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Breastfeeding: on demand or on schedule?

  1. #1
    rebekah is offline Registered User
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    Breastfeeding: on demand or on schedule?

    Today we went for the 8 week check up and the doctor recommended that we (slowly) change from on demand feeding to a schedule. I have always heard that on demand is better as the baby does not learn to eat at a certain time, but rather only eat when they are hungry, reducing risk of obesity and bad eating habits as an adult. Is this no longer the recommendation? Can anyone give me links or resources either way? She is gaining weight fine, he was happy with her growth, right on track, so it's not an issue of her not getting enough/too much.

    Suggestions?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i fed on demand until my kids were 6 months old. it's too hard when a child is screaming for milk to look at your watch and say... "sorry, kiddo, you have to wait for 45 more minutes!"

    besides if the baby is gaining well, then you are doing something right. why change it?

    besides, babies will often set their own schedule. have you noticed that your little one eats around the same times everyday? if not, it will start to happen soon. so, relax and continue what you are doing. you're doing great!

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    tstmum is offline Registered User
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    Agree with carang, I've followed a similar schedule of feeding on demand. I figure that if I'm hungry then I eat - why should baby's meal be delayed just because it's not time yet? But you will probably find at around the 3-4 month mark (if you haven't already) they start to go for longer between feeds and a bit of a pattern develops. At around 6-7 months when you start to introduce solids then you have more regular meal times and a more consistant routine.

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    rani's Avatar
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    I fed on demand too. During growth spurts we were feeding every 45mins - 1 hr

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    tstmum is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by rani View Post
    I fed on demand too. During growth spurts we were feeding every 45mins - 1 hr
    Same! Sometimes it feels that all you do is feed!

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    rebekah is offline Registered User
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    This is what i thought. Thanks all for confirming my instincts. Hopefully he doesn't ask next time how often we are feeding. I think he is a great ped, so we don't want to change or anything, just wanted to confirm what I already knew.

    and yes, she does have her own schedule but in the evening she likes to eat every hour from 9pm, until she goes to bed around 12 or 1, napping between these feedings. I get the feeling she is comfort nursing and also topping herself off and then she sleeps until 6-7AM

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    LLL_Sarah is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebekah View Post
    She does have her own schedule but in the evening she likes to eat every hour from 9pm, until she goes to bed around 12 or 1, napping between these feedings. I get the feeling she is comfort nursing and also topping herself off and then she sleeps until 6-7AM
    This is very common behavior for a young baby. I call it a Chinese banquet because the baby seems to like lots of small courses through the evening. And then likes to sleep off the effects of a large meal.

    Whether you want your baby on a schedule is not a medical question but rather one of how well you are copying with the stresses of motherhood. From your post is sounds like you are happy with the way you and your baby are living. Please don't change anything if you are happy. If later on, you decide that life is too difficult without more of a pattern think about adding more structure to your day then.

    Don't be worried about letting your doctor know that you are happy, that your baby is thriving and all is well without a schedule. Doctors are there to give us medical advice not management advice. If your doctor used a schedule with his own babies the only way he will learn that schedules aren't necessary is for the mothers who don't use them to tell them how happy they are without one.

    Some people who are very in favour of schedules believe that a baby can't be happy without one (because they can't be happy without one) but in fact all a baby wants is a happy mother. So if a schedule will make you happy have one and if it won't don't bother with them.

    Best wishes,
    SARAH
    Last edited by LLL_Sarah; 07-02-2008 at 05:07 PM.
    La Leche League Leader
    www.lllhk.org

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