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Thread: How many feedings is normal for a 5 month old?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    10

    Default How many feedings is normal for a 5 month old?

    I have been feeding my baby every 3 hours for 20min on each side since she was born. She usually takes 6 feedings a day now. During the week I pump at work and so two of those feedings are given to her at the daycare. I usually give them two-4oz bottles. At her 4 month check up her pediatrician said to just feed on demand but that's hard if you're working and the baby is in daycare. My question is, is it ok for her to maybe only have 5 feedings a day as opposed to 6 and maybe increase her bottles to 6oz? As you can imagine, my body is beginning to fatigue and I know the hardest part of breastfeeding is over, but I'm just wondering if this is ok. My first child I was only able to breastfeed for 8 weeks and at around this time, I remember her sleeping 12 hours at night and taking in much more at each feeding (with formula). So, just wondering if I could do the same with this baby, or should I continue this until she starts veggies and fruits?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,944

    Default Re: How many feedings is normal for a 5 month old?

    Welcome to the forum!

    How has your baby's weight gain been so far? 6 feedings per day is significantly lower than average for a baby who is exclusively breastfed. Most babies require at least 8 feedings per day in order to get all their needs met, and many require significantly more than 8. My kids, for example, nursed at least 12 times a day until they were at least a year old.

    Milk supply is created and maintained by demand. The more often and more completely you empty the breast via nursing or pumping, the more milk you make. The less frequently or less completely you empty the breast, the less milk you make. So even though the night nursing sessions can be miserable, they are also usually important for maintaining a good milk supply. This is often especially true for working moms, who must rely on the pump for a lot of the time. Pumps aren't as good at maintaining supply as babies are, so allowing the baby unrestricted access to the breast outside of work can be instrumental to keeping a good milk supply going.

    Increasing your baby's bottles to 6 oz might or might not buy you more sleep- a lot depends on your baby's temperament. But more sleep (i.e. less nighttime demand) might land you in a situation where your body isn't getting the stimulation it needs to continue making sufficient milk. So I wouldn't recommend trying it until a little further on down the line- not if maintaining a robust milk supply is a big priority for you.

    Sorry, I know none of that is the answer you were hoping for!
    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
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    2,209

    Default Re: How many feedings is normal for a 5 month old?

    Hi mama, welcome to the forum! I totally agree with everything mommal says. As a working mom I would really encourage you NOT to increase baby's bottle size at daycare. It works against you in two ways. First, you have to do so much more pumping to keep up! Second, if baby is taking in more calories during the day, she will be less inclined to nurse when you are together, further decreasing the stimulus to your breasts to make milk. I agree with mommal that nighttime nursing, though tiring, really does help maintain supply. And that's what I tell myself when I wake up at night to nurse! Also, just keep in mind that breastfeeding is really different from formula feeding. A breastfed baby will continue to have frequent, small meals throughout the first year. Like 2-3 ounces, or maybe 4 - that's why it's perfect that you are not giving more than 4 oz to baby at daycare - and that doesn't need to increase as baby gets older. On the other hand, formula-fed babies will tend to drink bigger bottles less frequently. So I wouldn't expect your breastfed baby to have the same eating patterns as your first baby did when she was drinking formula. I think your pediatrician gave good advice by saying feed on demand. Even if that's not the case at daycare (and ideally it would be - you may need to talk to the daycare providers about that), there is no reason not to feed on demand when you are together. Yes, it can be tiring, especially if you are working and have an older child to take care of as well. So think about asking DH to pitch in if he isn't already, or other family members, getting to bed a little earlier, taking naps on the weekend. At least in my opinion it is all so worth it to be able to breastfeed your baby!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
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    10

    Default Re: How many feedings is normal for a 5 month old?

