OD Feeding vs. Scheduling?

Adrienne - posted on 12/13/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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I have been finding so many breastfeeding resource books out there with conflicting advice and opinions. Some recommend on-demand feeding exclusively, some (ie: Babywise and similar) recommend semi-strict scheduling and eating/napping routines. I am a new stay at home mom so I want to make sure that I am not only doing what is best for myself and my own schedule, but for my baby. What are your opinions on Babywise type schedules vs. on-demand feeding? I have heard that a child will put himself on his own schedule gradually that melds to yours, I have also heard that a schedule can make your child ill. Currently, my son is 3 weeks old and is going about 2 hours between feedings during the day and 5 at night. Though, last night he slept all the way through!

Many of the schedule-based programs insist your child eat for 10-15 mins per side. My bub only makes 7-10mins on one side per feeding but seems to be thriving well. He has a small BM after most feedings and is wet frequently. Also he has gained about 2lbs since birth.

Sorry this is so long, but there is enough info out there to make your head spin!

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Minnie - posted on 12/13/2009

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The American Academy of Pediatrics has condemned the book Babywise, citing links to failure to thrive, dehydration, and an early end to the breastfeeding relationship. The author of this book is a christian minister, and is not qualified to give infant sleep and feeding advice. He offers no citations, research, or peer reviews of his book.



Of interest:



http://www.ezzo.info/Aney/aneyaap.htm



http://www.salon.com/life/feature/1998/0...



http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detchristi...



All major health organizations recommend infants be fed on demand. There are times in which infants will need to greatly increase feeding frequency in order to stimulate mother to increase milk production.



Human milk is low in both fat and protein, which is common in mammals who keep their infants close by, typically carrying them on their bodies. Human milk digests very quickly, thus necessitating frequent feedings. The best example of the normal course of breastfeeding can be found in primitive traditional cultures and our closest genetic relatives, the great apes.



See: http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detfreq.ht...



Breastfeeding is not just about nutrition. It is an immense source of comfort to a baby, and is intended to be that way.



There will be women who insist that schedules are the way to go, and that it worked great for them. The bottom line is however, no major health organization (LLLI, the WHO and the AAP included) recommends scheduling- all recommend feeding on-demand. The truth of the matter is that the majority of women cannot maintain adequate milk production (by keeping prolactin levels high enough) through scheduled feedings.

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Stina - posted on 12/16/2009

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I have nursed 3 children.

My first I tried my hardest to keep on a schedule. There was a lot of crying because I didn't realize he was hungry because it wasn't "time" for his next meal.

I never read/heard that putting a child on a schedule would make them ill.

My second I still put on a schedule- but I knew to nurse her when hungry- so we were half scheduled feeding/half OD.

My 3rd is 7 mo and I feed her on demand. Her sleep schedule has melded into our family schedule for the most part. Some days she takes two naps- other days, she skips the morning one and sleeps a long time in the afternoon. She goes to bed about the same time as her older siblings.

As for the amount of time per side- this varies with each child and how fast/plentiful of a flow you have. Some are done in 5-7 minutes. Others will take thier dear sweet time and then want the other side as well. I have ample milk so even now, my dd still only needs to nurse one side at a time. And I don't honestly know how long her nursing sessions are- I don't watch the clock. I also can't honestly tell you how frequently she eats. It might be every 3 hours- I know it's pretty spaced out now. I'm sure if I recorded the times for a few days, I'd see she has a pattern- but why add the work?

On demand feeding makes sense. It allows the baby to control and increase your supply to meet thier needs. The time for scheduled feeding is when they are eating 3 meals a day and snacks.

Melissa - posted on 12/16/2009

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I always did on demand feeding. Babies do put themselves on schedules but those schedules change when they hit growth spurts. Your baby will have a happier disposition if they eat when they are hungry not when you allow them to. Eating every 2 hours during the day and going longer at night is fine and if he only eats for less then 10 mins. you may have a quick let down where a lot of milk comes out quick. He is gaining wieght and has enough wet diapers things are going well. Listen to your baby!

Minnie - posted on 12/16/2009

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Teresa, you are obviously coming from a religious standpoint, there is no arguing with that :).

[deleted account]

I find it interesting how different people can get different things out of the same writing. Maybe I just blew over the parts that are being talked about though since I am a big fan of Babywise and Growing Kids God's Way. I have never beat or starved my children though. Nor have I ever seen that 'advice' in those horrific terms when I read and studied both books that are being bashed. Oh well....

Nicole - posted on 12/16/2009

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Quoting Lisa:



Quoting Nicole:




Quoting Lisa:

The American Academy of Pediatrics has condemned the book Babywise, citing links to failure to thrive, dehydration, and an early end to the breastfeeding relationship. The author of this book is a christian minister, and is not qualified to give infant sleep and feeding advice. He offers no citations, research, or peer reviews of his book.

Of interest:

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detfreq.ht...

Breastfeeding is not just about nutrition. It is an immense source of comfort to a baby, and is intended to be that way.

There will be women who insist that schedules are the way to go, and that it worked great for them. The bottom line is however, no major health organization (LLLI, the WHO and the AAP included) recommends scheduling- all recommend feeding on-demand. The truth of the matter is that the majority of women cannot maintain adequate milk production (by keeping prolactin levels high enough) through scheduled feedings.







"If your daughter doesn't eat at one feeding, then make her wait until the next one."   -Babywise








This statement brings tears to my eyes!  Babies look to their mothers for nutrition and love, and if you take this advice, you are not fullfilling either.  Punishing a baby is so heartbreaking to me and that's what this statement sounds like to me.  It might as well of said "because your baby has a small stomach capacity for food and gets full within 10 mintues of eating, you should punish her by withholding vital food and love from her until she learns to eat more"!  








Anyway, I'm sorry, still wanting to cry over that statement. 









What many people who read and support Babywise fail to realize is that Gary Ezzo, the author, is coming from the standpoint of a conservative Christian minister.  With that belief in mind, babies are inherently selfish and attempt to manipulate their parents from birth.  One must teach a two week old 'who's boss'.  Otherwise they'll grow up to be satanic hellians, of course. AND you're sure to get a divorce if you don't follow his program.



He has another book called Growing Kids God's Way, and also runs a child rearing program called Preparation for Parenting and adds to all the crap in babywise the admonition to whip one's children to holiness and obedience.





I think that is the thing that upsets me the most!  I am a Conservative Christian and our church leaders constantly advise that parents should always "teach with love" and example.  Children learn more from watching their parents, so we must be more of a loving example to our children than a disciplinarian.   A "Christian" is someone who follows Christ.  Well, Christ led with example and only ever taught with love, so to be a Christian would be to teach with love and kind redirection.  (But, alot of the doctrines of our faith are centered around the fact that children are innocent, anyway.  So, maybe that's why I don't understand how someone can think that a baby is manipulative.)



I remember when I first stumbled onto an article about Babywise a while back and found that quote, I read it to my husband and he said "so you are suposed to starve your baby because he doesn't know that the boob will not be there in 15 mins???".  I'm glad he gets how ridiculous that concept is, too. 



I feel that children should only receive loving guidence for the benefit of the child, not for the convenience of the parent.  But that's just me...  I am also one of those crazy people who believe that being a parent should be selfless.  See, I am crazy!  lol  But, nothing has taught me these things better than having a child with an Autism related disorder. 

Lesley - posted on 12/16/2009

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Every baby is different and every family is different. OD feeding worked for me and my daughter. I don't follow schedules - I hate them. xox

Deana - posted on 12/16/2009

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On demand is the only way to go. Especially at the beginning, babies go through frequent growth spurts and will need to eat more often as they can only hold a little bit in their small tummies. Having said that, my twins were born 8 weeks premature so with the help of the NICU (they were there for 17 days) they were put on a 3 hr schedule because they did not wake up to feed. Not until they reached their due date did they start demanding feedings, then we switched to on demand. Of course, when one wanted to be fed, I fed the other one. If I fed them seperately, I would have never gotten out of the nursing chair, LOL. That is another thing some people fail to think about. Even full term newborns do not always wake up to be fed, young babies can become dehydrated very easily, so sometimes you have to feed them when it is time. When they get older they might set their own schedule, but it will change every time they grow. If you try and force your child onto a schedule you are only going to drive them and you crazy. Babies don't live by schedule, routine yes, NOT schedule.

Carly - posted on 12/15/2009

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I agree that the phrase "on demand" does sound demanding and I think it scares some people. They imagine it means being totally beholden to the baby and that their lives will be chaos because they never know when their bub will want to be fed. It was my experience (and I think it is fairly common) that babies will find their own "pattern" to the day after a while. They feed mostly at the same times and life becomes pretty predictable. The key is that the BABY has set their own schedule, based on their individual needs. If you try and force a "one size fits all" strict routine, you stifle their instincts for eating, which as someone else pointed out are naturally excellent.

The best piece of advice I ever heard about baby books? Babies don't read them! They have no idea about the shoulds and shouldn'ts and the expectations of others. They're too busy living, growing, loving and being individuals. Enjoy their uniqueness and let them set the pace. It really lasts such a short time.

Vicki - posted on 12/15/2009

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On demand, or I prefer to call it - cue feeding (as on demand makes it sound, well, demanding). I often want a drink or a snack between meals, why would I expect my baby not to?

Sylvia - posted on 12/15/2009

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I was going to say pretty much everything Lisa M says in her first post. :)

Minnie - posted on 12/14/2009

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Quoting Nicole:



Quoting Lisa:

The American Academy of Pediatrics has condemned the book Babywise, citing links to failure to thrive, dehydration, and an early end to the breastfeeding relationship. The author of this book is a christian minister, and is not qualified to give infant sleep and feeding advice. He offers no citations, research, or peer reviews of his book.

Of interest:

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detfreq.ht...

Breastfeeding is not just about nutrition. It is an immense source of comfort to a baby, and is intended to be that way.

There will be women who insist that schedules are the way to go, and that it worked great for them. The bottom line is however, no major health organization (LLLI, the WHO and the AAP included) recommends scheduling- all recommend feeding on-demand. The truth of the matter is that the majority of women cannot maintain adequate milk production (by keeping prolactin levels high enough) through scheduled feedings.





"If your daughter doesn't eat at one feeding, then make her wait until the next one."   -Babywise






This statement brings tears to my eyes!  Babies look to their mothers for nutrition and love, and if you take this advice, you are not fullfilling either.  Punishing a baby is so heartbreaking to me and that's what this statement sounds like to me.  It might as well of said "because your baby has a small stomach capacity for food and gets full within 10 mintues of eating, you should punish her by withholding vital food and love from her until she learns to eat more"!  






Anyway, I'm sorry, still wanting to cry over that statement. 





What many people who read and support Babywise fail to realize is that Gary Ezzo, the author, is coming from the standpoint of a conservative Christian minister.  With that belief in mind, babies are inherently selfish and attempt to manipulate their parents from birth.  One must teach a two week old 'who's boss'.  Otherwise they'll grow up to be satanic hellians, of course. AND you're sure to get a divorce if you don't follow his program.

He has another book called Growing Kids God's Way, and also runs a child rearing program called Preparation for Parenting and adds to all the crap in babywise the admonition to whip one's children to holiness and obedience.

Nicole - posted on 12/14/2009

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Quoting Lisa:

The American Academy of Pediatrics has condemned the book Babywise, citing links to failure to thrive, dehydration, and an early end to the breastfeeding relationship. The author of this book is a christian minister, and is not qualified to give infant sleep and feeding advice. He offers no citations, research, or peer reviews of his book.

Of interest:

http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detfreq.ht...

Breastfeeding is not just about nutrition. It is an immense source of comfort to a baby, and is intended to be that way.

There will be women who insist that schedules are the way to go, and that it worked great for them. The bottom line is however, no major health organization (LLLI, the WHO and the AAP included) recommends scheduling- all recommend feeding on-demand. The truth of the matter is that the majority of women cannot maintain adequate milk production (by keeping prolactin levels high enough) through scheduled feedings.


"If your daughter doesn't eat at one feeding, then make her wait until the next one."   -Babywise



This statement brings tears to my eyes!  Babies look to their mothers for nutrition and love, and if you take this advice, you are not fullfilling either.  Punishing a baby is so heartbreaking to me and that's what this statement sounds like to me.  It might as well of said "because your baby has a small stomach capacity for food and gets full within 10 mintues of eating, you should punish her by withholding vital food and love from her until she learns to eat more"!  



Anyway, I'm sorry, still wanting to cry over that statement. 

Shannon - posted on 12/14/2009

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As far as feeding, leave that up to the baby. They have an amazing full/hungry reflex. Schedules, and making your child "clean their plate" can tarnish that instinct. As far as a schedule, I am a huge fan of them! I'm a planner, schedule type person by nature. What I have done with my 4 kiddos, is using feedings to signal transitions in the day. For instance, right now, my baby (7 months) knows after she has her cereal in the morning, it is naptime. After her lunch solids, it is naptime. Establish a routine that fits for your family.

I strongly believe mommies have an amazing intuition when it comes to their kiddos. Tune into that! Sounds like he is doing just fine and hopefully he will continue sleeping through the night!

Nicole - posted on 12/14/2009

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Wow! I am jealous of your baby's schedule! I feed on demand as well. I'm quite a bit like Kimberly... I try to make my day around my son's routine. Only problem is, it changes every week! Just last night, we got lots of sleep, but that's no guarantee we will tonight!

I can't see a real benefit to trying to schedule feedings so young. The only scenario it seems to be beneficial in is in multiples. Your baby is doing great. I wouldn't change a thing!

Kimberly - posted on 12/13/2009

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I breastfed my son on demand. When he was about 2 or 3 months old, I noticed a strong pattern to his feedings, nappings, playtimes, etc., and so I built a bit of a structure around that, but I always considered myself an on-demand feeder, but one who knew my son's schedule, if that makes any sense. It was kind of nice once I recognized it, because it reduced feeding him in public when we were out, which I hate to admit I was always uncomfortable with. I just got to where I could plan our day easily because I knew when he'd be hungry or sleepy or whatever. And congrats on your son sleeping so well at night! Mine wanted to wake up to nurse every 2 hours until we finally had to modify his nighttime routine and do a bit of sleep training...but all's well now and he's 20 months old, still nursing a couple times a day, and we're expecting a new baby any day now. Good luck to you!



Oh, and my biggest piece of advice to you would be to find what works for you, your baby and your family, as someone else suggested, and then try to ignore all that plethora of advice out there. I continue to pay attention to what others are doing or what books/magazines/etc. are advising, but I have confidence now in the routine I built for our son and our family, so I don't get overhwlemed with the feeling that there might be something "better" being advised by someone else. You'll hit that stride, too, eventually, I bet. :)

Becky - posted on 12/13/2009

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I fed my son on demand. He ate about as often as your's eats until I started feeding him solids at 5 1/2 months. He knew when he was hungry and I was never very comfortable with making him wait for it just because of the arbirtary schedule. I never had a problem with my scheduling...we kind of just went with it. (it was actually very predictable for him, just more often than a lot of my friends. He would only eat from one side after a month old, and there was no forcing him to eat more so he would go longer between feeds, I tried.) He is now a happy and healthy 0ne year old who still nurses when he wants (only about 4 times a day and very predictable in his timing.)

[deleted account]

It's really a decision on what will fit your baby and family the best. I am a HUGE fan of schedules (and Babywise). My twins were on a 3 hour feeding schedule right from birth and thrived wonderfully. I couldn't understand my friends who had said that they nursed their babies every 1-2 hours or sometimes even ALL day long. Then I had my son and all my ideas of how parenting should be went right out the window.....



Long story short.... do what fits your family (especially the baby right now) the best. If you want him on a certain schedule, give it a shot. Just take your cues from him. He should let you know what he can and can't handle. :)

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