Happy Mothers Breastfed Babies
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

  1. #1

    Cool Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    I would like to find out what the age appropriate time in between feeds for a 4 month old baby is. I am breastfeeding her.

    I had a major problem in that my little one did not sleep at all during the day and she was also waking up twice at night for feeds so my husband and I attended a course to teach her how to sleep etc and she is now feeding every 3 hours and I would just like to know if this is correct for her age.

    I would also like to know how many naps are suggested for a 4 month old during the day - 6am to 6pm?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,113

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    There is no one interval between feedings that works for every baby. At 4 months, many babies nurse every 1-2 hours, while others nurse every 2-3 hours and a very rare few nurse every 3-4 hours. Some sleep through the night- which for a baby is 5 consecutive hours and not the 8 hours we adults have come to expect- and some continue to wake frequently, as much as every 1-2 hours.

    The reason infant feeding habits are so variable is that every baby has different needs and every mom has a different capacity to produce and store milk. A mom with a large storage capacity will be able to hold a lot of milk in her breasts without her body interpreting that as a sign of low demand. A mom with a normal or low storage capacity will not be able to do that. Her body will interpret a lot of milk just sitting in the breast as a sign that the baby doesn't need that milk, and her supply will decrease. This is why it is so important to trust the baby and to feed on demand: it is demand which creates and maintains supply. When you tinker with that system, imposing a schedule on it, you can easily end up with low supply and a baby who isn't gaining weight.

    At 4 months, sleep is also all over the map. Some babies will have settled into a predictable pattern of 2 or 3 daily naps, which may occur at around the same time every day. Others will be cat-nappers, subsisting on 20 minute naps that occur at unpredictable intervals throughout the day.

    May I ask what course you attended? If it was a Babywise course- preparation for parenting or something like that- I strongly suggest taking a look at this link: http://www.ezzo.info/
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    Thanks for this info.

    We attended the baby love course. Do you know of it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,113

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    I've actually never heard of it, and did not find a brief glance at their website illuminating. There was a lot of focus on "age appropriate" routines and sleep training, but not a lot about what they think "age appropriate" means. Can you describe the program for us?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    The program we have been given is as follows;

    6am wake up and feed
    7.30am 1st nap
    9am wake up and feed
    10.30am 2nd nap
    12pm wake up and feed
    1.30pm 3rd nap
    3pm wake up and feed
    4.30pm 4th nap
    6pm wake up and feed
    7.30pm Bed time

    But then my little one wakes up between 12am and 2am for anoher feed.

    The goal is for little one to sleep through the night and not wake for the feed.

    If she cries when put down for a nap, leave her for 15 minutes and the check on her but don't pick her up just check that nothing is wrong and then leave her for the rest of the hour and a half.

    We started 9 days ago and it has definitely helped with getting her to sleep during the day, but I am a little concerned about the feeding every 3 hours as she doesn't seem to take in a lot but I guess if she wanted more she would eat more?

    She is also more of a pleasant child as she doesn't cry like she used to and she does seem more content.

    Your thoughts?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,113

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    Mama, I am struggling to find a way to phrase this that will make it clear that I am critical of your baby's schedule, but not of you. As parents, we all do our best and it's very hard to choose the right path when you're struggling with sleep deprivation and the unpredictable needs of a new baby. It's especially hard when someone with a system comes along and says "I know how to fix your problem, and my program works for all babies". Once you give your hard-earned money to that person, it's very hard to abandon that path.

    That being said, let me be absolutely frank: I find that schedule appalling and dangerous. Most breastfed babies need a minimum of 8 feedings per day in order to take in sufficient calories to grow and thrive (see the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk, which says, in part: "After breastfeeding is well established, the frequency of feeding may decline to approximately 8 times per 24 hours, but the infant may increase the frequency again with growth spurts or when an increase in milk volume is desired.") The schedule you've been given has a goal of having your baby feed just 5 times a day. I had to count three times before I could believe it.

    The schedule is not dissimilar to the Babywise schedule, and moms who have experience with that program will tell you that breastfeeding on a schedule seems to work at first, but that in the long term it is a recipe for early breastfeeding failure at best and insufficient nutrition for the baby at worst. So why doesn't it work? Because of that supply = demand equation. You cut demand drastically, and eventually your body will interpret that as a sign that you don't need to be making so much milk. Pretty soon, your milk supply is dropping and your baby is hungry. At this point, many moms begin supplementing with solids or formula, and the baby gets more and more calories from those sources and less of the optimal nutrition provided by the breast.

