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How do you get a routine if breastfeeding on demand??? 4 month yo(24 Posts)
My question is exactly as it says in the title! I have a 4 month yo baby and have been bfeeding (exclusively, mainly) on demand, as advised by NHS etc from the start. But now everything I'm reading about naps and sleep is about getting a routine in both feeding and sleeping. But has anyone done this even when bfeeding fluctuates with the baby's growth spurts, being ill (he feeds more when he has a cold) etc? It seems like bfeeding and routine are in contradiction with each other! Yet routine appears to be crucial for sleep training and napping. My baby has a routine at night time and sleeps well once he is put down and settled, but I find that he often needs the boob before settling both at night at in the day time. And I want this to stop, so that's why I'm looking for a routine.
I tend to take breastfeeding out of any routine that we get in to. So if I know when we're going out or when they're likely to nap, I can plan whether I need to offer a boob in advance or whether feeding will just fit in.
I can't see how you can BF on demand and also feed on a timed schedule. Like you say, it doesn't work if they're ill, tired, growing, etc.
Is there a reason you want a set routine? 4mo is very young and any routine will change several times over the next few months as baby develops/weans/drops etc.
If you don't want to feed to sleep then find another way of getting baby to sleep (rocking/dummy/sling/buggy/cuddle).
Honestly though, my friends who have had rigid routines and strict rules about feeds etc seem far more stressed and restricted than those who go with the flow more.
Fwiw I found that both my babies became much more predictable on their own after weaning and they were both ebf on demand (DS birth-5m then ff on demand and DD ebf on demand from birth and is still bf at 10mo).
I've found that as my twins have got older, they have set their own routine.
If we are in the house, they will have a BF after breakfast and will nap then for around 45mins.
If we are out of the house, the nap will usually be around 11 and often coincides with finishing the activity and going in the pram/car.
They will have a 2nd nap in the aftemoon once they've had lunch and a BF, around 2pm. That can be an hour or longer usually.
I do BF to sleep though, so I'm not sure if that's what you want to do. Makes sleeping/naps a lot easier!
I don't think you need to worry about routine at this stage - babies will naturally find their own flow, in their own good time, despite feeding. My son was EBF for 9 months and I can't remember how or when, but at some point he began sleeping more at night and less during the day, then went to two naps at similar times during the day, and now at 2.5yo he has an afternoon nap. None of this was enforced deliberately, it just happened! Just try to relax and, as a PP said, go with the flow and follow your baby's lead.
I wouldn't worry too much about a timed routine as such at this age - babies have so many naps at this age that you'll just get stressed watching the clock. Also with a BF baby they need feeding more often as you've seen so just feed when they need it.
What I would recommend though is following a loose routine as advocated by the Baby Whisperer - basically you don't feed the baby to sleep, but rather feed them when they wake up. It makes it easier to get them into a routine later on and eventually sleep through if they can soothe themselves to sleep without the boob.
If he settles and sleeps well for the love of Mike don't fiddle with it!
Routine? What's that?
My dd just fed on demand. That's, whenever she wanted to.
Her dd did the same.
Its all ok.
Dd is 34 and is no longer breastfed.
Dgd is 5 and is no longer breastfed.
All is well.
You'll be fine. Forget 'routine'.
Thanks for all your posts, and reassurances. It helps to know that going with the flow is ok.
odog - I think you're right about finding their own routine. Thanks for reassurance. I want a routine as I heard/read that this is better for stopping them falling asleep /settling on the boob. And I want to stop settling through the boob as I want to ensure he can settle without me after I stop bfeeding as I want to stop at 6 months. I'm going back to work at 10 months and I don't want him to cry at the childminder cos he needs a boob for an afternoon nap! But hopefully by then he'll be happy with cuddles before sleep! (At the moment that isn't working...)
teaandbiscuits - thanks - I am reassured that I do what you do too - as not every day is the same, the only way you could have routine is by locking yourself in and having a school day with strict lesson times! And I can't see me doing that...
chloechloe - yes I read the baby whisperer too - but this baby seems to be more EAESY! I'm trying everything but 80% of the time he needs boob to go to sleep. I spose I understand as I can't sleep on an empty stomach. In fact, other books say don't attempt a daytime nap unless you've checked three things: clean nappy, full tummy and ensure they're tired... that goes against 'EASY' ... argh- so much advice out there and so many theories, I just wish I knew what worked.
Thanks again all of you...
I BF'd on demand. No routine - the routine evolved naturally, more so after weaning so 7/8 months onwards. We got into our own rhythm.
I BF'd both mine to sleep too and that lasted for a while but it didn't go on and on and on. It just ended at some point.
