About what age or weight do most babies start eating every 4 hrs during the day?

Kellie - posted on 01/30/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )

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My baby is currently 3 weeks old and weights around 10#. I make sure he eats every 3 hrs during the day even if I have to wake him. At night I let him wake me and he usually goes every 3-4 hrs. When are most babies able to start going every 4 hrs during the day. This is my second baby but my first is almost 5 and I can't remember when I switched from 3 hrs to 4 hrs. Thank you in advance for any advice.

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Leslie - posted on 02/05/2011

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I wouldn't let him go 4 hrs. durring the day till he's sleeping through the night. My son was around 3-4 months when he started stretching out to 3.5 hours then around 5-6 months he started going 4 hr stretches durring the day. However my milk supply started to decrease so I had to add back in another feeding. You don't want to stretch it out too quickly too soon. It's better to wake him durring the day and make sure he gets enough calories that way he might not wake you at night.

[deleted account]

I always fed on demand and my daughter ate at least every 2 hours for quite some time. Breast milk is digested very quickly, about an hour or so. I wouldn't expect a baby to go 4 hours until they are eating lots of solids. I remember my daughter being a newborn and I would think, "you just ate an hour ago, how can you be hungry?" Then I learned more about how fast breast milk is digested and about hunger cues (http://kellymom.com/bf/start/basics/hung...). Once I started feeding her before she got to the late signs of hunger we were both much happier. If your baby is happy going longer between feeds then go with it, but don't forget about growth spurts (and you are close to the first major growth spurt which usually occurs between 4-6 weeks). If your baby wants to feed more often then just know that it's perfectly normal.

Vicki - posted on 02/05/2011

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Where is the four hour thing from? Sounds silly to me, I wouldn't go four hours during the day without food or water so I wouldn't expect a tiny baby to. I fed on demand and only woke him for feeds during the first week or so when he was too sleepy from jaundice.

Leslie - posted on 02/05/2011

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One more thing, we also do the eat/activity/sleep cycle and you can always cluster feed at night. So for example if you nurse at 3.30 then nurse again at 5:30 and again before you put him to bed. Then around 10 or so when you go to bed dreamfeed him. That gives him some extra to go on to make it through the night.

Kellie - posted on 02/05/2011

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Well the baby wants to go every 4 hrs during the day which is why I was asking. I was trying to figure out whether to keep waking him to stay feeding every 3 hrs or to let him sleep. I think I will keep waking him because it makes since to load him up during the day so he'll hopefully go longer at night. I just hate to wake him because he gets crabby so fast when he's tired and may not get as good of a feed in if he's too tired. Thanks again for all the advice. It was all very helpful.

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Elizabeth - posted on 02/05/2011

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My DS is 19 months and he still only sometimes goes every 4 hours! He nurses before he gets up at 8, he nurses before his nap at 11, he has an afternoon "quiet time" nursing session to help him get calm and have a little time with low stimulation anywhere between 2:30 and 5:00, then he nurses to sleep at 8. It is much less "urgent" than it is with a newborn though. :)

I agree that 4 hours shouldn't be some magic number. Not every baby can go that long. And even now that he's a toddler eating real food, he's still hungry for a small meal or snack every 2 hours. I don't think I'm promoting a "bad habit" - this is what he needs biologically and I am simply meeting those needs! Same with the frequency of nursing.

Michelle - posted on 02/05/2011

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My mum told me to start feeding every 4 hours asap and give her water inbetween feeds, personally I thought it was too long and fed her every 3 hours but thats what she did with her kids

Stephanie - posted on 02/05/2011

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Let your baby guide you. My son was also 10% at birth, but he just loved to nurse and can nurse for up to 45-60 mins. He also loved his sleep, so would happily sleep 2-3 hours during the early months. Because of this, we went onto a 4 hour schedule straight away (or else I feel I am feeding all the time, or he keep missing his sleeps because I keep waking him), but nursed on demand during growth spurts. At 2 months, he jumped from being 10% to 50%, and at 4 months, he went up to 75% percentile. Even now at 8 months, he is a healthy 50% percentile. I say go with what your baby wants.

Nicole - posted on 02/05/2011

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My 6 month old still eats every 2.5-3 hours during the day and every 4-6 at night. Her hunger cues are super subtle so the clock helps me a ton. I would also recommend continuing to feed at least every 3 hours during the day. And going a bit longer at night. It takes a while for them to get day and night figured out and the longer you let him go during the day the more he may wake you at night.

Allison - posted on 02/05/2011

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My son was 10# at birth, and he didn't go 4 hours between feedings until about 1 year old, about 30 pounds.



I did not schedule him, but fed on demand. He was exclusively breast fed.