    @mommal, her weight gain has been excellent. She is now at the 47% for her weight and the dr was very happy with this. At this point she takes 6 feedings starting at 630 and she is fed every 3 hrs. She typically goes to bed around 9 and doesnt wake up until 630am, and that's usually because I wake her up to eat. I do feel bad sometimes because I am waking her up, but I feel having a schedule works so much better for all of us since I am working. Also, it gives me the freedom to be able to know how much time I have to do things, for example, going to get groceries, taking a shower, or gardening outside. This way I don't have to worry about her demand when i don't expect it.

    @bfwmomof3, thank you so much for putting the breastdfed baby vs the bottle fed baby into persepctive for me. It's hard because out of the three babies there, she is the only breastfed one and it would freak me out when I see these babies holding the bigger bottles and they are only a month older than her. Currently, I have the daycare giving her the two feedings at specific times, scheduled. This is the reason: when she first started daycare, I told them just to feed her when she was hungry. What happened? She slept the whole day. So, then when she was with me, it was constant feeding and literally staying awake the whole night! This was so horrible for me because of work, I didn't know how I was going to make it. Finally, the caregiver suggested the schedule and I went ahead and went with it. Things have not been better since. And this is also hard because none of my family lives here and my husband just started a demanding job when the baby was 6 weeks old that requires a lot of his time at home, so 90% of the time I am the one doing everything. I guess I just needed some advice and other BFing moms to talk to. My husband is gonna try and help me out more since he will be off in the summer.

    Thanks ladies for all your advice and help. I feel much better now.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,413

    Default Re: How many feedings is normal for a 5 month old?

    I don't think you should feel bad at all for waking your baby so you can have a cuddle and nurse before you leave the house! (and I bet your baby would agree.) I am positive that is not what mommal meant.

    Things have not been better since.
    So, even with baby having the two 4 ounce bottles at daycare on a scedule, baby is still waking just as frequently at night as when baby was not eating at all at daycare?

    If you want any help with ideas for getting more rest, let us know. It would help to know-

    How long are you and baby separated overall each day, (including commute) and how many days a week do you work? Also how old are your other kids-are they in school, daycare?

    Because there are lots of ways to try to get more rest but what might work for you will depend on your other responsibilities. Great your husband will be able to help out more in the summer!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,944

    Default Re: How many feedings is normal for a 5 month old?

    Did baby come up with the every 3 hours schedule, or is that something that you've encouraged? I can understand why the schedule creates convenience for you, but I'd still encourage you to consider adding more feedings into your day. Let's say you nursed every 1-2 hours when home with your baby- you could still fit a shower in, and run to the store- you just might want to feed baby really soon before you left. The reason I'd encourage you to do this is that schedules tend to work against breastfeeding success, particularly when they are fairly rigid. It's the supply = demand thing, again. Restrict demand, and you end up with lower supply.

    You never have to feel bad about waking a baby to nurse!
    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 2013
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: How many feedings is normal for a 5 month old?

    @lllmeg, sorry, I worded that sentence kinda weird. What I meant was things have been really good since getting her on a schedule. All together I work 5 days a week and am away from baby 7 hours a day, including commute. My other daughter is 5 years old and in the same daycare. She is a really great big sister and helps me out quite a bit.

    @mommal, the baby created the 3hr schedule on her own. The only problem was she was doing it at night when I started working. So, I decided to start waking her up during the day for her feedings that way she could sleep at night when I did. I've been told by a few mom's they believe my baby is pretty efficient at eating because she eats for 20min on each side....sometimes even longer! So, if I start, say at 1230, I won't be completely done feeding her until maybe 130, and her next feeding will be at 330. This only gives me two hours to do things, and when you have a husband, 5 year old, and live in the city, this is a challenge to run multiple errands. So, majority of the time, my husband and 5yr old will go without me. I know this can sound like heaven, but sometimes I feel "locked away" and want to be out. Also, my husband says he misses me and wants both baby and I there too.

    I guess in reality I consider myself lucky because my baby sleeps through the night. My milk supply is still great and she is getting all she needs. Thank you both for making me feel better about waking her up to feed her. I've felt guilty about it for a while now, but you all are right, she is all smiles and happy to eat once she latches on :-)

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