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Thread: Frequency of Nursing--4 month old

  1. #1

    Default Frequency of Nursing--4 month old

    Hi Moms,

    My daughter is almost 4 months old and exclusively breastfed. She is a "high needs/fussy" baby and breastfeeding has really helped us through the first three months. She is growing and is a healthy 4 month old. I breastfeed on demand and do not try to put her on a feeding schedule. For the first three months she ate at least every 2 hours, if not more. Recently I found that she wants to go a little bit longer between feedings, but it's still about every 2.5 (during the day).

    Of course, friends and my in-laws have said I should be feeding her less at this point. I also notice that my "mommy" friends seem to take pride that their babies only eat every 3-4 hours. I'm happy to feed her whenever she wants. That's what she needs! Is feeding her this frequently normal at this age?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    2,612

    Default Re: Frequency of Nursing--4 month old

    You are doing what is right for her. Some babies go longer, some shorter. My little boys will be 4 mos next week and nurse about every 2 hrs, a little longer for a long afternoon nap and sometimes longer at night (sometimes not). Not all mommy friends will nurse their babies the same way and sometimes you just gotta ignore them and be confident that you're doing what your baby needs. But really I don't think they should be telling you what you should be doing. Do you have the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding?
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    485

    Default Re: Frequency of Nursing--4 month old

    Nursing a 4mo baby every 3-4 hours seems too stretched out, to me. When my DS was at daycare and taking EBM bottles he would still take a bottle every 2.5-3 hours at the most.

    From my experience with my one child and from what I hear from other BFing moms I know and on this forum, feeding every 3-4 hours at this age seems like the oddity, not you.
    My little man was born 12/17/2010.

    Baby girl was born 4/30/2014.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,207

    Default Re: Frequency of Nursing--4 month old

    I agree, every 3-4 hours would be too long. What happens with formula fed babies is that they start drinking more and more out of the bottle at one time - because it's easy for baby to overfeed at the bottle. Whereas babies don't overfeed at the breast. So formula-fed babies tend to start drinking more at one time but less frequently, whereas breastfed babies will continue to nurse often and in smaller amounts (typically 2 or 3 oz in a meal) - which is more physiological. But a lot of the norms around feeding babies are still based on formula-fed babies, since most babies do end up being formula-fed. So it's important to realize what is normal for a breastfed baby, which is EXACTLY what you are doing - feeding baby often and on demand. It's normal for a breastfed baby to feed 10-12 times in 24 hours or even more. Some of those feedings will be clustered close together, and then at other times baby may go a 3 or 4 hours stretch. But routinely every 3-4 hours would be too little, since in most cases baby needs at least 8 times in 24 hours. Keep doing what you're doing, mama - you are doing GREAT!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: Frequency of Nursing--4 month old

    Yes on everything above. Your baby will communicate to you what she needs, and you are doing great because you are listening to her! Sure, you can MAKE a baby wait longer between meals, but that doesn't mean you SHOULD. The more you feed on demand, the better it is for her nutrition and growth and for your supply and long term milk production


    The other thing I will add is that every mom and every baby are different, physiologically. Thus not all breastfeeding looks the same. Womens' breasts vary in their milk production, storage capacity, flow rates, etc. And babies vary in their feeding preferences. Combine those two variables and it looks like a wide range of feeding frequency, amount, time at the breast, how many sides taken per feeding, etc. Your baby is responding to that unique combination of her needs and your body, and expressing that in how she asks to feed.

    So any book or person telling you "it should look like X" just because your baby hit some arbitrary milestone (like their age) just isn't knowledgeable about or respectful of the diversity that exists in breastfeeding.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    11,108

    Default Re: Frequency of Nursing--4 month old

    I agree with mercystreet. I wouldn't say those other moms are going "too long" at all. Maybe their babies only want to nurse every 3-4 hours. And I don't blame them for being relieved about it. But that doesn't mean YOUR baby doesn't still need to nurse every 2 hours or that you're doing anything wrong by continuing to meet her needs. Feeding on demand means paying attention to your baby and feeding him or her when he needs it.

    And there isn't likely to be a long gradual decrease in nursing frequency as your baby gets older, either. Frequency will go up and down depending on what's going on in her/your life- teething, illness, major developmental milestones, vacations, changes in routine, return of your fertility, are ALL completely normal causes of changes in nursing patterns. So those moms whose babies are nursing less are likely to see it fluctuate. Yet another reason it works best to feed on demand, meeting babies' needs even when they change.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    20,615

    Default Re: Frequency of Nursing--4 month old

    Couldn't more with all the above. You're doing fine, your baby is normal, so don't let other people make you second guess yourself.

    Your mommy friends may take pride in their babies' 3-4 hour nursing patterns, but I don't see why they should. If they put their babies on schedules in order to get their babies to eat that infrequently, then that is nothing to be proud of. If their babies naturally go 3-4 hours between nursing sessions, then that has everything to do with the baby's natural patterns, not with something awesome that the mom is doing.
    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!"

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