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Spacing feeds - newborn

(45 Posts)
splendide Sun 02-Nov-14 12:26:27

Would really appreciate some advice from someone with experience. I'm a first time mum with a one week old and im feeling a bit desperate.

How long is he meant to be allowed to go between feeds? The midwife told me to just set a timer for three hours after each feed and make sure he fed in that time. But then I read 2 hours is right and from the begining not end of the last feed. I feel like I'm going mad with worry, I'm crying all the time, please help.

PurplePidjin Sun 02-Nov-14 12:30:22

He's not, he's supposed to feed when he's hungry smile Watch his body language for early hunger cues (moving his lips, rooting his head around) if he gets to the crying stage it's a bit late, so you want to watch for what he does before that point. You haven't messed up if he does cry btw, it's just easier once you figure out the earlier signals took me 6 long weeks to work it out oops

You don't say if you're breast or bottle feeding but afaik the advice is the same for both these days - feed on demand.

Congratulations thanks

PenguinsIsSleepDeprived Sun 02-Nov-14 12:31:03

Is your baby formula or breastfed? And is the problem that he's going longer than you think he should, or that you are worried that he's feeding too often (the latter basically isn't possible in a bf newborn, just to get that out of the way smile)

BananaPie Sun 02-Nov-14 12:31:59

Go with what the midwife said - three hours from the end of each feed. If he wants anything sooner than that, he'll let you know by crying and rooting. You'll fall into your own pattern eventually as you get to know him and his needs. You won't do any harm by following the midwife's advice to start off with.

geekaMaxima Sun 02-Nov-14 12:32:52

Feed on demand - for a newborn, that might be 2 hours between feeds or 2 minutes. Do you know how to look for feeding cues, etc.? And yes, measure from the start of the feed, not the end. The NCT, Kellymom, or La Leche League have great, reliable advice on bf: other internet sites, not so much.

3 hours between every feed is too long for a newborn. The mw should know better hmm

bronya Sun 02-Nov-14 12:33:04

Three hours max from the beginning of the last feed. How was his weight at the 5 day check? Can you look online for a local breastfeeding support group/clinic? I went to one with my first born and it was so unbelievably helpful.

WishUponAStar88 Sun 02-Nov-14 12:33:14

Congratulations on your baby!
It is normal for newborns to feed 2-4 hourly (from the beginning of feeds). So 3hours from the end of a feed will be coming up to 4 hours from the start. Your baby may want feeding sooner than that but there is generally no need to wake sooner than that. If your baby is having plenty of wet and dirty nappies and is alert when awake then they are getting enough milk.
On a side note are you getting support a t home from partner/ family? It is normal for hormones to be all over the place but if you're feeling persistently down then I would let your midwife know.

splendide Sun 02-Nov-14 12:34:31

Breastfed. I'm worried he's going longer than he should. So I had to wake him last night at 2 for a feed but that was 3 hours after he'd finished feeding (at 11). Should I have woken at 1? In the day he normally starts rooting himself after a couple of hours I think. But did one three hour stretch yesterday afternoon.

PurplePidjin Sun 02-Nov-14 12:35:14

FWIW mine was 2 hours between feeds - timed from the start of the feed, and the feeds took around an hour! That was breastfeeding, I have no experience of formula I'm afraid, sorry. And by 8 weeks it was more like 3 hours and a 45 minute feed, they don't stay that scarily fragile tiny for very long xx

hollie84 Sun 02-Nov-14 12:36:22

No more than 3 hours from start of last feed. 8 feeds per 24 hours is a minimum really, you are aiming for 10-12+

Remember that you cannot feed a newborn too often, but you can not feed enough - so offer at every opportunity.

PurplePidjin Sun 02-Nov-14 12:37:25

Sorry, cross posted! IIRC the advice is more 8-10 feeds in 24 hours than strictly timed at 2 hours apart, so if you get the chance to sleep for 4-5 hours at night and then it's more frequent when he wakes up that's fine

Dinosaursdontgrowontrees Sun 02-Nov-14 12:41:52

Mine went 4 hours from about a week old. As long as he's putting on weight and you have lots of wet nappies I'm sure he is fine. Congratulations!

Jenijena Sun 02-Nov-14 12:43:23

Splendide, I remember being in exactly the same boat, also with the tearfulness all the time. The most important thing - is your baby growing, producing nappies etc.? If so, then you're doing it right!

