Please help. I need tips on how often to breastfeed my 2 month old and beyond.

Momof1 - posted on 01/13/2010 ( 24 moms have responded )

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My son is 2 months old. Right now I am feeding him about every 2 hours so I can get in the "required" 8 feedings a day. His pediatrician said I could let him at night, until he wakes himself up, but I still need to feed him at least 8 times a day. So here is the problem. This is a "normal" day. He wakes up at 2:30 AM to eat and he will usually go back to bed until 7:00AM. Then I feed him again. So from there, I go every 2 hours in order to get in his 8 feedings. That ends up being until 7 PM, which is when he goes to bed for the night. But I was just told that since he is 2 months, I should be waiting 3 hours. If I were to do that, he wouldn't get his 8 feedings in, unless I were to wake him up at night. I am just so confused on what I should do. And yes, right now he is gaining enough weight. He was back to his birth week by his 1 week check up, and he gains about 2 ozs a day, which as everybody should know, it is usually 1/2 an oz to 1 oz a day. Please help stop my confusion. Thank you.

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Amanda - posted on 01/13/2010

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Well, I only have one child but I've been breastfeeding him for 21 months, so hopefully my expreience with him will be of some help to you. When he was new I was worried about number of feedings in 24 hours and how long he ate and so forth, but he was gaining well, and I was losing my mind tying to keep track of everything, so I started just nursing him when he showed hunger cues (this is called "demand nursing). He continued to gain weight great, and I didn't feel like I was forcing him to eat when he wasn't hungry. The times he would eat varied a little. He tended to eat more often during the evening and night and less often during the day (this is normal, as prolactin levels are higher at night, and nursing then helps you get a better milk supply), and his length of feedings varied too (sometimes he'd nurse for 5 minutes, sometimes closer to an hour). As long as your baby shows good hunger cues (waking when hungry, sucking lips when starting to wake, rooting when hungry) you should be able to demand nurse. It's harder if your baby is a preemie because sometimes they don't have good hunger cues. Your baby might also not show good hunger cues initially because he's been schedule fed for a while, so he might not initially get the whole "show mommy I'm hungry" thing. But after a while it makes feeding a lot simpler and helps teach you child recognize when he's hungry and eat then, which is a good skill to have later in life ;) Also, at this age babies can't really go all night without eating (they don't have enough fat stores) and especially breastfed babies because breastmilk is digested so much easier than formula. Small infants are biologically meant to get a certain percentage of their calories at night. I found it easiest to night-feed by co-sleeping, but a lot of people aren't comfortable doing that. It also can be helpful to have the baby in a bassinett in your room with you so you can feed him as soon as he starts to wake up. It takes a lot less nursing to comfort and feed a half asleep baby than a fully-awake crying one ;) I hope some of this helps! Hang in there! It does get better, you will sleep again, I promise!! :)

Melissa - posted on 01/13/2010

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Relax...its only as complicated as we let it get. Hes 2 months and sleeps through the night he must be satisfied. and eating plenty. Mine didn't sleep through the night until almost 5months. I wouldn't worry about a total amount of feedings. Listen to your baby,believe me he will tell you if hes hungry. I didnt do a schedule with Gracie,however i never went longer than four hours between and she did fine. As long as hes gaining weight,and plenty wet and dirty diapers. Your doing great! Breast feeding is best dont get discouraged.

Mattee - posted on 01/14/2010

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Why don't you just feed him when he's hungry?? My son is also 2 months old and we have always just fed on demand. Babies are smarter than you think and they know when they need to eat and when they have had enough to eat. I alternate ONE breast per feeding... Finish the first breast first works the best for us. My son has eaten every 2 hours except at night since about a week old. He wakes up at 8am, and eats every 2 hours through the day, goes down for the night at 8 pm and wakes at 12, 3, and 6. He will always let me know when he's hungry and he is a very happy and healthy 12 1/2 lbs! He was born at 6lbs 1 oz, so he's doing very well. So that's 10 feedings for him in a day... He also only nurses for about 15 min.

Momof1 - posted on 01/22/2010

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I want to thank everybody for their advice. I am now feeding on demand, and it seems to work out. He usually wants to eat every two hours anyways, except on the rare days he actually sleeps. (He usually tends to stay up all day crying.) And he is still sleeping well at night. I am a little less paranoid about his eating, and hopefully soon I won't be paranoid at all. So thanks again. ;)

Brandy - posted on 01/13/2010

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I'm kind of confused. What is this 8 feedings a day thing? I have never ever heard of that. Don't stress yourself out with a schedule. Feed on demand. It's so much easier and the baby is still getting what they need, they are just telling you when you need it rather than you telling them it's feeding time. Don't worry, he will not let himself go hungry. I have many friends who breastfed and we all fed on demand and all of our babies followed a regular growth pattern and turned out great.

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Shelley - posted on 01/18/2010

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hi i understand where your comming from firstly i would like to say if a baby is hungry feed it but if you can have a genersl idea of when that would be that helps to i found my babies liked to feed like this
(5am, 8am,11am,2pm,4pm,6pm,8pm,10pm) thats 8 feeds they would then sleep through really important for me too.
as they got to 12 weeks i would drop a feed and slowly spread them out a little the late feed stayed about the same to 6 months but was a dream feed ie baby sleeps through but feeds instinctively. good luck i hope this helps

[deleted account]

Sweetie, you probably don't need my advice, seeing all the other good advice you've been given, but we share the same name so I feel that I should share with you my experience. I have 8 children...I have breastfed three of them. It is my experience that the doctors tell you how often your child should eat as a guideline. They don't want you to forget about him and him be starving. You seem like a very good mother, attentive to your baby's needs, and so my advice to you is to continue what you are doing, or even less. Your son knows when he is hungry and if he isn't waking up to eat on his own then you don't need to wake him up to feed him. When he wakes up he will eat...and he will eat until he is full. The schedule for feeding should be set by the baby anyway, as he is the one who knows when he wants and needs to eat. But above all...RELAX! You are doing a great job and your baby loves you. Good luck!

Naomi - posted on 01/15/2010

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Everyone's had great advice here :) I don't have much to add except that we had mega milk supply issues and a weight loss scare at the beginning that made me track EVERYTHING for probably that first 6-8 weeks. I have a note book filled with the times he ate and his 'outputs' lol! I demand fed, and just counted how much he was eating cus I heard the 6-8 feeds a day as well. I however, always understood that to be a guideline for newborns under 6 ish weeks... once the baby starts getting older I always assumed the number of feedings would drop as they became more efficient nursers. I was confused when at 3 months my son didn't magically go to 3 hours or more between feedings. This forum helped me a lot to see that 2 hours ish between feeds is totally normal for many breastfed babies. My son still does every 2 hours mostly during the day at 7.5 months. he goes longer at night. He used to sleep one 8 hour stretch at night, but stopped that and gets up earlier since he's been teething, and also I had a milk supply drop at 5 months that we had to work at again. I've learned to accept it and just go with the flow.. follow his cues, he will not starve himself :) when the baby is a newborn, they tell you wake the baby if it's been more than 4 hours.. cus some newborns can be sleepy, jaundice etc and may not wake up to their hunger. but once they are bigger, like your guy, there is no need to stress. you can stop counting now! it's ok! just relax and enjoy it!

Eternity - posted on 01/15/2010

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relax dont watch the clock .. ur baby will let u know when he is hungry ... trust me you'll know .. oh yea try to get some sleep .. !!! this is not work .. enjoy your baby.. by the way newborn baby dont really gain that much weight right now ... take it one day at a time .

Lisa - posted on 01/15/2010

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You have really good instincts. Impressive. Keep doing what you are doing. Sounds like you read you son really well and he is growing just fine.

Amanda - posted on 01/14/2010

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Definately try feeding by demand. It really does work. And my little girl is 2.5 months old and she usually nurses every 4 hours for about 30-45 minutes at a time. And during her "down time" which is usually from around 12-5 she never eats that often or that long. And she is growing fine according to the doctor. However I have found that just because she is "sucking her hand" doesnt always mean that she is hungary I thought that was one of her cues but as it turns out shes just a thumb sucker. Find your babies cues....and everyone is diffrent I promise that your baby will grow and be fine

Michelle - posted on 01/14/2010

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When you are breastfeeding you should feed your baby as often as the baby wants! With my daughter I fed her probably every 2 hours... my doctor didn't really say there had to be 8 feedings a day but that she should try to eat for about 20 min each feeding.... Hope that helped.

[deleted account]

My twin girls were on a 3 hour feeding schedule pretty much from birth, so I'm not sure where the 2 hour reccommendation comes from.

I tried in the very beginning to have my son on that same schedule, but gave up before we left the hospital and just fed him whenever he wanted.

My unprofessional 'advice'... feed him whenever he wants during the day, but not more than 3ish hours between feeds. At night, let him sleep as much as he wants.

Karina - posted on 01/14/2010

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my daughters' pediatrician says to feed her whenever SHE wants.She is 2 months old and sleeps through the night. Yea, she wakes up hungry because when I am breastfeeding her she usually falls asleep so she won't finish eating but there is nothing wrong to let her cry a bit, not for hours but for sometime. I do a lot like cleaning, cooking, and well, I am online right now. My suggestion: feed her whenever she wants, you will learn to know her: the cry for I am hungry, dirty, or sleepy are very different and if she starts sucking on her hand well u will know.

Alison - posted on 01/13/2010

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I wouldn't worry about the specific 8 daily feedings, feed him whenever he is hungry. He'll definitely let you know when he is hungry. I found that when I worried about how much he was eating, I not only stressed myself out but also my son. I didn't count the ounces but let him eat till he was full. My advice is do the best that you can do. When he does sleep for longer then 4-5 hours, just let him sleep and he'l wake up when he is hungry. So no worries.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/13/2010

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Don't worry. Just nurse when he's hungry. He'll let you know. He will get all the nutrients and everything he needs. Just chill and enjoy being your son's provider of food. There will be days he feeds more than others. You'll have bunch feedings, and he'll probably do htat to increase his milk supply, to get ready for an upcoming growth spurt. In the hospital they were adament that I must feed my son x amount of times. But pedi said don't worry. Never wake a sleeping baby to feed them. If he wants food he'll wake up. Don't stress. Just eat healthy. Let nature take its course. ITs a beautiful thing. I nursed my son for 10 months and didn't have any problems with my son. Your son we'll gradually start eating more at each feeding...therefore less feedings. Only worry if he doesn't grow. Relax and enjoy the ride. ( I know easier said than done.) Only when my son started solid foods did I worry about any schedule.
I hope this helps.

Gabi - posted on 01/13/2010

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Don't be so worried about the feeding schedule they give you...when a baby is hungry, they'll let you know. They won't over eat, or starve themselves. I fed my son on demand. When he fusses to eat, feed him. He's a bit tiny to be on that set a schedule, as far as feeding goes. My son was on a sleeping schedule from day one, but didn't get on a feeding schedule til he was about 5 months old and eating baby foods as well as breastfeeding. Then he'd have breakfast, snack, nap time, lunch, snack and dinner. But before that, the first four months, when he was hungry, he ate. Some days, he wasn't hungry as much and just wanted to sleep, which newborns will do. Don't beat yourself up about the schedule, just feed him when he says "mom! I'm hungry!" Hope this helps! Feel free to message me with any other questions!



Gabi

Jackie - posted on 01/13/2010

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You need to feed on demand. Nursing will only be productive and prolonged if you do. When that baby cries you offer him the breast. Then change him or whatever else. You will have no issues with growth, milk supply or any of that if you do it this way. And you don't have to worry about waking him at night then because he will wake when he is hungry. I hope that helps.

Amanda - posted on 01/13/2010

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Sorry, I also meant to say that at that age he might go up to 4-5 hours without nursing during his "low time" (most babies this is sometime during the day), and you shouldn't panic if he's not eating every 3 hours exactly as long as he is eating fairly frequently most of the time, he's nursing well, and he's gaining weight. Good luck! You're doing great!! Keep up the good work!

Ronda - posted on 01/13/2010

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I agree. I listened to my daughter and fed her when she wanted to eat. But then again at night they don't always wake up every two or three hours to eat so i woke her up and my ped said that was perfectly fine because they need to eat. Plus as long as he is gaining healthy, steady weight then you can keep doing what you are doing. I had a VERY jaundicy baby so she would sleep even through the feedings themselves.

Casey - posted on 01/13/2010

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my little girl is 3.5 months old now and i feed her when she was hungry/crying. I would just let him sleep through his whole nap.. babies need sleep to continue to grow and mature, so just relax and go with the flow and enjoy this time!

Karen - posted on 01/13/2010

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Try to relax, you're doing great!
It sounds to me like your pediatrician is thinking about formula fed babies, where a lot of emphasis is put on how much the baby eats and how often. There's no need to watch the clock so much with breastfed babies, as long as you feed him when he asks to be fed he'll get enough to eat. You don't need to wake him up every 2 hours to feed at night, but if you find that works for you and you get more sleep doing it there's no reason you should stop.

Marcy - posted on 01/13/2010

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Jeannette-

First off, take a really deep breath...now exhale! I tried to put my nursing kiddo on a schedule and within 4 days I was ready to kill someone. Have you heard of cue feeding or demand feeding? Since he is 2 months old I would try and listen to his cues that he is hungry and also listen to your body. Feeding him every 2/3 hours is great. Don't feel like you have to watch the clock and whip out your boob at a moments notice. I guess my point is, if you are sitting in front of the tv and your son nurses for 45 minutes and passes out in a milk coma...don't feel like you need to feed him 2 hours later if he isn't showing signs of being hungry. The best advise I got was from a friend who told me to just start watching for signs that my son was hungry and also that I needed to feed him....(let downs, etc.), and listen less to the doctors. Way to go.

Momof1 - posted on 01/13/2010

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Sorry, I also want to add that I'm not trying to schedule his feedings. If he is hungry sooner, I don't wait to feed him, I feed him then. But I also still wake him up to feed during the day. I found that feeding him every 2 hours gets him to sleep for longer periods at night, so I am afraid to stop that for fear of getting less sleep, but I want to do what's right.

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