Ha.. thanks also the latest posters - perspective is what need! But still the day to day whittles you away when you're in the middle of it, eh!!
Yes it does and also it's all terribly confusing with so many books, advice, methods, techniques thinking you have to do it this way or that way. It really is overwhelming. All I can say is that I muddled through, I did read lots of books, tried some things out, some helped. Some not so much. I look back though and I wish I hadn't put myself under so much pressure. Now I see that actually I did a really good job! Parenting my babies in the way my instinct directed me. The most important ingredients: love, care, food (others I can't think
of right now). I bet you do all 3 in the perfect way perfectly for your baby!
Re not feeding to sleep - I spent the first months with DD trying not to do that, get her into a cot etc and I was miserable. By the time she started nursery (12 moths), she'd either BF to sleep for naps or slept in the pram/sling/car. She never had a problem napping at nursery. They just found their way of calming her and she slept!
So if this routine thing is making you stressed, I would try not to worry about it. Just think through each day, what you're doing, when he's likely to sleep, when you're going to pre-empt a feed, etc and find your own pattern and that will become your routine.
Thanks teaansbiscuits and deadsouls - it makes me feel better about what I'm doing!!
You do not need a routine. At 4mths you go with the flow and let your beautiful baby decide. Follow their lead as long as they need.
EAESY is fine too and a lot of babies will feed twice before going back to sleep. I do this with my 3mo too! If it bothers you, try moving that second feed forward so you're giving it before they're too sleepy. If the baby falls asleep on the boob then rouse them a bit by gently rubbing their ears.
Don't worry too much about the childminder though - so much will have changed by 10 months. I found naps became easier around 8 months once they're on solids and doing more physical activity. With my first I worried about nursery too and how they would get her to sleep but they've dealt with it all before and somehow manage to get 12 toddlers to sleep at once in one room!
Thanks chloe- that's good to know (about childcarers). I should keep telling myself how much things will chAnge. I'm more relaxed now and just think I'll get him to sleep with whatever works. Thanks again.
Hi I haven't read everyone's posts so sorry if I'm repeating. My daughter is now 10 1/2 bf. And I was feeling exactly like you! I got into a routine with her but it was quite loose regarding to times. So I'd still feed on demand but still kept everything else the same throughout the day just may have been slightly different times each day. I tried to reinforce a bedtime routine (bath, milk , bed) and that worked (although she was up nearly all night) but things just started to fall Into a routine by itself time wise.
It's really hard to remember all of that now and I just remember how frustrating it was and thinking we'd never get into a routine so it won't be like it forever
I think at that age (same as dd) a 'routine' is as much about 'eat, play, sleep' as anything. They'll put themselves in a 3 or 4 hour routine feeding routine when they're ready. The only caveat is that their routine is always changing as they become capable of going longer without sleep or food. Also, if you allow routine to dictate too much you begin missing your baby's signals of their needs when they're getting ill or having a growth spurt. Dd's 'routine' is settling into a fairly predictable morning nap of 2 hours, an early afternoon nap that varies in length and a late afternoon nap which is the shortest of the day. Bedtime is between 7 and 7.30 and she's awake between 7 and 8am. But she's more or less put herself in this routine - all I've done is listen to her cues and helped her where necessary. I still have days where she's a bit unsettled for whatever reason and wants to feed more or less or sleep more or less. In short I think you're doing right by continuing to feed on demand. Just watch that you don't start to assume she's hungry when she's not.
And just to echo that the most stressed out parents I know are the ones who obsess about routine. By all means ease them in by instigating bedtime and awake time, but the rest is just about following a loose eat, play, sleep pattern. Eventually you'll be able to anticipate roughly what time of day they'll be awake or asleep.
I followed the baby whisperer with my lo from about 12 weeks. It basically is eat, play, sleep so I'd feed lo and then 'play' with him for the directed amount of time and then set him down for a nap. Sometimes I would give him a little top up (not part of the routine) but mostly I found that he ended up actually falling into the routine of feeding every 3 hours (in the day) and so I was feeding him on demand when he wanted but he was following the routine. Like I said, I would top him up if I felt he needed it but that didn't interfere with his awake time or naps so was fine.
Ps. Really recommended the baby whisperer!
Thanks everyone. Yes I agree the baby whisperer makes a lot of good points and I do always tell my baby what I'm doing and why etc so he knows what is coming next. I think I'm doing what most of you are doing and letting him lead me in what routine he wants. I agree - o certainly don't want to be a stressed parent!
Worth looking at Janet Lansbury's stuff too.
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