Every baby is different, but mine fed at least every two hours during the day and three at night (that's time from beginning of feed to beginning of feed) at that stage. And often a lot more.

If you're not there already, pretty soon you will probably hit the cluster feeding phase where your baby will want to feed for hours on end, often evening/overnight. This will pass, it shoutout milk supply gets established, but you will need a ready supply of drinks, food and entertainment. It's unbelievableable that a baby who has just fed for two hours won't give you 5 minutes to go to the loo before the next two hour feed, but it is 'normal'.

splendide Sun 02-Nov-14 12:49:55

He's regained birth weight and getting enough wet nappies I think. I'm an idiot but just finding it so hard to calculate. Like yesterday he fed more or less constantly for 5 hours - how many feeds does that count as for the purposes of feeds per day? I can't time from the beginning of that session?

porcito Sun 02-Nov-14 13:02:56

When I had my baby 5 weeks ago, it helped not to think of it in such strict calculated timing terms - I was making myself upset and a bit mad trying to calculate.

Basically, feed when the baby's hungry and for as long as he wants. If he hasn't fed much that day, wake him if he goes more than three hours. If he's fed well and has wet/dirty nappies, leaving him for a bit longer a couple of times won't harm him. I remember the panic when, sleep deprived, I switched off my 3 hour alarm one night and she slept for 5. I felt terrible but she was totally fine and it happened again two nights later

For the most part, they'll say when they're hungry. A few lapses with timing won't hurt so try not to worry too much. Easier said than done!

PurplePidjin Sun 02-Nov-14 13:05:48


Sorry for shouting, but you're not. You're learning just like everyone else has to, and it's not so much a learning curve as a vertical line!

It sounds like you're doing an amazing job, maybe take your focus away from the numbers and onto what an incredible thing you've acheived in creating a whole new person who adores you so very much?

hollie84 Sun 02-Nov-14 13:21:13

If he's gaining weight and asking for lots of feeds in the day then I wouldn't worry too much about exact numbers/timing. Some newborns can be too sleepy and not ask for enough feeds, and that is when it's really important to make sure they aren't going too long between feeds.

So long as you are offering lots of feeds and offering both sides your baby will be fine.

spiderlight Sun 02-Nov-14 13:33:49

Newborns do tend to cluster feed in the evenings - I was totally unprepared for that, but it's normal and is helping to establish your supply. The main thing is to make sure he doesn't go too long between feeds. And you are NOT an idiot!! Good luck.

splendide Sun 02-Nov-14 13:43:42

Thanks all, I'm trying to keep things in perspective but it's so hard on no sleep. It was quite hard to wake him at 2 and I was just sobbing in case of hurt him. Tell me it gets easier? sad

PenguinsIsSleepDeprived Sun 02-Nov-14 13:47:43

A week old and regained birth weight? Well done you! You are doing brilliantly. He sounds like he's doing really well.

If he is feeding frequently you really don't need to worry about counting feeds obsessively. E.g. a baby who feeds on and off for three hours in the evening - don't sweat whether that is one feed or 16. Just go with it. Those numbers are just rough guides to ensure that little babies don't go into 'not feeding enough sleepy shut down'. It doesn't sound like that is a problem for you at all on yoru description.

hollie84 Sun 02-Nov-14 13:57:36

If he fed well at 11pm and fed lots in the day I wouldn't stress too much about longer sleeps at night. If he's hard to wake then maybe strip both of you off and snuggle skin-to-skin in bed and he might just root around and feed in his sleep.

YellowSpoon Sun 02-Nov-14 14:41:15

Back to birthweight means all is great. Follow his cues and you will do fine. You don't need to wake a baby back to birth weight this quickly. You want some big feeds or some feeds close together then you will also get done with bigger gaps too.

Sounds like you are doing brilliantly

PurplePidjin Sun 02-Nov-14 16:37:22

it does. much much easier. you're in the tough part now

splendide Sun 02-Nov-14 17:22:01

I just feel like I'm on the edge of panic all the time. Ridiculous I know. Thank you for the kind words.

AnythingNotEverything Sun 02-Nov-14 17:28:31

Not ridiculous at all. Breastfeeding is hard to begin with. You are eating to know your baby.

As others have said, baby is gaining weight and this is a great sign that enough milk is getting in.

You will relax about this I promise. Trust your baby to order enough milk, and trust your body to supply it. For now, feed baby whenever he squeaks and if you feel he's fed enough in the day, don't worry about a slightly longer stretch at night.


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