How often should I feed?

Amy - posted on 04/18/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Ok, I know most are on demand feeding but my little guy hardly demands to be fed so I make sure I wake him ever 2 hrs to feed him. But it seems like lately he won't stay latched on and hardly is feeding long or much (not as much sowling sounds) as he was before. Sometimes I can't even get him to latch on and he just cries. Should I try every 2 1/2 or every 3hrs? If he is awake and looks like he wants to feed, I try to get him to 2hrs because he just latches on for a minute or 2 then is off. He will be a month old tomorrow!!! I just want to make sure he is leading me to a longer time and make him go longer then he needs.

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Venessa - posted on 04/24/2011

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even though you have gotten a lot of opinions.. i must say i was puzzled when you said you try to feed your little man every 2 hours.. i have heard of it, but it still puzzles me.
Both of my daughters fed every 3.5-4 hours.
At first because they are backwards when it comes to sleeping, i made myself wake mine every 5 hours so they would try to switch feedings around. Within a week or so they were on track and woke up every 5-6 hours during the night.
I found that when i let them sleep at first they were up constantly during the night making up for all the feedings they missed out on.
If he isnt attaching, then he isnt hungry and you cant force it upon him. See how he goes on his own.. if it goes past 5 hours, then i would say wake him and if your still having a problem then you might want to talk to health nurse or doctor

Stephanie - posted on 04/23/2011

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Your baby grows the most when he is sleeping! In these early weeks, it is best to let them sleep and learn the discipline of sleep! Newborns can be fed every 3 to 4 hours. Your little guy is not eating much probably because he is not hungry... don't forget that when they are newborns, the size of their stomach is the size of their fist, so they don't need much. My child fed every 4 hours right from the beginning, and that was a pattern he established himself. If I woke him up to feed, he would get really upset. The main gauge at this stage is whether they are putting on weight, and whether they have at least 5-8 good wet nappies a day.

Sylvie - posted on 04/23/2011

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Is there a reason why you wake up the baby? Babies will wake when hungry, so I wouldn't wake him. I would feed at 3hr-3.5hrs if he hasen't asked yet, unless it's at night and sleeping, then don't wake and enjoy your sleep.

Jesi - posted on 04/18/2011

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Also remember that some babies cluster feed and this means that sometimes through out the day they might eat about 1/2-1oz each time but more often. My son cluster feeds in the early afternoon for about 2 hours. Sometimes it feels like I can't do anything but feed him. But just let him tell you when to eat. It's the best way for them,

Jesi - posted on 04/18/2011

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I had the same problem in the beginning and I tried to let him tell me when he wanted to eat. They wont let themselves go hungry!!! My son ate about every 3 hours and I let him tell me when he wanted to eat and that's what worked best for me. And my son was premature so I think he will be okay eating every 3 hours. hope this helps!

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Keri - posted on 05/06/2011

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You don't need to wake your baby to feed he will wake up when he is hungry. Babies don't feed well when sleepy. Just pay attention to his cues and feed when he is hungry.

[deleted account]

thats what i was running into with my daughter, luckily i sorta knew what to do since i had nursed both of her older brother for the first year when they were babies. and the same thing happened with the boys as well! at the hospital they want you to feed every 2-3 hrs. baby knows when he/she is hungry and will let you know! my daughter would go 3-4 hrs sleeping and was hard to wake up so i just gave up and let her choose when she wanted to be fed and its worked wonderfully....good luck!

Emily - posted on 04/25/2011

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Let baby guide you. He only needs to be nursing 8-10 times/day, so if he only nurses at least once every 3 hours, is gaining weight, then you don't need to worry. Babies this young need sleep almost as much as they need to eat.

Misty - posted on 04/24/2011

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The suggestion of every 2 hours is by lactation consultants so you can get your milk in full supply. It is not good to let a newborn sleep mire than 5 hours without feeding. They dehydrate much faster and for those saying a baby won't starve themselves if they get dehydrated they can be too weak to wake themselves up to eat! I had to set my alarm with my daughter every 2 hours because she wouldn't wake up enough, she would sleep through the night at 3 days old and was losing weight. Once a baby is around 4 months sleeping around 8-10 hours is ok as long as they feed well otherwise and aren't dehydrating themselves. You can check dehydration level by feeling their fontanels/soft spot if it is sunken in then they are not hydrated enough. My son has been a good eater until this last month. He is 6 months and at the stage where he gets distracted easily during his daily feedings so I check him constantly and I pump after to make sure my breasts are emptied so they continue to produce and will be ready when he starts feeding well again.

