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feeding on demand vs every 4 hrs

(97 Posts)
breakfastinbread Sat 12-Jul-14 18:54:36

Please help me understand something (am 25weeks right now).

I understand that with breast feeding, it is important to feed on demand (ensure supply etc etc), but have been getting some cats' bum faces from DM today when I told her this is what current recommendations are. I personally am planning on BF'ing, but have no idea if I can/will etc when the time comes.

Apparently, me and DBro were fed every 4 hours (FF) "whether we needed it or not."

When/why did the guidelines change? I need something to counter her with next time I see her! Are FF babies fed on demand too nowadays?

I don't want to be chained to the baby, apparently.

"….rod for your own back" <mutter mutter>

DeadCert Sat 12-Jul-14 18:58:16

Yes, current guidelines are to feed on demand both FF and BF babies.

MIL gave me a lot of cat bum mouth too....

you are supposed to feed bf and ff babies on demand and 4 hours is far too long between feeds especially for newborn babies. DS didnt drop back to 4 hourly feeds until he was about 4 months old

ask her if she forces herself to go 4 hours between drinks/food or can she have a cup of tea/coffee and a snack whenever she wants?

jessiemummy28 Sat 12-Jul-14 19:10:20

My DD is 8 months and still not on 4 hourly feeds! I just don't understand it, I usually have something to eat or drink more regularly than every 4 hours (even if it's just a glass of water)so why should we expect our babies to go that long? To me it's bordering on cruel.

catkind Sat 12-Jul-14 19:12:21

That's why a lot of people in those days "didn't have enough milk" to breastfeed. Your DM is going to have to get used to the fact that a lot has changed since she had kids. You're both doing the same in that you're following the best advice available to you!

feesh Sat 12-Jul-14 19:12:39

I fed my twins to a schedule for the sake of my sanity, but it was formula. It was every 3 hours. I don't think every 4 hours would be enough.

For what it's worth, I am hoping to BF my next one (was so close this time round, but having twins just pushed a few issues over the edge which I could probably have sorted with a singleton) and I am really interested in finding out about scheduled breast feeding. I don't know if it's possible, but I did find that feeding my twins to a schedule had such huge benefits for me and them that I would love to do it again if nature permits (naive/hopeful face).

phoebeflangey Sat 12-Jul-14 19:35:46

Feeding on demand is the preferred option, unless they go past 5 hrs without a feed, then you wake them (rare but it happens!) tell DM that you don't intend to ignore dc's cries if, like my dd, they want feeding every 2-3grs smile

phoebeflangey Sat 12-Jul-14 19:36:24

Hrs not grs?!!

Brices Sat 12-Jul-14 19:41:36

Wake em up every three hours for feed then hopefully majority of calories on board during daylight. Think three hours more realistic than four. I really didn't like the "on demand" hunger scream/crying found it very distressing. I found it easier to pre-empt the starvation screams and wake them up and feed. I was told Never wake a sleeping baby! So much conflicting advice. My favourite is miraculously when they're 6 months and 1 day old you no longer have to cart a sleeping baby with you whenever you move from room to room! What a joke that advice is!

whereisshe Sat 12-Jul-14 19:41:54

Formula is different from breast milk in terms of how quickly it's digested. Babies that are formula fed can go a bit longer between feeds.

But in any case as a pp said, 4 hours between feeds for a newborn is too long (ff or bf), is your DM sure she accurately remembers what the first few months were like?

If I were in your shoes, my rebuttal would be something along the lines of "isn't it interesting how many different ways there are to successfully raise a baby". Because it's your baby, so you get to decide. And there is no "right answer".

Iwillorderthefood Sat 12-Jul-14 19:42:01

My mum questions me offering food on baby waking up. "Surely she can't be hungry again?" My aunt breastfed, but with a strict ten minutes each side, as instructed by the midwives of the time.

ShergarAndSpies Sat 12-Jul-14 19:42:03

With BF babies, as you know it is all about them controlling supply by demand but there is also some research that suggests BF babies fed on demand are then good at self-regulating - ie they will only take as much milk as they need (although they may of course comfort feed plenty when they lightly suckle but take in very little milk).

Theoretically this self-regulation then means that as they move to solids and grow up, they will be good at only eating as much as they need and so less likely to suffer obesity.

Do be aware that if you do BF you are likely in the very early days to often get less than an hour between feeds and most babies cluster feed in the evenings (ie feed for hours at a time). This doesn't last long but can be hard going and the last thing you'll want to hear is well he can't be hungry again, you've only just fed him when your baby is clearly wanting another feed.

ShergarAndSpies Sat 12-Jul-14 19:47:06

Oh and also, some babies find feeding quite tiring when they are little. So they often take just a bit and then fall asleep, waking soon after for more as they are still hungry.

You can do things like strip them down to just a vest / nappy to help keep them awake while they feed or tickle their toes / cheek etc. We would often feed then do a nappy change and then offer the other breast as the change usually wakes them up (and pisses them off hugely!) and you could then get a bit more milk down them afterwards.

This is only for BF though, I think using a bottle is slightly different as the baby tends to drink more as it can't control the flow and the flow is quicker.

PrettyReckless Sat 12-Jul-14 19:50:10

This is a good read for you/your DM www.parentingscience.com/infant-feeding-schedule.html

callamia Sat 12-Jul-14 19:50:28

Surely you'd be chained to a screaming baby who wants food for some of those four hours? Did babies of ye olde tymes just give in and wait patiently? Is rather feed my baby for a few minutes than endure crying for the sake of a schedule.
I wonder if these MiLs and mothers have very selective memories?

The physical facts about babies tummies are enough to chuck all that four hour nonsense out of the window, and it is right that feeding so rigidly will do nothing good for your milk supply. I'd also be concerned about weight gain.

2kidsintow Sat 12-Jul-14 19:53:22

Both my DDs were formula fed and they didn't wait longer than 3 hours until they were several months old.

jessiemummy28 Sat 12-Jul-14 19:54:51

Brices I BF on demand and never had my DD screaming for a feed. I picked up on her hungry cues way ahead of her getting to the screaming stage! Also it was always more often than every 3 hours (especially in the early days) and I never had to wake her up for a feed.

As a PP said, babies are fantastic as self regulating when BF and my DD has maintained her weight on the 50th centile from birth. I guess in some ways it depends on the baby. Some need waking for feeds, others don't. Some thrive on routine, some don't. At 8 months my DD has started to settle into a routine but she didn't respond to any attempts to instigate one before that. And even know, if she is showing hunger cues before her 'normal' feed time, I'll feed her.

ILoveYouBaby Sat 12-Jul-14 19:59:18

Advice has certainly changed! My dd was small when born and fed very frequently, I had to put up with lots of comments from my lovely MIL, such as 'is she getting enough milk' and 'surely she doesn't need feeding again'. My dd has put on weight very nicely and I've had no problems with milk supply.

Frankly, I can't imagine putting up with the screaming that would come if I tried to make her wait for food!

As she's almost six months she's starting to settle into more of a routine, but she still feeds every 2 1/2 -3 hours.

MollyBdenum Sat 12-Jul-14 20:05:33

If a baby is fed on demand it shouldn't be screaming with hunger. You feed when the baby starts nuzzling and rooting around looking for milk.

hubbahubster Sat 12-Jul-14 20:10:39

Going with what baby wants is so much less stressful than rigid schedules, especially in the early months. DC2 is BF and is scoffing constantly during the day at 7 weeks old, but is also sleeping for 5 hours at night, waking for an early AM feed but dropping off again for 3 hours, so it's almost like a proper night's sleep! With DC1 (FF) I tried to enforce a schedule but he never slept this well and threw up a lot more

hubbahubster Sat 12-Jul-14 20:11:38

Also if you want to establish BF then as others have said, 3 hours is the most you'd want between feeds to start with.

runningonwillpower Sat 12-Jul-14 20:12:38

OP, how old is your mum?

Because my children are all grown up now, and demand feeding was definitely the preferred choice when they were babies.

Your mum isn't just behind the times. She's behind behind the times.

The best advice is; listen to all advice then do what you think is right. It's your baby.

JennyBlueWren Sat 12-Jul-14 20:16:13

If it's less than 3 hours between feeds and your bf how do you sleep? Is it just when you can you have a nap?

runningonwillpower Sat 12-Jul-14 20:22:15

If it's less than 3 hours between feeds and your bf how do you sleep? Is it just when you can you have a nap?

Yup. That's what you do.

And you sure get good at sleeping when you can. A moment spent awake when you could have been sleeping is a moment wasted.

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