Feeding on demand or to a strict routine??

Jenny - posted on 01/20/2010 ( 20 moms have responded )

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My baby is approaching 2 weeks old...most of the time she goes between 3 and 4 hours between feeds (bottle!) but sometimes if she doesnt settle after a feed very well, she'll be hungry an hour and a half later. I dont want to stop her from eating if she's hungry, so I give her some milk (she normally doesnt quite want a full bottle) but I'm worried about whether I'm doing the right thing or not. If anyone has any thoughts I'd appreciate hearing them! Jenny x

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Jess - posted on 01/20/2010

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My daughter demand feeds and it works for us. It can be difficult knowing how much she wants and like your daughter my baby also varies how often she wants to be fed ! I usually just make up bottles of 2 different sizes and go switch between them. Her first feed in the morning is always a big one along with her last bottle, and her day feeds switch between big and litle. Just remember your baby should never finish any bottle she is offered, if she does is not enough milk ! Im interested to see how many breast is best messages will appear here too !!! ( Sorry I know its mean, but the message's always come and its not fair. Not everyone can breast feed!!! ) Us bottle feeding mums need to rally together sometimes !

Cassie - posted on 02/08/2010

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It could be that your baby just wants to suck... she's probably not actually hungry at all (which would explain why she's not eating much). If she can go 4 hours and eats a full feeding just fine, I'd try to keep her to that. The biggest thing you need to strive for is make sure she gets full feedings... snacking is only going to cause confusion. Both my boys have done that... it really got crazy with my first because he'd wake up in the middle of nap time and I'd think he was hungry, but he'd just reached the part of his sleep cycle that was light and woke easily. It's so hard figuring the sleeping/eating schedual with new borns.
It'll work out soon enough... hang in there!

Jennifer - posted on 02/08/2010

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I started feeding on demand (breastfeeding) then moved into a routine around 3 months because he wasn't sleeping well during the days. Once i put him on a feeding routine it worked for a bit then I found he was skipping feeds and waking more at night and I started to get worried if he was getting enough so i threw the feed routine out the window. I would feed on demand until you start solids. If they are full they won't eat. I recently watched The Dunstan Baby Lanbguage dvd and I loved it!! It teaches you 5 key sounds that all babies make and there is a distinctive Nah/Neh cry sound that babies make when they are hungry. Since watching the dvd I now notice my son doing it whenever he is hungry:) Who would of thought there was an instruction manual available to us!! My son is 5 months old and we kind of have a routine based on his needs. I feed at 7am every day and 3-4 hoursly after that and I always finish my day with his bedtime feed around 6 or 6:30pm. If he wakes hungry at night I feed him. Your baby is too young for a strict routine and her tummy is so small that she will need to eat frequently. Someone told me to write down what times your baby eats and sleeps for the 1st 8 weeks or so then have a look back and you will find your baby have developed her own routine. You can then go off of her needs and tweak it a bit ot suit some of your needs(like getting out of the house!!).

As long as you offer food when she appears hungry and she has gained back her birth weight and is peeing regulary I wouldn't stress about it too much.

Good luck!

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I schedule and demand feed...lol. My 3 month old son is an eating machine and if he could he would permanently attached himself to my boob! Hence the flexible schedule. He's fed every 2 hours but if he's hungry earlier than I feed him or if he's not showing signs of hungry around the 2 hour mark then I will wait for his cue. But it is unusual if he goes past the 2 hours, like I said eating machine. From about 5 to 7:30pm he cluster feeds because he knows he'll be going to bed for the night at 7:30 but I'll wake him up for his 11pm feeding to top him up for the night.



It really depends on your daughter, every baby is unique and only you know what's best for her; go with your gut. Your daughter will let you know, trust me!! And yes, I breast feed and I don't condemn anyone who chooses to bottle feed, that's an individual choice which is no one else's business but your own!

Stephanie - posted on 02/06/2010

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I fed my LO on demand because she would go apeshit if I didn't. It was out of necessity. I try to hold her off a bit, but she won't have it.

Stacie - posted on 02/05/2010

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i demand feed my 1 month old. she is happier and at night i acctually get more sleep. she is bottle fed and takes 4 oz a feeding and even sometimes more. i found out if i feed her right before i put her to bed for the night she will sleep longer usually about 5 hours. some night she doesnt even wake up and some she only wakes up once. i also tried breatfeeding but we had to teach her to suck when she was born so i couldnt do it.

Niki - posted on 01/28/2010

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I feed on a strict schedule. It helps to work our days around feeding times and once you know how many ounces your little one should take to keep her satisfied they get used to the routine.

We started with 2 ounces every 2 hours. Then she went to 4 ounces every 2 and a half hours. Then we were at 5 every three hours and now at 3 months we are at 6 ounces every 3 hours (Sometimes she goes longer if she sleeps past her feed time)

Our ped said this was okay and that she is healthy and very happy.

Note-once your baby is used to the time period between feedings her body is like an alarm clock. My little girl will cry at 3 hours on the dot to be fed and that's about the only time she cries.