Rachel - posted on 04/24/2011

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Just make sure his weight is pretty well normal and he is alert still. After my little girl was born, we had troubles getting established. A lot of the day, she would just snooze and not be very active at nursing. When she was latched on, it was weak and she didn't get very much milk. This led to her being tired and not wanting to nurse, which led to no getting much, etc... so just watch to make sure he is still getting enough. Counting diapers through the day is a good indicator. And make sure he stays pretty alert and is continuing to grow and learn. :-)

Katie - posted on 04/24/2011

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Don't wake the baby! Mine was sleeping 5hr stretches at night before we left the hospital and clustering feeding all day and still does at 2mos. If he's awake he rarely goes an hour w/o nursing. Different babies eat differently some are super efficient, some like to linger. Some will be real consistent some more irradic most will change habits as the get older. Unless something is really wrong they will all let you know when they're hungry and when they're not. If your baby is peeing, pooping and gaining weight don't worry, stop looking at the clock , start looking at your baby (they really do tell you what they want) and get some rest! btw my son gained a half a lb from the time in the 3days from when left the hospital until we went to our ped.

Sylvie - posted on 04/24/2011

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All babies are different. My daughter fed every 2-3hrs during the day, and at night was 3-4hrs. And during growth spurts was every 1.5-2hrs around the clock for a few days then all went back to normal. It was like this til about 4months, then stated getting longer stretches before feeds. As for night and day, they usually catch on by 2-3weeks.

My DS was totally opposite. He fed every 3ish hrs from the beginning, and I had to wake him for the first weeks at night as he was born at 36weeks. But after, he started gaining his weight back, I didn't wake him anymore and he started having 5-6hr stretches at night, and by 3 months did 12-13hrs nights.

So I must say Venessa, you were very lucky that both your kids were got themselves on a routine so early. It's very uncommon. Most breastfed babies need to feed every 2-3hrs till about 3-4months before they start stretching.

@Amy, just follow his cues, and you'll figure it out. Give him a chance to ask and listen to his cries/sounds/bodylanguage. Good luck to you, the first few months aren't easy as you're getting to know eachother. Just trust your insticts.

[deleted account]

The only time my doctor told me to wake my baby to feed her was when she was jaundiced. Once she was better, I just let her nurse when she wanted. If she was sleeping, I would wait until she woke up. There really isn't any point in waking them to eat if they're just going to fall asleep as soon as they latch on. :)

Naheeda - posted on 04/20/2011

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I say go with what the baby wants... he will let u know when he is hungry. But it is important to keep an eye on his weight and his diapers. This will tell u if you need to feed more often or not. For now enjoy the extra sleep you can have!

Candace - posted on 04/20/2011

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From what I understand, if he is of normal weight, making messy diapers like he should, and not a premie, the baby will lead the way. I would be thankful if he wanted to sleep for 3 or 4 hours at a time night. When my son was that young, he was was food bag and we were up every 1.5 to 2 hours. He may want to eat more often during the day, then. Just keep a close eye on his weight gain.

Ashley - posted on 04/18/2011

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I would start weighing him if you bottle feed start writing down the amounts and ask your doc in my experience most babys wont starve themselves but there are rare exceptions and its best to be careful. If he is eating the recemended amount or gaining well i wouldent worry.

Vicki - posted on 04/18/2011

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I'd go with the flow. At 4 weeks he may want to go longer than two hours. So long as he is healthy, weeing and pooing enough and has good skin tone he's not going to starve himself.

Amy - posted on 04/18/2011

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I don't know he is noraly still sleeping I wake him to eat most of the time some times no. Ok I did got 2 1/2 hrs and he fed much better and was content then I went 2 just to see he fed but then got off wen tot sleep and hr later was wanting to nurse again. He did not feed quite as well the 1st time. I just want nights to go smove again. If he is always just snaking and not getting a good feeding then he won't go to sleep at night also he is spitting up much more. He realy shows those singes except at night if I have keeped him awake and busy with other things.

Carolyn - posted on 04/18/2011

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you can let baby lead the way. If he isnt latching, or staying latched, he is probably just not hungry. Some babies dont need to eat every 2 hours. My son went 3 ish on average between breastfeeds pretty well from birth.

So long as you know your sons early hunger cues ( tongue thrusting, rooting, hand sucking) and feed him when he is showing those you should be just fine. Let him guide you for a day or 2 and watch you clock, you will be able to pick up on a pattern on how often he is eating to give you a good idea as to what he needs.

just watch his diaper count 6-8 a day and he is getting plenty.

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