what happened to feeding every 4 hours?

Marcia - posted on 11/28/2009 ( 30 moms have responded )

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My baby is almost 4 months old and she still feeds just about every 2 hours and only about 4 oz of (expressed) breast milk, should she be taking more than that by now?

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Barbara - posted on 11/29/2009

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Babies are built to nurse often. They have very small tummies. They are not designed to take in a large amount of milk so they can go longer intervals. She is still very young. I think it's totally normal.

Shanta-Kei - posted on 11/28/2009

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If she is hungry she will tell you. Babies change their feeding habits regularly depending on whether or not they are teething or going through a growth spurt. If you are horrible concerned try adding a table spoon of rice cereal to a bottle for her night time feeding or just before bed feeding. Unless she is looking unhealthy I would think she is fine. If anything, trust your instincts, if you don't think it's right, ask your doctor.

Clara - posted on 12/01/2009

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My 15-month-old daughter still nurses every 2-3 hours during the day, even now that she's eating a lot of table foods, and won't drink more than about 4 ounces expressed in a cup while I'm at work, and she's still nursing 1-2 times at night, too. Each child is different and, as long as little one's gaining weight, you know you're doing fine! Congrats on being an exclusive pumper. One of my cafemom.com friends did it for 13 months!

Emma - posted on 12/01/2009

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My son who is now just a little over 5 mo still feeds every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours during the night. I was worried at first but that is how he eats. He is gaining weight, just he prefers to eat a little less, more often.



When he was first born he would eat every hour, so we have made lots of progress lol But I wouldn't worry, your baby will let you know how often she wants to eat and just go with the flow.



You could try and see how long your baby feeds for at every feeding. My son tends to do a big feed then a little feed throughout the day, whereas at night he just does what I call "mini feeds". At his 4 mo check up he was 15lbs and when he was weighed just last week he had gained about 1 1/2 pounds.

Linsey - posted on 11/30/2009

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maybe she eats less because she eats often...that is how my baby is and her brother was too. If she is gaining weight and her pediatrician is not concerned than you shouldn't be either.

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Marcia - posted on 12/01/2009

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i dunno why my posts dont work...anyway, she does sleep the whole night and it makes sense for her to compensate for not feeding at night. i just assumed that since shes bigger that her stomach would be able to hold more and she'd want to have more ounces less frequently. i'll just continue doing what i've been doing then, until i can't pump milk anymore lol. thanx!

Marcia - posted on 12/01/2009

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Quoting ASHLEY:



I wouldn't worry sounds perfectly normal...





does she sleep thru the night? i noticed when my son started sleep 10 hours at night he would nurse more frequently during the day. he went from every 3-4 hrs to every 1-3 hrs. basically he gets about the same number of feedings he did before just in a shorter period of time.




Karen - posted on 11/30/2009

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GOOD FOR YOU for pumping even if the baby would not latch on. Breastmilk is the best for sure no matter how they get it. If your baby is ganing weight about 6 and 1/2 oz a week you are doing fine. I wasn't sure if I was giving him enough so I purchased a baby scale. It may be expensive but was worth my peace of mind. My little guy is on formula now (cuz i had a medical procedure and had to stop nursing) and it is a completly different story with Formula

[deleted account]

Every child and family situation is different. When my twins were born they were on a 3 hour feeding schedule right from birth. I forget when we switched to a 4 hour schedule (probably 4-6ish months), but they were exclusively breastfed w/ some solids for fun and thrived wonderfully.

My son, on the other hand, is a different story entirely. I did attempt a 3 hour schedule in the very beginning (never made it that long), but he is a different child than his sisters and we are a different family than we were then. Now, at 20 months, he will sometimes go 4-6 hours w/out nursing (occasionally up to 10 during the night) and sometimes nurse 2-3 times in an hour. It depends on his mood and what we are doing. He is still mostly fed on demand, but we do have limits.

Minnie - posted on 11/30/2009

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Quoting Caitlin:

To Lisa:
I'm not starving my child, I feed her when she says she is hungry. I'm not trying to get her to binge, we're just following her schedule she has set for herself. As you can see from other posts, feeding every 2-3 hours is much more common.
I'm not offended by your feeding habits, I just feel sorry for you. I've been getting full nights of sleep for several months now, and you aren't. How can you go on dates with your husband? Or go out to the movies with a friend? Or go on a road trip to show your baby off to your relatives? If you have to stop and feed her every 15 minutes?