Jenny - posted on 01/24/2010

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I'm so pleased that everyone's comments seem to be similar - feeding on demand and letting your baby tell you what they need seems to make the most sense to me, and its what I wanted to do but to be honest, I'd gotten really confused after a friend of mine gave me the contented little baby book, which she swears by. I dont know if anyone has ever read it, but its AWFUL!!! It talks about putting a baby into a routine from birth, slating mums who bottle feed (I tried breast feeding but it just wasnt right for us) and leaving your baby to sleep in a room or her own : (
Anyhow, I've changed Bethan's formula to SMA and it seems to have really helped!! She seems much more satisfied after feeds and MUCH less burping to do. Thanks for all these responses ladies, they really helped xxx

Monique - posted on 01/23/2010

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my bub is 2 months on tues and she did that at bout 2 weeks too. so i feed her when shed cry but it turns out it was just wind witch can apper to make them hungry so at 3 weeks i went to the chemist and go some infacol to help with wind shes bein fine scince =]

Jessica - posted on 01/21/2010

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When they are that young I think demand feeding is best. They are so new to everything and not used to being hungry (if you think about it, they were never hungry in your womb), and have a lot of growing to do. And their tummies can only hold so much at a time, so once they digest that they need to eat again. I can't imagine making a baby wait to eat, to me that just seems cruel. I mean I know people do scheduled feedings that young, but I couldn't do it. For the first few days my son ate like every 1-2 hours, then it was every 2 hours (about) until he was 3 months old. Then he started being able to go longer stretches. I know it seems like a lot and its overwhelming in the beginning, but it does get better!

Sarah - posted on 01/21/2010

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i felt the same when my son was tiny. at night he had a period were he'd have his bottle and an hour later he'd want another one. i called it his fussy period .. but i used to feel that i wasn't doing it right either and that he should be sticking to his 3-4hour period .. i spoke to my health visitor about it and she said theres no need to have a schedule if he's hungry he's hungry.
i wouldn't think putting a young baby on a feeding schedule is a good thing.
so like most other mums on here i believe you should feed your baby on demand.

Casey - posted on 01/21/2010

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I was concerned if my baby girl was eating too much when she was a few weeks old too. Sometimes she would eat every 2 hours and other times she would be hungry an hour later. I asked her doc about it and he said to feed her as much as she wants. When they are infants they are growing constantly and need the nutrition. Babies wont over eat. Some babies just demand more food than others.

Amber - posted on 01/21/2010

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my daughter is just over 2 weeks old and we dont demand feed. but shes also been very good with being on every 3 hours. she started out on 2 ozs and it only took her a couple days to eat it all then last week she was at 3 now shes up to 4 oz at one time. i found if she eats more than that she is super fussy and has trouble falling asleep or she spits up. if she starts fussing before her 3 hours we give her all the water she wants. it helps her poop too. shes been on the soy formula so water def helps:) shell only drink about a half oz and that usually will do the trick until its feeding time. hope it helps :)

Dina - posted on 01/20/2010

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my daughter was the same way. I went on the idea of give them as much as they want. I thought it was a lot bu t my doctor stated that it should be approximately 2.5 ounces of formula for every pound in a 24 hour period. Sometimes she would only take an ounce. Other times she would drink as much as 4-5. Until she was two months old I would have to wake her up after four hours to feed her to keep her on a very liberal schedule other wise she would be too mad she was hungry and cry and not eat.....Babies can be wierd sometimes. You will pick up on their subtle clues about being hungry.

Erin - posted on 01/20/2010

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Newborns need to be fed on demand, whether breast of bottle fed. Their stomachs are only so tiny and they're sleep cycles are not established either. My daughter was breastfed and was feeding every 30-45mins through the day at your baby's age. She didn't start to fall into a regular feeding pattern until at least 8 weeks (and by then was on formula). I believe we need to follow the cues of our newborns rather than try and implement a routine so young.

Kristen - posted on 01/20/2010

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I'm with Jess.....I demand feed which was actually advised by my Midwife NOT to do.After speaking to my mother in law and sister inlaw and hearing how they did it I decided to do it and 10 months on I am still comfortable with it.I manage to work around his demands.(by the way I breast feed)...lol.

Lisamarie - posted on 01/20/2010

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Hi, my children were both hungry babies, feeding every 2 hours. My daughter had to go on milk for hungrier babies at around 8 weeks. I put my sons bottles up an extra ounce at around 6 weeks, I don't think the health visitors were too happy but when I insisted he was still hungry and I couldn't let my son starve they "allowed" it. I personally don't see the problem in what you are doing, I did the same thing, but try making smaller bottles if its too frequent, ie; If she drinks a full bottle and is then hungry an hour and half later make her a bottle hallf the amount as the first one she had. Always make sure she has her full bottle first though and, obviously, only if she needs it and you may go through a lot of sterilizing! I hope this helps, good luck! :)

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