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Thread: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    3

    Default Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    hi there,

    this is my first time posting here so i'm a complete newbie! our little girl is due in 7 weeks and i'm really looking forward to breastfeeding her but i have a couple of questions...

    on one hand, i have heard that BF babies should be fed on demand but i have also read in Gina Ford's Contented Little Baby book that it's a good idea to try and get them into a routine as soon as possible, perhaps feeding them every 2.5 to 3 hours (although she does insist not to let them go hungry even if it means feeding earlier than planned...)

    i'd like to hear your views on this if you have experience with either of these methods...

    is it possible to set up some sort of a routine after a couple of weeks or should i just start to forget about this and BF my baby everytime she seems to need feeding and/or comforting?

    thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    1,220

    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    IMO, a newborn should always be fed on demand. They are growing at a phenomenal rate and going through many growth spurts that change their nutritional needs. Also, You are trying to get your supply established during this time and feeding on demand helps do that as well. For the most parts as babies get older, they develop their own routine that shifts as they grow and their own needs change.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    2,393

    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    I agree with JManon. Newborns feed on demand because they digest breastmilk quickly and efficiently, and their hunger needs change. They go through several growth-spurts where they will need to nurse every hour. It is draining on mama, but necessary for baby. Try to sleep when baby sleeps, and don't take on too much. IMO you cannot put a newborn on a schedule, they are just not built that way. As JManon said, eventually as they become older babies, you will start to see patterns and they will slowly develop a routine. At that point you can start to try to form your own routines/schedules with them in regard to naps/bedtime etc. However, and this is just my opinion, I still feed on demand even at 13 months. If you were hungry, you would get yourself a snack. Well if baby is hungry now, why would you ever make them wait because it's not "time"? Babies also nurse for comfort and security (to be close to mama). If something doesn't feel right for them, they will cry out for you. This is helping to develop a sense of trust in the world, and to develop self confidence. They are learning that they are important, and their needs will be met.

    Kathryn,
    Mama to my sweet blueberry eyed boy Joshua
    born on 11/2/2006

    and my blueberry eyed baby Jonah Henry...my water birth baby!
    born on 6/15/09



    MOBY WRAPS ROCK

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Bryan, Texas
    Posts
    4,260

    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    We did a combo of both. I didn't starve my child by any means if he was acting hungry, I fed him. But I also didn't shove my boob in his mouth every time he cried (not that there is anything wrong with that, it just wasn't how we operated). For us we found a healthy balance.

    I never tried to make him eat at 8, 11, 2, 5, 8....etc, etc. But from the time he woke up in the morning, I tried to have him make it 2.5-3 hours. The thing is...there was no problem with this for US. He NEVER "demanded" to eat any sooner, so it wasn't like there was this battle. He nursed well and got his fill and then right when I was like, "oh its "time" to eat again"....he'd look at my all hungry-like and we'd nurse!

    The reason I wanted and needed him on a routine was because I was keeping triplets fulltime 3 weeks after he was born. I needed a routine or we all would have died. Sleeping was the same thing. He'd wake, eat, and then play. I would try to not ever have him awake for more than 2 hours. It worked well for us...but I never refused to nurse my child just because it wasn't "time" yet, KWIM? I also pumped a lot though and so my supply was never in question.

    Watch your baby, and feed her when she acts hungry. If you aren't sure if she is acting hungry...feed her...it won't hurt! You'll figure out what works for you and your family...we sure did.
    All over the world there exists in every society a small group of women who feel themselves strongly attracted to giving care to other women during pregnancy and childbirth. Failure to make use of this group of highly motivated people is regrettable and a sin against the principle of subsidiary. ~ Dr. Kloosterman, Chief of OB/GYN, Univ. of Amsterdam, Holland


    **Leslie**

    Mama to:
    Shiloh (5/6/06) Nursed for 13 months and Josephine (7/26/08) Nursed for 23.5 mos Currently nursing my new little firecracker, Finley Catherine, born on the 4th of July!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    19,878

    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    Schedules and breastfed babies don't mix well, especially in the beginning. Breastmilk digests in around 90 minutes- so breastfed babies are often hungry 1.5 hours after they ate! A tiny baby waiting 2-3 hours to nurse is often starvingly hungry for a lot of that time. (Formula-fed babies, on the other hand, can be scheduled with more confidence because formula is hard to digest, meaning that a formula-fed baby's tummy feels full for longer periods. This is NOT a good reason to use formula!) Also, babies go through growth spurts, during which they nurse constantly for a couple days in order to increase their mom's milk supply. Scheduled babies take longer to build a milk supply, prolonging the distress for both mom and baby.

    But take heart! Your baby will develop his/her own schedule in a fairly short time period. And there are things you can do to help regulate your baby's life- like incorporating an evening bath or a morning walk to signal to his/her little brain that time is passing in an orderly way.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    221

    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    I was bottle feeding my wee one EBM for the first 6 weeks so I was recording every darned feed (we only just stopped keeping records of his feed times, volumes, attempts at latching and nappy changes). He was jaundiced so it was important that I was waking him for feeding otherwise he would sleep too long and wake up starving and be completely exhausted all the time. You will probably need to watch time a lot if your wee one is jaundiced... which is not that uncommon.

    I found that my boy was eating fairly predictably and routinely by 4 weeks but on some days he just wanted to sleep and some days he was eating like a horse. If you do organise a schedule for feeding you probably find that it is thrown about by growth spurts.

    Good luck and enjoy your new arrival!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    288

    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    I agree with what's already been said -- and feel it's especially important to recognize how quickly babies grow. We can't really know when a growth spurt is about to occur, or is occurring, nor can we always know what will influence a change in feeding needs. Feeding on demand not only assures that baby's nutritional needs are being met, it also introduces the concept of mutual trust. We are accustomed to wanting our babies to trust us, but it is important for us to develop a sense of trust in our babies, and in natural processes, as well.

    Mostly what I wanted to say is CONGRATULATIONS, both on the beautiful little person you will soon get to meet, and on finding this wonderful resource -- I wish I'd known about it before my little guy arrived, as it would have saved a lot of grief in the early weeks when so much adjustment and learning is going on. Be well!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    3

    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    thanks so much for the great replies! and thanks especially for the congrats - it makes me go all weak at the knees just thinking about our little one being born so i can't imagine i will have any problems catering to her every single need (of course i won't...that's not really what i meant to say)... i guess what i do mean to say is that i will be so enamoured that all the logical thinking will go out the window and my heart will completely take over (something i don't think you can really understand until you are holding your own child in your arms...) so this question probably won't be an issue by the time she arrives.

    still, i was just curious to know if we could get some sort of routine established - i guess that will come with time and practice though.

    it's wonderful to have first-hand advice from mommas in the know!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Oklahoma
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    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    Where is Abby with her siggy?

    "Routines are for dancers, schedules are for trains."
    “Only with trust, faith, and support can the woman allow the birth experience to enlighten and empower her.” - Annie Kennedy & Penny Simkin

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: Is breastfeeding on demand really necessary or are there are other options?

    and congrats on your soon to be new arrival!

    It's possible that problems might pop up in the beginning (in general), in fact many moms do have one issue or another. But, we persevere and continue as we know it's best for our little ones.

    The best thing you can do is feed on demand. You definately need your baby to let your body know exactly how much milk it needs to make. In time, your baby will have her own "schedule" or "routine" - and just as you're adjusting to the changes, your baby will probably change again.

    Feeding on a schedule that you set, isn't a good idea, especially at first. Enjoy the long sessions, enjoy the frequent feedings, enjoy your baby. They only stay little for such a short time. To help yourself enjoy it, make sure to have a "nursing station" set up. Make it a comfortable place, always have snacks at hand and water. While your baby is nursing, read a book, a magazine, watch TV, just relax and enjoy it.

    ~*Allee*~

    Damon 8/5/99 Heaven 7/24/01 Jasmine 7/20/07

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