I'm not saying you're starving your child at all. 



And you needn't feel sorry for me- I don't feel sorry for myself one bit.  Although my daughter wakes several times a night I am not poorly for it at all.  I am happy to meet her needs, and really don't feel inconvenienced by her 'snacking' one bit. 



Again- we are of different parenting philosophies.  If you read the articles I provided you have a good idea of what mine is. I am confident that the way I nurse my daughter is the natural normal course of breastfeeding as evidenced by anthropological research on humans and research on the primates genetically closest to us.

Erin - posted on 11/30/2009

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my little girl is 2 months old eats every 2 to 3 hours sometimes 4 if she naps or we are out during the and is sleeping 5 to 7 hours at night without eating and she is perfectly happy. as long as your baby seems content and isn't wanting more and gaining weight you are doing just fine. both my doc and lactation consultant said feed as often as she is hungry. if your doc is concerned then you should worry if not then everything is fine

Caitlin - posted on 11/29/2009

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To Lisa:
I'm not starving my child, I feed her when she says she is hungry. I'm not trying to get her to binge, we're just following her schedule she has set for herself. As you can see from other posts, feeding every 2-3 hours is much more common.
I'm not offended by your feeding habits, I just feel sorry for you. I've been getting full nights of sleep for several months now, and you aren't. How can you go on dates with your husband? Or go out to the movies with a friend? Or go on a road trip to show your baby off to your relatives? If you have to stop and feed her every 15 minutes?

Liane - posted on 11/29/2009

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My girls never took more than 4 ounces of breastmilk from a bottle at a feeding even when they reached 9 months old... they still needed to have a bottle every two to three hours while I was working. Remember every baby is different. Even though you are bottle feeding her your breastmilk you should still feed her when she shows hunger cues. Some days may be more, some less. It's perfectly normal for her to be feeding every 2 hours so try not to worry!

Jillian - posted on 11/29/2009

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Quoting Lisa:



Quoting Caitlin:




Quoting Lisa:

Four hours for a breastfed baby? An exclusively breastfed four month old baby? No. I don't think so. The biological norm for breastfeeding is 3-4 times an hour and several times a night. My own 13 month old has only slightly decreased her nursing frequency down to about twice an hour, and she nurses typically every two hours at night.

The kellymom website Brenda linked to is excellent.








To the original question: no its normal to go that short, and in my books they say breastfed babies need about 1.5 oz per hour. My daughter chugs more than that, especially when she is feeding from the bottle and not from me, but as long as your child is healthy there is no need to worry. And if exclusively bottle feeding is what works for you, then thats what works.








To the quote above: are you kidding? Thats ridiculous. Do you just walk around the house topless all day? Its hard enough for me to get situated and my top undone to feed my 4 month old daughter every 2-3 hours. And thats when she says she's hungry. My daughter has also been sleeping 8 hours at night since she was 1 month old. I think maybe you need to re-examine your feeding habits with your child. What happens when you want to go on a date? I mean its good that you are listening to your kids hungry signals, but maybe you're misinterpreting the need to suck as a need for food. Feeding that frequently seems really unhealthy.









I'm not sure why my daughter's nursing habits have seemingly become a personal affront to you.






However, it is true that the normal course of breastfeeding is 3-4 times an hour, of a few minutes each.  Why is it difficult for YOU to feed your daughter every two to three hours?  I'm not sure I understand that.  We are mothers.  We don't just ignore our children.






Now, concerning your statement that I'm 'misinterpreting the need to suck as a need for food'- well, I think that you are misinterpreting the purpose of nursing- which is NOT just for food, but for comfort as well. 






Heh, and no, I don't walk around topless.  It takes all of 2.5 seconds to pull my shirt up, my bra down and latch her on.  Nurse nurse for 2 minutes, then she's done. WOW, that took ALL MY TIME.






But I am most likely of a different parenting philosophy than you.  I believe in mothering at the breast, the way we are biologically designed to. Not sure how nursing my daughter that frequently is 'unhealthy'- do you have a source for that? Plenty of mothers in traditional cultures around the world regularly nurse in that manner.






Just so you know I'm not kidding:






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






http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detthumb.h...






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






The above commentaries are written by renowned anthropologist Kathy Dettwyler who is also a professor of infant nutrition.  Again, I'm not sure why you became so worked up over my own daughter's feeding habits and the fact that they are biologically normal.  How does it affect you?






