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Breast feeding and routine

(13 Posts)
littlemisss Fri 08-Aug-08 17:23:35

My dd is 15 weeks and I bf on demand for the first 10 weeks. However, I thrive on routine and after reading baby whisperer and GF decided at 10 weeks to gently impose a feeding routine (a combination of the two but which fitted in with my daughters natural cycle). It's worked really well and she feeds at 7,10,1,4,7 (ish) and then sleeps until anywhere between 3 and 5 when she has another feed. The sleeping routine, however, was beyond me and I just let her sleep when she looks tired.

Now I'm thinking ahead to weaning (which I know isn't for another 10 weeks or so but hey I also like to be organised as well as in a routine) and the routine type books I've read suggest 4 hours between milk feeds with feeds at 7,11,3 and 7 and food in between. Dd does now sometimes go 4 hours beteeen feeds soI know she can.

So I guess what I'm getting at is those people who follwed a bf routine - what did you do to get them from 3 hourly feeds to 4 hourly feeds, when did you do it and did it work?

LynseyKCalvert Fri 08-Aug-08 17:30:33

Sorry clueless on this but watching with interest.
Routine about eating and sleeping is beyond me. I eat and drink at all different times of the day. Usually whenever I'm hungry or thirsty. I couldn't imagine sitting down to eat a meal I don't really fancy just because it's "time" let alone if I was a growing baby who's needs change so often.

littlemisss Fri 08-Aug-08 17:39:56

Feeding on demand didn't work for me as i was shoving a nipple in her mouth whenever she cried and with hindsight I think she often just tired. She was constantly snacking and having tiny feeds, whereas now she feeds really well. Although It's a three hourly routine it's not set in stone and I feed her when she is hungry which usually falls anywhere between 2 and a half and three and a half hours (Although sometimes 4 now)

While I agree that I often eat at different times, I also think that I would be a bit pissed off if someone shoved a sandwhich in my mouth everytime I was a bit grumpy - I'd probably have a nibble and then not eat dinner properly later on. Crap analogy, I know, but I really think that's what I was doing to her.

ajm200 Fri 08-Aug-08 17:41:25

We never managed to enforce a strict routine with our LO but I didn't try very hard. He gradually extended the time between his feed to about 3.5 hours when he was ready but he'd go back to having more feeds when he was going through a growth spurt

He would also cluster feed sometimes in the afternoon evening and then go through the night from abou 8-8. Without the cluster feeding, he'd wake at random times for a top-up

littlemisss Fri 08-Aug-08 19:30:46

Maybe she will just gradually extend the time between feeds herself then

JennyWren Fri 08-Aug-08 19:53:43

Littlemisss, I did exactly the same routine with my dd - based on every 3 hours, but sooner if she really was hungry (although because she fed properly, rather than snacking, that tended only to be when she had a growth spurt or in hot weather when she was more thirsty). It spread out to every 4 hours very naturally, I think around 3-3.5 months. We had a rough pattern of eat, 'play', sleep, eat, 'play', sleep... and IIRC, she started to be happy to be awake a bit longer, then by the time she had napped the time between feeds just stretched out towards 4 hours. I had a policy (recommended by the midwives and breastfeeding councellors - we had problems establishing breastfeeding initially) of not allowing her to go more than 3 hours between feeds during the daytime before about 3 months, and then not more than 4 hours after then (but sleep as long as she liked at night grin ) - in practice she then got her main fill of calories during the day and was able to be (and still is at 3 years old) a very good sleeper.

Like your little one, she slept through from 7 until 7 at about 4 months old, although we did reintroduce a dreamfeed at about 11pm when she was 5 and a bit months as I delayed weaning until 6 months and she needed the extra calories (she was waking earlier and I preferred to feed her late evening than early morning!).

By the time it came to weaning, she was very naturally doing 7, 11, 3, 6 and so I gave breakfast after morning milk, lunch about 12, tea about 5. In due course she ate more and stopped wanting her 3pm feed, so I dropped the 11am one instead and brought lunch forward a bit, then she went back to having a good feed at 3pm, etc.

Like you, I found it much easier in a bit of a routine as I knew with much more certainly what was likely to be troubling dd if she did cry - in any case, she thrived on it and was a very contented baby.

Hope this helps!

helips Fri 08-Aug-08 19:54:20

There is nothing you can do, your baby will decide when she's ready to go longer between feeds! As she gets older she will get more efficient at getting the breast milk out and feed times will get shorter and the gaps in between feeds longer. When my ds was 6 months he was on 5 feeds a day with a 3 hour gap in between but didn't need feeding during the night (unless unwell or teething!)

moondog Fri 08-Aug-08 19:56:33

Before you stretch feed to four hourly, ask yourself if you would be happy going 4 hours without an food or drink. I bet you wouldn't and you are 10-15 times bigger than your baby.

littlemisss Fri 08-Aug-08 19:56:45

Thanks for the messages, hopefully it will all fall into place eventually (although as a bit of a control freak I'm probably desperate to help it along!!)

Ineedsomesleep Fri 08-Aug-08 20:01:16

She sort of dropped of the feeds herself after ramming her tiny tummy with as much food as she possibly could.

moondog Fri 08-Aug-08 20:01:46

I'm a complete control freak too but i larnt that this owas one thing I couldn't and shouldn't control. It is too weird to ration food and cuddles for a tiny baby.

Ineedsomesleep Fri 08-Aug-08 20:08:09

I'm with you on that one Moondog. Did feed DD every 3 hours though, and made sure she had a really good feed each time.
Obviously though, if she wanted a feed any other time she could have one!

I know how much I suffer if I'm deprived of food and wouldn't want to inflict that one someone else, let alone my baby!

Tryharder Fri 08-Aug-08 22:05:49

I love routines as well but have to go back to work when DS2 is 6 months old or so and as i do shift work and nights it\s actually not best if he gets used to rigid routines as he will have to fit his schedule in around me working.

With DS1, I tried to impose a routine in the early days which was total crap and failed. However, by the time he was 4 or 5 months old we just sort of slipped into a routine without even thinking about it. Im hoping that will happen with DS2 also...

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