    I know some people claim that if you have a baby on a schedule, she will simply "eat more" at a feeding. Ever heard someone say that a baby should eat "meals" and not "snacks"? Actually, for most babies the opposite is true. Babies are designed to eat frequent small meals rather than infrequent large ones, because infant tummies are small and breastmilk digests quickly (many sources suggest that a baby's tummy is empty again only 90 minutes after the beginning of her last feeding). Scheduling is not a guarantee that your baby will eat more when she nurses, because her tummy is the size it is. Some babies will begin to take in more at a feeding, learning to ignore their own satiation cues and eat until their stomach is distended- which is not a good pattern to set up for the future!

    If that's the case, why do scheduled babies seem so happy? Well, there's happy and then there's resigned, which in a baby often seems like the same thing. A schedule teaches a baby not to cry, because no matter how much she cries, her mommy is not going to come and feed her. Crying, and communicating her needs, is a waste of her precious energy. And when she's on a schedule, she probably does not have a lot of calories to waste.

    Okay, so here's what I suggest:
    1. Immediately take baby off the schedule.
    2. Make sure she eats at least 8 times per day.
    3. Pick up a copy of Elizabeth Pantley's book "The No Cry Sleep Solution" for a realistic look at NORMAL infant sleep patterns and for gentle ways to encourage a baby to sleep longer and more independently.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,007

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    Why are you interested in getting baby on a schedule? They are only little for such a short time and following their lead will not only help you maintain a good supply, it will help your baby know that when she needs you, you are there. Her body knows what to do, and if you follow her cues for hunger and sleep, she will develop as she is meant to. Schedules not only impact milk supply, they also don't account for growth spurts, teething, and developmental milestones - all of which affect sleep and nursing patterns. When she is going through a growth spurt she will need to nurse more frequently and your body will need that to produce more milk for that growth spurt. If she is on a schedule she will not be getting the extra milk she needs and your body will not keep up with production. Same goes for teething. Breastmilk helps with pain experienced by baby, so nursing more is quite common during teething. Also, when your baby is working on developmental milestones she will likely want to nurse more and her sleeping patterns will change - this is because of the cognitive development that is going on.

    As for letting your baby cry for 15 minutes or more.... here is an article you may be interested in reading as when babies are left to cry alone cortisol is released into their systems...

    Science tells us that when babies cry alone and unattended, they experience panic and anxiety. Their bodies and brains are flooded with adrenaline and cortisol stress hormones. Science has also found that when developing brain tissue is exposed to these hormones for prolonged periods these nerves won’t form connections to other nerves and will degenerate. Is it therefore possible that infants who endure many nights or weeks of crying-it-out alone are actually suffering harmful neurologic effects that may have permanent implications on the development of sections of their brain? Here is how science answers this alarming question:
    Chemical and hormonal imbalances in the brain
    Research has shown that infants who are routinely separated from parents in a stressful way have abnormally high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as lower growth hormone levels. These imbalances inhibit the development of nerve tissue in the brain, suppress growth, and depress the immune system. 5, 9, 11, 16

    Researchers at Yale University and Harvard Medical School found that intense stress early in life can alter the brain’s neurotransmitter systems and cause structural and functional changes in regions of the brain similar to those seen in adults with depression. 17

    One study showed infants who experienced persistent crying episodes were 10 times more likely to have ADHD as a child, along with poor school performance and antisocial behavior. The researchers concluded these findings may be due to the lack of responsive attitude of the parents toward their babies. 14.

    Dr. Bruce Perry’s research at Baylor University may explain this finding. He found when chronic stress over-stimulates an infant’s brain stem (the part of the brain that controls adrenaline release), and the portions of the brain that thrive on physical and emotional input are neglected (such as when a baby is repeatedly left to cry alone), the child will grow up with an over-active adrenaline system. Such a child will display increased aggression, impulsivity, and violence later in life because the brainstem floods the body with adrenaline and other stress hormones at inappropriate and frequent times. 6

    Dr. Allan Schore of the UCLA School of Medicine has demonstrated that the stress hormone cortisol (which floods the brain during intense crying and other stressful events) actually destroys nerve connections in critical portions of an infant’s developing brain. In addition, when the portions of the brain responsible for attachment and emotional control are not stimulated during infancy (as may occur when a baby is repeatedly neglected) these sections of the brain will not develop. The result – a violent, impulsive, emotionally unattached child. He concludes that the sensitivity and responsiveness of a parent stimulates and shapes the nerve connections in key sections of the brain responsible for attachment and emotional well-being. 7, 8

    Decreased intellectual, emotional, and social development
    Infant developmental specialist Dr. Michael Lewis presented research findings at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, concluding that “the single most important influence of a child’s intellectual development is the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby.”