 





thank you Lisa, as to the feeding often being unhealthy, isnt it a healthier eating habit for people (adults and infants alike) to eat smaller amounts more frequently?  that is the whole reason adults get gastric bypass surgery? to reteach their bodies not to gorge themselves?  i believe teaching healthy eating habits early on is better, especially as i am obese i dont want my daughter to suffer with it as well!  my daughter is 7 1/2 months old and is a snacker and usually is at the breast about once an hour during the day even now that she is eating solids, and about every 4-5 hours at night.

Sylvia - posted on 11/29/2009

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Heh. I would have fallen over in surprise if my four-month-old went a whole 2 hours between feedings ...

Rachel - posted on 11/29/2009

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From what I remember from my childbirth class, a newborn's stomach is about the size of a marble. It takes time for the stomach to grow and be able to hold more milk at a time. This is why babies have to eat so often. But, as they grow, they are capable of eating more at a sitting and then going longer between feedings.

We were every one-two hours for the first few weeks. Then about every 2 hours until about 4 weeks. Then we slowly started stretching it out to three hours. Babies are creatures of habit too.

I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to start increasing the time between feedings. Just be conscious of baby's needs. You can try stretching it by 5 -15 minutes each feeding (so, go up to 2 hrs 15 minutes) for a couple days, then increase it again by 5-15 minutes for another few days or week or two. Going slowly will help baby adjust to longer time between meals. By five months, we were consistently at 3 to 3.5 hours between breast milk feedings (with bottle), with our son sleeping through the night and for two 3 hour naps a day.

Hope that helps!

Andrea - posted on 11/29/2009

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That sounds about right. Mine started going a little longer than that around 7 or 8 months during the day & just now, at 11 months, is going about 4 hours before she wants to nurse again. But, at that age & for 4 or so more months she was nursing every 2-3 hours.

Alicia - posted on 11/29/2009

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Same thing here. We have only a couple times gotten four or more hours during the day, and that's usually because we happen to be out shopping or to dinner or something. But if we're home, she wants to eat every 2 hours all day everyday.

I asked my LC and they tell me that because she sleeps 7-9hrs at night, she's eating all day trying to make up for not eating at night.

You're not alone! Hope it helps :)

Minnie - posted on 11/29/2009

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Quoting Caitlin:



Quoting Lisa:

Four hours for a breastfed baby? An exclusively breastfed four month old baby? No. I don't think so. The biological norm for breastfeeding is 3-4 times an hour and several times a night. My own 13 month old has only slightly decreased her nursing frequency down to about twice an hour, and she nurses typically every two hours at night.

The kellymom website Brenda linked to is excellent.






To the original question: no its normal to go that short, and in my books they say breastfed babies need about 1.5 oz per hour. My daughter chugs more than that, especially when she is feeding from the bottle and not from me, but as long as your child is healthy there is no need to worry. And if exclusively bottle feeding is what works for you, then thats what works.






To the quote above: are you kidding? Thats ridiculous. Do you just walk around the house topless all day? Its hard enough for me to get situated and my top undone to feed my 4 month old daughter every 2-3 hours. And thats when she says she's hungry. My daughter has also been sleeping 8 hours at night since she was 1 month old. I think maybe you need to re-examine your feeding habits with your child. What happens when you want to go on a date? I mean its good that you are listening to your kids hungry signals, but maybe you're misinterpreting the need to suck as a need for food. Feeding that frequently seems really unhealthy.





I'm not sure why my daughter's nursing habits have seemingly become a personal affront to you.



However, it is true that the normal course of breastfeeding is 3-4 times an hour, of a few minutes each.  Why is it difficult for YOU to feed your daughter every two to three hours?  I'm not sure I understand that.  We are mothers.  We don't just ignore our children.



Now, concerning your statement that I'm 'misinterpreting the need to suck as a need for food'- well, I think that you are misinterpreting the purpose of nursing- which is NOT just for food, but for comfort as well. 



Heh, and no, I don't walk around topless.  It takes all of 2.5 seconds to pull my shirt up, my bra down and latch her on.  Nurse nurse for 2 minutes, then she's done. WOW, that took ALL MY TIME.



But I am most likely of a different parenting philosophy than you.  I believe in mothering at the breast, the way we are biologically designed to. Not sure how nursing my daughter that frequently is 'unhealthy'- do you have a source for that? Plenty of mothers in traditional cultures around the world regularly nurse in that manner.



Just so you know I'm not kidding:



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



http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detthumb.h...