I worked full time so I had to pump about every 2 hours at work until he was 1 year old. I told his nanny to also feed him the pumped milk on demand, but he ate less often when I was at work :) But I didn't make as much for the pump, so I still had to pump really often to make enough.



He started solids at 7 months, but wasn't eating very much of them until 1 year old, either, so that's probably why he kept drinking so much milk. Hope that helps!

Katie - posted on 02/05/2011

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I always fed my daughter on demand. She's 10 months now and she only goes 4 hours between breakfast and lunch, other than that, she eats every 2-3 hours. My daughter was sleeping through the night at 3 weeks old (6 hours at a stretch) and the dr said that was fine. Right now she only nurses 4 times a day. (except when she was sick and wouldn't eat any solids, then she ate 5-6 times) I would feed your baby on demand. If he wants to eat frequently, then feed him frequently. If he'll go 4 hours, then that's ok too. He'll let you know when he's hungry.

Lauren - posted on 02/05/2011

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Hmm, my kids didn't drop back to 3-4 hours until they were much older, like, 7-8 months old. Overnight they'd give me a chuck of 4-6 hours but during the day they pretty much nursed constantly until they were regularly eating solid meals. My first nursed every 1-2 hours until 6 months! Diff kids/diff schedules.

Sylvia - posted on 01/31/2011

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HAHAHAHAHA :D

My daughter is 8, and she still eats way more often than every 4 hours during the day. So do I, for that matter. So I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you ;)

Karla - posted on 01/31/2011

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I personally would reccommend you continue to feed every 3 hours until he is going longer before he wakes you at night. That way you can hopefully get more feeds in during the day and he will soon start going longer between feeds at night:)

Jennifer - posted on 01/31/2011

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I think it really depends on the baby. My son is 4.5 months and still eats every 2 - 3 hours. We feed 100% on demand. I don't really recall what happened with my daughter as she's almost 7 and has been weaned for 3 years now.

Kellie - posted on 01/31/2011

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Thanks everyone. I think I'll quit waking him during the day at the 3 hr mark and let him go 4 if he wants. I definitely know when he's hungry and think he may have even had a growth spurt last week because there were a couple days he was eating every couple hrs. We are on a good routine. He does Eat, Activity and then Sleep and he does pretty good going to sleep in his bed. I'll just keep listening to his cues.

Minnie - posted on 01/31/2011

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Hmmm, well, I'll let ya know, because I have a nearly 2 1/2 year old who still nurses at least every two hours :).

In all reality, it totally and completely depends on the baby. Some take more milk in fewer sessions, others continue to have very short nursing sessions (like my daughter) but very frequently.

Celeste - posted on 01/31/2011

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I agree, it depends on the baby and not necessarily weight. Go by baby's cues. Most babies will put themselves on a schedule. My first daughter was probably around 3-4 months when she went longer between feedings. However, my twin boys ALWAYS nursed every 3 hours (or sooner). And with all 3 kids, it was never mother led, it was baby led..

Carolyn - posted on 01/30/2011

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It really depends ! Sometimes bigger babies can go longer than average or smaller babies.



My son was born 9lbs 3 oz and after the first week or 2 , he would easily go 3-4 hours between feeds sometimes.



Pay attention to early hunger cues and feed on demand. He will let you know when he is hungry, but you have to be paying attention. Let baby take the lead, and he will let you know the rough time frame in which his milk is lasting him.



I know i have super fatty milk, and Logan was a very efficient nurser from the get go. After getting over my initial " is he eating enough" paranoia and learned his hunger cues, it was very easy to establish a routine.



I emphazise routine and not schedule, because a routine is just a sequence of events, that is predictable and not based on time. I like eat play sleep, eat play sleep. Now your eating is going to last much longer than any playing. Playing could even mean the 10 minutes he manages to stay awake between eating and sleeping LOL.



I would say the fact that he is wakin gyou every 3-4 hours at night is a good indicator that his food is lasting him that long.



Avoid schedules, establish a routine ( its good for you and baby) that works for you, and go with the flow, feed when hungry !!

[deleted account]

My girls were schedule fed from birth and I 'think' they were around 4-5 months when they switched from a 3 hour to a 4 hour schedule. That was 9 years ago though, so I could be off a little.

My son was never on a schedule and would go 4 hours between feeds on a GOOD day.... at almost a year and a half. ;)

Brittany - posted on 01/30/2011

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my son is now a week shy of 8 months and we didnt start letting him go 4 hours between feeds until 6 months. he is a little alarm clock however and somehow knows what time it is all the time. at 3 weeks we were stil feeding 2-3 hours at most. every baby is different and a schedual shouldnt be forced but as you already know, it all depends on the child and if he is gaining weight and has the proper amount of diapers daily then its perfectly ok. :)

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