When should on demand feeding stop? I had assumed it/I would gradually stop when we start weaning, but perhaps I am wrong???

Any advise?

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 06-Jan-13 10:11:05

I have done both ways. With ds I tried to enforce a 3 hr routine- total nightmare. Dd is 5 mo and demand fed from the start ( bottle fed 2 days a week using expressed milk as I work but still on demand). I disagree with your friends. Routine feeding is no more likely to improve night time sleeping than feeding on demand. Just go with it. Dd tends to feed more frequently in the morning, less in the afternoon. It's just her pattern. Some days she's hungrier than others- again, totally normal.

mrscog Sun 06-Jan-13 10:22:39

DS is 10 MO and I still demand feed now - they just slowly cut down over the months so it slowly but surely gets less relentless.

mrscog Sun 06-Jan-13 10:24:47

Sorry - hit post too soon...

So in my experience of demand feeding a 10 month old, I now feed him anything between 3 and 5 times a day - depending on what he requests. It's also important to point out that he only takes about 2-3 mins per side now (sometimes less) to empty the breast so it's super quick - not like demand feeding a hungry newborn for 30-40 mins every 2 hours!

fraktion Sun 06-Jan-13 10:25:05

I demand fed until about a year. I now operate a 'don't offer, don't refuse' at home. We haven't had amazing sleep but that's more reflux than demand feeding but I've never had supply problems and DS seems to have been comparatively healthy and quick to bounce back from bugs.

ShowOfHands Sun 06-Jan-13 10:33:05

I still demand feed my 16mo. He has slept through from being v small, bar teething and illness. He found his own natural routine and likes to feed morning and evenings, plus before naps.

I demand fed dd until she was 3.4, within reason. Because 'don't offer, don't refuse' is pretty similar to demand feeding. I did have some limits though. I would distract while out or if I was busy I would say no and explain why and it was an entirely different relationship once she was older. I still operated on the principle of if she asked, she needed it though.

PurplePidjin Sun 06-Jan-13 11:06:35

Ask them how they'd feel if their boss at work only allowed them a cup of tea once every 4 hours hmm

Babies don't have the neural pathways necessary to comprehend stuff like routines, they're hormone and need-led. They have tiny stomachs, and breastmilk is exceptionally efficient at being digested seeing as how it has been uniquely designed for the purpose of nourishing your child.

Smile, nod and do the internal eye roll wink

34at32 Sun 06-Jan-13 13:37:02

Thanks all, this has reaffirmed my thoughts. I will stand strong.

If you don't cue feed you seriously risk low milk supply at 12 - 16 weeks.

LaCiccolina Sun 06-Jan-13 15:11:00

Ur mates know naff all about either ur specific child or frankly bfing. They are parroting what 'professionals' say works.

Studies of all child behaviour tend to be extremely small test groups though with massive suppositions shoved on to them to extrapolate to make it sound definitive or important. Rather like a new mascara, sounds fab coz Dior (eg) say it is. Then u see the small print where 80% of 60 people have said it lengthened lashes. Hardly conclusive is it?

The best advice I get is oddly better ( on occaision) here as whilst subjective it is real life, which I've found counts for quite a bit!

MrsHoarder Sun 06-Jan-13 15:15:22

Still demand feeding 7mo. He slept through quite early and is a speedy feeder now.

If you are starting to hey a decent stretch of sleep at night, why risk messing it up?

JennyTW Sun 06-Jan-13 15:38:58

Keep going with the demand feeding if you can, 34at32! Babies can't 'manipulate' their parents until much, much later. And even when they can, there are still times when they NEED those feeds. Your 7-week-old is tiny. You're his world -- he wants you, he wants a full tummy, cuddles, and closeness. That's what'll keep your milk supply up, it'll keep him thriving, and it's good for you, too, in that it cuts your risk of ovarian and breast cancer. Breastfeeding is at its most enjoyable after the first three months, I always thought, when you're really on the move with them and there's no need to worry about bottles, the feeds get shorter, and you still get that lovely closeness. The routine will come - but to be honest, I don't even mind my DS (who's now 2 ys 4 months) still waking in the night to have a comfort feed. They grow up far too quickly! I was a bit more disciplined with my DD, who 'only' breastfed for 15 months. In hindsight, I wonder why I didn't carry on for a bit longer with the morning and night feeds ... ;-) And you're absolutely right: if you try not to feed him at night when he's hungry, you may well end up with nothing but a crying, unhappy little boy. Go with your instincts! smile

sussexsongbird Sat 19-Jan-13 21:42:42

In my experience demand feeding will naturally fall into a pattern around what your baby needs as they will need pretty much the same thing every day. You can encourage this by offering milk at set points eg before or after a nap. They start to become aware and interested around 4 months so this is the time I would say you could try it, but definitely feed on demand until at least then, and always follow your baby's cues and let the routine you fall into be guided by their needs and not the clock or a book. The one thing I would say that helps with sleeping through the night is from around 3-4 months try to get a bedtime routine going where they are still awake when you put them into bed. Eg nappy, pjs, milk, bed, story/song, leave them to fall asleep on their own. I regret not doing this and always fed to sleep and when I finally put a proper bedtime routine into place around 9 months, after a few days of him crying when I left, he started to sleep a lot better and cry less in the night. My LO would sleep 8pm-4am at 9 months then back to sleep until 7 after a feed, and at 12 months I stopped feeding at night and he accepted it after a couple of days and slept through. Don't try these things too early but do stick with the routine. Breastfed babies generally need to feed at least once during the night until they are at least 5-6 months old.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now