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



The above commentaries are written by renowned anthropologist Kathy Dettwyler who is also a professor of infant nutrition.  Again, I'm not sure why you became so worked up over my own daughter's feeding habits and the fact that they are biologically normal.  How does it affect you?



 

Jillian - posted on 11/29/2009

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My son is 3 months old and breastfeeds every 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. If he takes a bottle (at daycare), he drinks 3-4 oz. My pediatrician recommended 3-4 oz around every 3 hours for babies taking breast milk out of a bottle.

Amanda - posted on 11/29/2009

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At that age my daughter ate 8 oz her first feeding, and 5 oz every 3-4 hours after that. As long as she's gaining weight and showing no signs of still being hungry, I wouldn't worry about it. Oh, and compliments on still feeding breast milk, even with a bottle. That's what I do and I find that it's the best of both worlds even if it's a little inconvenient

Jennifer - posted on 11/29/2009

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That mommy is right - 4 hours is crazy for a breastfed baby. Doctor said you can never overfeed a breastfed baby mine eats about the same - she is almost 4 months and we started feeding her lunch this week - rice cereal and now she is going 3 hours between eating during the day. If they want to eat I have always been told to feed them.

Kristina - posted on 11/28/2009

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Follow her lead. Every baby is different. Does she spit up often? Sometimes babies eat smaller amounts more frequently if they have reflux, so that might be an explanation. Breastfed babies do tend to eat more frequently than formula-fed babies, even if they're drinking breastmilk from a bottle. However, just so some moms don't worry unnecessarily, it's totally normal for a breastfed baby to sleep through the night (anytime after about 8 weeks) or go longer than 3 hours between feedings (anytime after 2 weeks), just like a formula baby. Pay attention to wet/dirty diapers and weight gain rather than quantity and frequency of feeding.

[deleted account]

I wouldn't worry sounds perfectly normal...



does she sleep thru the night? i noticed when my son started sleep 10 hours at night he would nurse more frequently during the day. he went from every 3-4 hrs to every 1-3 hrs. basically he gets about the same number of feedings he did before just in a shorter period of time.

Caitlin - posted on 11/28/2009

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Quoting Lisa:

Four hours for a breastfed baby? An exclusively breastfed four month old baby? No. I don't think so. The biological norm for breastfeeding is 3-4 times an hour and several times a night. My own 13 month old has only slightly decreased her nursing frequency down to about twice an hour, and she nurses typically every two hours at night.

The kellymom website Brenda linked to is excellent.



To the original question: no its normal to go that short, and in my books they say breastfed babies need about 1.5 oz per hour. My daughter chugs more than that, especially when she is feeding from the bottle and not from me, but as long as your child is healthy there is no need to worry. And if exclusively bottle feeding is what works for you, then thats what works.



To the quote above: are you kidding? Thats ridiculous. Do you just walk around the house topless all day? Its hard enough for me to get situated and my top undone to feed my 4 month old daughter every 2-3 hours. And thats when she says she's hungry. My daughter has also been sleeping 8 hours at night since she was 1 month old. I think maybe you need to re-examine your feeding habits with your child. What happens when you want to go on a date? I mean its good that you are listening to your kids hungry signals, but maybe you're misinterpreting the need to suck as a need for food. Feeding that frequently seems really unhealthy.

Minnie - posted on 11/28/2009

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Four hours for a breastfed baby? An exclusively breastfed four month old baby? No. I don't think so. The biological norm for breastfeeding is 3-4 times an hour and several times a night. My own 13 month old has only slightly decreased her nursing frequency down to about twice an hour, and she nurses typically every two hours at night.



The kellymom website Brenda linked to is excellent.

Brenda - posted on 11/28/2009

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Quoting Marcia:

we were never able to get a good latch and she is 100% resistant to the breast now so i just pump my milk, which is a hassle but i know its the best for her



It is possible even at this point to get her back on the breast.



 



http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/baby... is the best resource I've seen on it.

Brenda - posted on 11/28/2009

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Four hours is a crazy long time for breastfed expressed breastmilk fed babies. Breastmilk digests within 30 minutes. The idea of "four hours" is based on formula babies because of all the extra stuff in formula it takes that long to digest.

Marcia - posted on 11/28/2009

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we were never able to get a good latch and she is 100% resistant to the breast now so i just pump my milk, which is a hassle but i know its the best for her

Dena - posted on 11/28/2009

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Play it by ear. They are all different. There are no cut and dry guidelines. Why not nurse?

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