should babies always stick to a feeding schedule?

Patricia - posted on 03/30/2012 ( 16 moms have responded )




i use to babysit a friends baby and she had her on a like 3 to 4 hour eating periods but her baby was hungry before eating time.. she was a new mom and got mad when i changed it to when the baby was hungry instead of letting the baby cry til that 4th hour.. was i wrong


Janice - posted on 03/31/2012




I definitely think all babies should be fed on demand. Some fall into a schedule and that can be great, but if a baby is crying to be fed it is just plain cruel to make them wait. I just dont understand why some people think making a baby wait to be fed is okay! Boils my blood!

Elfrieda - posted on 03/30/2012




I think it's good to try to get them on a schedule so it's the same each day, but not if that means letting the baby cry from hunger. Distract the baby for a few minutes if you really don't want to feed it right then, but really. Young babies are so fragile, I wouldn't risk starving it just to get on a schedule faster.

Mrs. - posted on 03/30/2012




Totally depends on the individual kid and how full their tummies stay. It also depends if by "eating periods" you include some solids and milk...I find formula sits a bit heavier in the baby's tummy and tends to keep them with a full feeling for longer.


View replies by

Faye - posted on 03/31/2012




When my daughter was born in 1991, the nurse asked if I wanted them to bring her to me after 2 hours, I asked, "WHY?" They told me so she could feed. (I was breastfeeding and so I wanted to feed only when she wanted.) I told them "If she is sleeping, leave her alone!" My room partner was formula feeding and her child was brought in EVERY 2 hours. I almost screamed every time that door opened as I had not slept for just about 24 hours.

My son roomed with me in 1995 and I fed when he wanted.

Once they were old enough for solids, then their feeding went to a schedule.

Patricia - posted on 03/31/2012




i dont think she reallt knew how to take care of her baby, plus she didnt let her baby feed til she was done she fed just whatever she put in the bottle.. she had post its everywhere in her diaper bag i was like omg i have 2 kids already and i dont need to be reminded of anything..she still wanted to feed her baby 4oz at like 4-5 months.. so i had to tell her why her baby was always crying.. she was upset but understood after i changed it she had a more calm baby...

Celeste - posted on 03/31/2012




Not a big fan of schedules for breastfed babies (I don't know about formula though). My twins and my daughter were all breastfed on demand.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/31/2012




I can say that we, in my home, do eat meals at the same time every single day. However, we drink whenever we want. We also have a snack if we feel the need. I am very routine orientated. With that, I would not force a particular routine on a baby. I believe in breastfeeding on demand for the first 3 months or so, then moving into a routine. However, the routine needs to fit the baby and change as the baby grows... ;)

Vicki - posted on 03/31/2012




Nope. Some babies do fine on a schedule. For others it messes with the breastmilk supply and demand and can cause dehydration. In our hot climate in the middle of summer it would be rare for an adult to go 3-4 hours without a sip of water but babies who are much smaller and dehydrate quickly are supposed to have nothing?

Patricia I think you did the right thing. As adults do we eat the same amount at the same time every day? Sometimes I'm thirsty an hour after a meal, sometimes I'm not. Babies should be able to regulate it as we do.

Minnie - posted on 03/31/2012




It works well for some. It can be downright dangerous to others. Something you have to be very careful about, paying close attention to your children's needs and if you're breastfeeding, your milk production. It isn't recommended for breastfeeding, simply due to the way prolactin receptors are laid down in the first six weeks (it can be difficult to increase milk production if things go awry due to scheduling in the early weeks). But clearly it does work for some dyads.

I don't eat on a schedule, why should a growing infant?

Helen - posted on 03/31/2012




from the time my babies (now 8yr 6yr 4yr 3yr ) were able to eat solids they had scheduale breaky lunch tea and supper for the first 6months i tried to feed them every 3 or 4 hours with milk inbetween water in summer ect mainly beacause that way i slept better having 4 children is hard sum times an wen i had my last baby my son was only 1yrs old so both were demanding along with a 3 yr old and 5 yr old however if my baby cried for longer than 5 min and i couldnt soothe her till feeding time then yes i would feed her in between every day is diff some days im more hungry than others you ave to do wat it is right although im a firm believer in routine as they get older otherwise feeding kids snacks ect in between meals isnt healthy as they wont eat the main meal ect that being said the odd apple or handful of raisens is given if they really are hungry in between meals if they have been doing alot ie running around park swimming ect

[deleted account]

i think it's okay to start out with a feeding schedule until your child starts setting the schedule. to let a baby cry because it's hungry seems kind of cruel to me.

Stifler's - posted on 03/30/2012




No and I don't understand how a rigid feeding schedule works anyway. Do you only eat/have a drink every 4 hours?

Nikki - posted on 03/30/2012




I don't think you were wrong, I would never schedule a baby, unless I had triplets or something crazy and I had no choice.

[deleted account]

My girls were on a 3 hour feeding schedule from birth and it worked well for us. I needed them on a schedule for my sanity and don't know what I would've done if they hadn't have been adaptable to it. That being said... if there was a day they were hungry and cranky after 2.5 hours and would not be pacified... they certainly got fed instead of left to cry.

My son, on the other hand, was nursed on demand and he demanded it a LOT... at least partially due to the comfort factor nursing gave him from his reflux.

I'm not against schedules at all, but they need to be one that works with and for the kid... and if baby is fussing about needing food for more than a few minutes... the schedule needs to be adjusted (or thrown out the window) to accommodate that.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 03/30/2012




Well I have done it both ways, again. ;)

Since I breastfed my daughter exclusively, I fed on demand. Breastmilk is not as filling as formula. They need to eat more often.

With my son he moved to formula at 3 months (due to medical issues I had and I had to switch). When I switched I put him on a routine. He got a bottle every 2.5 hours at first. As he grew the bottles got bigger and longer apart. I think you need to go by the babies needs is best.

Breastfeeding is definitely good for on demand but can be done via routine. All breastfeeding Mom`s I know, did it by demand.

Formula feeding is good with routine. You don`t want them getting too much, they will barf it all up anyway. ;) What that routine is though, may be different for each baby. Some are OK with every 3-4 hours, other`s need to eat more often... ;)


It was recommended by Hospital to breastfeed my babies every 3-4 hours. IMO, that was WAY too long. So, I did not follow that. I wouldn`t have with formula either. You have to assess your child and make the best decision, some are hungrier sooner, other`s are content with longer.

Amy - posted on 03/30/2012




I always fed both my kids on demand, my son was primarily bottle fed from 4 months on, my daughter was a breastfed baby. Personally I wanted a happy quiet baby then one that was hungry and on a schedule.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms