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How many breast feeds a day for an 8 mth old?

(27 Posts)
katerj Sun 28-Jan-07 16:45:24

Just wondering how many breast feeds a day my 8 mth old should be having? At the moment she has one first thing, one mid morning, one mid afternoon and one at bedtime. I'm unsure about a few things really - firstly, she tends not to eat much solids for lunch so I wonder whether I should drop the mid morning bf or whether it's more important for her to get the milk. Secondly, apart from the first bf of the day they are all pretty brief - is this normal, or does it mean I'm giving her too many? Finally, I've recently phased out the 'dream feed' (was doing it at 10.00 pm), then brought it forward by 15 min every night until she was no longer interested) and she has started waking a lot more in the night (although I'm wondering whether this is due to separation anxiety so have posted a question under sleep as well) - should I reinstate dream feed or just wait and see if she starts sleeping better? Sorry for long multiple question!!

SturdyAngel Sun 28-Jan-07 16:55:11

I think it depends on the baby and how keen you are to stick to a routine. I feed my 9 month old on demand- sometimes every half an hour- some times every three or four hours, whatever he wants. He still wakes several times at night and I give him a very short feed and put him back down. If he doesn't settle I will sometimes bring him into bed with me and let him feed all night while I sleep! I would love him to sleep through the night but am not really worried about it at the moment.

Tatties Sun 28-Jan-07 17:15:56

I fed on demand, but at that age I think we had roughly the same daytime feeds (plus a few night feeds). My ds didn't eat much solids before 1yo, so I thought it was important to keep up the bf to make sure he was getting all he needed. WRT the dream feed - I would start doing it again and see if it improves the situation, but the night waking could be down to any number of things. I think having quick feeds is also normal.

meanscottishbint Mon 29-Jan-07 08:05:54

i am bumping this for you katerj as i am interested too!

vnmum Mon 29-Jan-07 08:24:02

i asked this same question when my ds was 8 months, hes now 14 months. my hv had told me to cut down to 4 feeds to encourage more solids but after posting on here i got the advise to feed on demand as milk is still the main nutritional source till 12 months.

i still feed on demand now and he still has a dream feed about 11ish and a feed about 4am. i did try and drop the dream feed but he just woke every hour instead so i figured he still needed it.

with regards to the solids, i was worried ds wasnt taking enough, and i was doing baby led weaning but after looking things up in books and on here i decided to stop stressing, as you cant force feed him, and he has eventually started taking more solids now of his own accord.

the thing about breastfeeding is that they can regulate their own appetite as they feed when they want and stop when they are full. they normally take the same approach with solids so try not to worry about the solid intake and just offer plenty of different foods and textures throughout the day.

moondog Mon 29-Jan-07 08:27:56

If you're not working,I wouldn't worry about regulating it.
Go with the flow so to speak.
Milk should be the main source of nutrition up to a year.

CanStarveWillStarve Mon 29-Jan-07 08:35:33

My 11.5 month old dd was having 7-9 bfs a day until a couple of weeks ago, when I actively started reducing the number in order to get her to eat more solids. She now has 3 a day, and eats a lot more.

I wouldn't be inclined to reduce your 4 a day yet at just 8 months.

katyt1 Mon 29-Jan-07 22:03:00

hi, my 8 month old was on 4 a day - same schedule as katerj - until just before Christmas, then he was ill, then i was ill.

now he is on 5 a day (2 sides at bedtime).

plus has abandoned his sleeping through the night. he has slept through the night since 10wks! until his illness. since beginning of dec he has only slept through the night 3 times. most nights he has 2 feeds, sometimes just 1. i tried dream feeding once and he had 2 other feeds - making 3 night feeds, so needless to say, i gave that up as a bad idea!

some people have suggested giving him water, i tried that once too and he just screamed.

his night-waking times are not regular making me think it's not just a routine so i don't want to start controlled crying or pu/pd - don't think i could bear it anyway!
so presumably he is just waking up hungry and i need to go with flow too????

he is eating 3 solid meals a day, and eats a lot at mealtimes, plus i have started giving him snacks between meal & feed times to try and fill him up - no difference so far.

oh, and he put on 18ozs in 2 weeks! so all this extra feeding is doing something! i am getting him weighed again tomorrow to see if the weight gain is still as high.

in the meantime, any advice? or do i just have to grit teeth and hope he sleeps through the night again one day?


sniff Mon 29-Jan-07 22:07:19

my 8 month old still feeds on demand but doesnt eat much solids at all few spoon fulls a day max so she feeds through night as well

katyt1 Tue 30-Jan-07 18:03:38

well as i was posting last night, lo woke up and screamed pretty much non-stop from 10 till 3am!
i fed him 4 times, gave him calpol twice, then he finally gave in at 3am, this morning his ears were leaking gunk - nice - so off to docs. ear infection, great.
then to top it off i knocked the medicine bottle onto the floor and smashed it. doc closes early today so will have to rush back tomorrow, oh good day...

sounds like it is pretty normal for bfed babies to be having night feeds then and maybe we all have to stick with it for a bit longer. doesn't help when illness throws a spanner in tho.


daisyartichoke Tue 30-Jan-07 22:06:36

My 8 month old is now on 3 bf feeds a day. she was on 4 until a couple of days ago but the morning feed was such a battle that i decided to drop it. she now takes more in the afternoon and also enjoys water froma cup at lunchtime. Not sure if this is 'right' but can only go by what she wants, she loves her solid and her milk but is, more and more into her solids. If shes started waking in the night again i would suggest not cutting down feeds during day. Is she very tired for last feed? Is it possible that she isn't taking enough because she is falling asleep? Or could it be teething? Hope you get the nights sorted.

adath Tue 30-Jan-07 22:14:28

Breast or formula milk should be the main source of nourishment for the first year solids at this time are an introduction to taste and texture rather than "food" if that makes sense.
Ds just turning 9 months still fed on demand has anything from 4 upwards BF a day and most nights still has a feed about 11 and another about 4ish but he has recently slept a few 12 hour stretches but only a few.

MerryMarigold Tue 30-Jan-07 22:24:22

my baby went off bf when i started solids, gradually. if i'd fed him on demand it would have been hardly at all! so i did about as many feeds as you are doing now to make him drink SOMETHING - he wasn't keen on water either (they were brief feeds too), although he did feed 2 x in the night as well. in terms of the sleeping thing, he slept with us till 9 mths then went in cot in own room as was fine. sometimes he comes back in with us, teething, not feeling well etc. but quite rarely now.

katyt1 Wed 31-Jan-07 21:40:01

with the whole milk is the main source of nourishment thing, does that mean that what they actually eat during the day doesn't matter quite as much as we think? i am gradually coming round to this way of thinking. i was getting stressed about teatimes and if he didn't eat much, but have decided that it makes no difference to the number of night feeds so am relaxing.
or trying to anyway!

only 1 feed last night so there's always hope....

from what daisy & merry have said, our babies will let us know when they want to cut down, so we need to wait for their signs...

all the best, kt

adath Wed 31-Jan-07 22:45:16

That's right Katy, does not matter much at all in fact in some places in america it is recommended exclusive BF for 12 months before solids in the same way we are recommended 6 months.
Breast (or formula) milk has all the goodies they will need for the first 12 months and the solids are not really intended as a source of nourishment but as an introduction to food so they learn about taste texture etc it is supposed to be messy and fun rather than a 3 meals a day balanced diet.

With DS it does not matter how much he eats in a day he still wakes up once to be fed in the night whether he has had a stuff it all in my mouth day or nope not going near that carrot day. I don't stress I think he knows what he needs better than I do.

katyt1 Thu 01-Feb-07 17:20:13

thanks for that adath, i am taking a deep breath at 'mealtimes' now and reminding myself that volume is not important.

today for instance, tea was mostly cheerios, sultanas and about 2 spoons of the tuna & veg concoction that was meant to be TEA!

ah well, if he can stick to once a night i think i can cope with that. just such a shame when he was sleeping through for so long.


adath Sat 03-Feb-07 11:48:42

the thing is as well that from 8 months on is the time for them to go through huge mental spurts, they are coming up to the time they are gonna be mobile, they are working out language and words in their head and things and sleep becomes an inconvenience while they want to master al these new skills. Their wee brains are going 100 miles an hour so it mus be hungry work.

katyt1 Sun 04-Feb-07 10:32:34

maybe i can tell myself that lo is a right brainbox then cos he's been up twice a night the last few nights, grrrr

and he's up early raring to go again!
his brain is certainly more active than mine right now


katyt1 Wed 07-Feb-07 09:05:28

well i know it doesn't follow with everyone's philosophy but i was getting so fed up with the nights that i decided yesterday to stick it out and not feed him. actually is was no where near as bad as i feared. only 35 mins of complaints and nothing too dramatic. went in about 4 times to stroke his head and he went back to sleep. was of course ENORMOUS this morning!

will see how tonight goes...

this will hopefully take us back to 5 feeds
morning, mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and both sides at bedtime.

fingers xd! kt

monkeymonkeymoomoo Wed 07-Feb-07 09:12:56

(sorry not read the whole discussion ) We were on 4 BFfeeds at 8mths, DD now 11mths and on two a day. She is happy and gaining weight quickly so they are all different! Go with whatever you feel is best for your baby.

BandofMothers Wed 07-Feb-07 13:39:33

My dd2 is 6 mths. She is on 3 meals a day, unless she sleeps through lunch. about 6 or so bf's. Morning, which is usually a good one as they're FULL. Breakfast food, then bf about hour later or sooner, but mainly for thirst(have started trying a cup of water to get her used to it- dd2 not impressed) depending on time of b'fast will bf before lunch. Mid afternoon bf then food about 6pm. Both boobs before bed. Bed at 8pm
Wakes about 11-1pm. Then at 4-6am.
Last night she woke less than 2 hours after 1pm feed so left her. Bit of grumbling, little bit of crying, but went back to sleep til 8:30am so wasn't hungry. Think they often bf at night to get back to sleep, up to you if you control cry or not, but it does work. dd2 took about 5 weeks to not cry at bed time. Trick is, if you can listen to the crying, to NEVER pick them up. just go in and let them know you're there still.
They will let you know. Most of her feeds are 10 mins or so. Hope it helps.
My mum says if you moved the dream feed forward then perhaps that's why she's waking again. Might still need it. Try putting it back and see!!

ImpyChica Wed 07-Feb-07 14:30:29

Hi there

I've found that my DS (7 months) sleeps much better if he's had loads of porridge/something equally filling for his tea. I know babies get all their nutrional needs from bm/f but I think some babies like the sensation of being 'full'.

If DS has had a really good eating solids day, he'll often do a good 8 hour chunk at night (11pm - 7am for example). Bliss. Yesterday he didn't eat that much and woke up at 5am, fed both sides then we had to wake him at 8am and he didn't want any milk from me before I took him to nursery - grr! Cue uncomfortable morning in the office! (Least I only work mornings)

I cut down to three feeds a while back (morning, lunch, bedtime) with my DP giving DS a bottle of formula as a dreamfeed. It worked well with getting DS to sleep through but I got blocked milk ducts and was in agony for a couple of days - so knocked that idea on the head!

It's a real tricky one, isn't it? Damned if you do, damned if you don't! Will be watching this thread for more tips!

katyt1 Fri 09-Feb-07 15:36:35

well night 2 was v promising, only 15mins of crying and i only went in 3 times.

then last night, 15mins crying with 2 trips in at 1am, thought excellent, we are starting to crack it....
then 45mins crying at 3 am with about 7 trips in, grrrr & tired, yawn...

dh has been away so gave him last night off but he's on call tonight so will issue strict instructions! sure it will mean me sitting there awake but at least not having to go in and brave the tears.

have just put him in cot for afternoon nap awake (he would normally sleep about now but after a bf but we were out and he didn't fall asleep in the car), a few mins crying and i was just thinking i'll post this then go get him but, silence.....either he's asleep or he's trashing the place very quietly...

we are off to my parents on sunday then have in-laws here next week so i really want this to work! meanwhile i would be getting more sleep if i just fed him....

will try something filling for tea but tbh he is fickle about food, sometimes downs whatever i give him, other times not a mouthful gets in!

will be back with the next instalment....

katyt1 Sat 10-Feb-07 14:23:14


please please let this be the (re)start of a decent nights sleep!

mummynumnum Sun 11-Feb-07 07:15:31

My dd 8mths has been just the same and gone from being a good sleeper to all over the place. I feel very reassured now that this could be a mental/growth spurt. It is funny, as she does seem to want to play at about 2am in the morning and definately finds daytime sleeping an inconvenience!

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