    Researchers have found babies whose cries are usually ignored will not develop healthy intellectual and social skills. 19

    Dr. Rao and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health showed that infants with prolonged crying (but not due to colic) in the first 3 months of life had an average IQ 9 points lower at 5 years of age. They also showed poor fine motor development. (2)

    Researchers at Pennsylvania State and Arizona State Universities found that infants with excessive crying during the early months showed more difficulty controlling their emotions and became even fussier when parents tried to consol them at 10 months. 15

    Other research has shown that these babies have a more annoying quality to their cry, are more clingy during the day, and take longer to become independent as children 1.

    Harmful physiologic changes
    Animal and human research has shown when separated from parents, infants and children show unstable temperatures, heart arrhythmias, and decreased REM sleep (the stage of sleep that promotes brain development). 10 12, 13

    Dr. Brazy at Duke University and Ludington-Hoe and colleagues at Case Western University showed in 2 separate studies how prolonged crying in infants causes increased blood pressure in the brain, elevates stress hormones, obstructs blood from draining out of the brain, and decreases oxygenation to the brain. They concluded that caregivers should answer cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively. (3) and (4)
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    4,007

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    and I agree with mommal 100%
    ~Jenn~


    mother of 2 boys!
    08/14/98~~03/20/08

    Birth: 7lbs 12oz, 1 year: 22lbs 11oz
    until he self-weaned 4 days before his third birthday ... still on occasion ... and happily

    ************************************************** ************************************************** *****************
    People need to understand that when they're deciding between breastmilk and formula, they're not deciding between Coke and Pepsi.... They're choosing between a live, pure substance and a dead substance made with the cheapest oils available. ~Chele Marmet

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,113

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    Another thought: I'm not surprised your baby is waking at night to nurse. She needs the calories. One way to potentially cut down on night-nursing would be to cram as many feedings as possible into the daylight hours. More calories during the day = less need for them at night. I'm not a big fan of sleep training, especially for such a young baby, but if getting your baby to sleep through the night is your most important goal and you want to sleep train, then I think you need to nurse as much as possible during the day. Does that make sense?
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: Age appropriate feeding and sleeping

    Not going to touch the scheduling debate too much, but just answer the OP's question as much as I can based on my experience (sample size: 1)

    7:30 PM: Bed (nursing to sleep)
    between 11:30 and 2: wake up once to nurse, straight back to sleep
    between 3 - 4: wake up to nurse, but I side-lie with him and he will sleep then nurse a little off and on until about 5 AM, then back to sleep
    8 AM: wake up for real
    8:30/9 AM: 3 oz bottle (I am now at work, dad handles this!)
    10:30: 4 oz bottle (now at daycare)
    11:30-1:30: long nap
    1:45: 4 oz bottle
    3:20: 3-4 oz bottle
    3:45-4:30: car nap when I take him home
    4:30 PM: nurse
    6 PM: nurse again
    7:30: nurse/bed

    He is not quite four months. Looking at it written down it seems a little crazy but it's a pretty easy schedule really. And it's definitely HIS schedule, not mine. Naptimes and bedtime are set in stone - by HIM, heh. Trying to change it at all is like pissing in the wind. Not that I mind. For a while he slept through the night completely but I think this is better for him in terms of digestion and weight gain and stuff. And not gonna lie, as tired as I am, I like that drowsy side-lying on-again off-again nursing bit in the morning. It's relaxing.

    The only thing I will say about schedules, and all that, is that while sometimes nursing on demand is incredibly tiring, and sleepless nights are hard - it's a very short time period overall, when compared with your whole life. Before you know it, no matter WHAT you do, he'll be sleeping on his own and won't need you as much and will be eating real food. This time really will go by faster than we think, as stressful as it is. So I think maybe it's better just to respond to baby's needs as best you can, and unless there's a problem not try too hard to mess with his rhythms. But I also don't read parenting books, so take it for what it's worth

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •