What kind of a feeding schedule should my 4 month old be on?

Zoha - posted on 08/19/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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I have a 4 month old and I originally started out with a 2 1/2 hour feed per my doctor's request. I would feed, play and then sleep. This was when he would only stay up an hour to and hour and half. Then he would sleep for and hour to an hour and half. Then as he got older, he would stay up longer, an hour to 2 hours. he still seems to stay on that same feeding schedule which means he only takes half hour naps! He also doesn't seem to take a big feeding after a nap. It is almost like he would rather not eat, for fear that he may fall back asleep. This explains why he only eats for 5 minutes off of one breast and can only last for 1/2 hour naps. This is not enough nap time!! I recently started feeding before naps to see if there was a difference and he eats WAY MORE!! He east from both breast!! He is also taking longer naps. An hour to 2 hours. However, I am still feeding him after he wakes up too ( granted, it is only for 5 minutes!). so that makes his feeding time, like every 2 hours. Shouldn't he be eating every 3-4 hours at this age? Should I drop the after wake up feed? It looks to me , however, now that he is used to this, he looks to be fed after he wakes up ( out of habit). Not sure why my doctor suggested I feed him after he wakes up and not before he goes to sleep. I think she wanted him to have good sleeping habits and not allow the breast to become his crutch for falling asleep. At night we feed him the bottle and put him down half awake to sleep and up until last week ( before the feeding experiment) he was going to sleep more or less on his own and it wasn't like I was feeding him then. But I don't want to start a bad habit either. So what do i do? Feed before and after? Feed only after and deal with him not eating too much? Switch to bottle and see how much he eats ( he eats more from a bottle anyway)? Feed when he wakes up and then a half hour from then again? Feed only before he goes to sleep? Ahhhh...so many options? What do I do?!

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Minnie - posted on 08/20/2009

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A breastfed infant should not be scheduled at all. You're putting your child at risk for failure to thrive and dehydration and yourself at risk for an inadequate supply.



If your doctor is recommending scheduling, then you need to find a new one, because he is not knowledgeable about the process of lactation.



You nurse your baby when he appears to want it. And it's perfectly finet to nurse him to sleep.



There is absolutey no need to use a bottle. If your infant is gaining weight (doesn't matter how much, as long as he's not losing it), if he's producing seedy yellow runny poos and his urine isn't dark or smelly he's getting enough milk.



Remember that breastfeeding is not just about nutrition. It is a very very important source of comfort, security, equilibrium and stability for your child. He also gains valuable immunities and growth factors from your milk. The way an infant breastfeeds cannot be compared to a formula-fed infant.



I have breastfed two children, and did not schedule either one of them, ever. I nurse my ten month old whenever she wants it- how am I to tell her that she does not need my milk or the comfort she receives from suckling at my breast? I cannot presume to know her immediate need. I trust that she knows what her body and mind needs.

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Lucy - posted on 08/20/2009

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Quoting Chelsey:

I would start feeding with the bottle. When you breastfeed you have no way of knowing how much your baby is getting. With the bottle you are able to make sure that your baby doesn't become malnurished. Your baby will let you know when they want to eat. It may be before a nap or it may be after but I don't think that it would become a problem. I would cut out the wake up feed simply because it really isn't nessasary of they are eating before the nap. But if your baby is hungry you will know it.



I certainly wouldn't put your baby on the bottle. If you feed on demand there is absolutely no risk of malnutrition! Brest fed babies will take what  they need!

Chelsey - posted on 08/20/2009

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I would start feeding with the bottle. When you breastfeed you have no way of knowing how much your baby is getting. With the bottle you are able to make sure that your baby doesn't become malnurished. Your baby will let you know when they want to eat. It may be before a nap or it may be after but I don't think that it would become a problem. I would cut out the wake up feed simply because it really isn't nessasary of they are eating before the nap. But if your baby is hungry you will know it.

Lindsey - posted on 08/20/2009

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My son is just 3 months old, but I think you should really listen to your baby, at this age they need to set their own schedule, and it will change so many times. Brennen started eating every two hours after he was born that lasted a month then every growth spurt he hits its every hour and sometimes just thirty minutes. Right now he eats almost every hour and forty-five min. except he naps for about two hours sometimes. However his teeth are coming in and the pain makes him feel like he needs to eat again more often, this won't last for long though i feel like Im doing nothing all day but nursing him. Theres a big growth spurt around 5-6 months, and their schedule will change again... I don't beleive we need to set the babys schedule until they are able to understand to wait, maybe around 6 months. your doing great though and you could probably drop the 5 minute feeding that sounds like a comfort feeding he isn't really hungry. hope this helps, good luck!

Teresa - posted on 08/20/2009

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I always fed, all three of mine, on demand. They almost always fell asleep on the breast, and I usually fed them on my side in bed, so I could just let them nap there. (with siderail net). If they woke up crying and were not happy with me picking them up, and they asked for it, i would feed them again, but they didn't always ask for it. He will tell you, after 4 months, i never kept a schedule, fed on demand. Started bananas and rice at 6 months.

Lucy - posted on 08/20/2009

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Breast fed babies should not be on a schedule. Feed on demand and then you know your baby is getting exactly what they need! As for the feeding to sleep, personally I don't see anything wrong with it and BF my baby girl to sleep at night and for naps.

Shannon - posted on 08/19/2009

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Lily started foods just recently but she was on a regular schedule they let you know when they are hungry the best signs are when being fussy they kick there feet but sometimes with lily you have to check her tummy. for about 3 weeks she would want to over eat..

she eats when she wakes up around 8-9, about 3 hrs later then has a nap, after about 2 hrs she eats again. at about 4 she is hungry then 6 and she goes to bed at 8 of course after eating only on a rare occasion she wakes up in the middle of the night hungry.

Karrie - posted on 08/19/2009

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listen... ur baby will know when he is hungry. just let him let u know when he wants to eat. thats one thing u can count on a baby to let u know when he is hungry!

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