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Thread: scheduled vs demand feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Default scheduled vs demand feeding

    I have three kids, a 2yr old (born at 37 weeks who I nursed for 13 months); and 3 wk old twins (born at 37 weeks, both nursing great were up 8 & 10 oz from birthweight at 16 days old). I fed my son on a schedule, he never really woke up to nurse as a newborn so I woke him up every three hours. I became really comfortable in this and so he was always nursed on a schedule because he never really demanded. The girls are now seeming to have the same "problem", they are just super mellow babies and I'm scared to let them go long enough to demand feed. Is it because they were born early term and are just sleepy? I really want to let go of the scheduling because I get so tied up in who ate when and how long they nursed for and it seems so unnatural, but at the same time I feel comforted in that I feel like I am controlling the situation. My LC says they are gaining and just let them tell me when they want to eat so I can relax but it's like I don't trust them.

    All of my girlfriends kids scream every two hours to eat and I have to wake my sleepy babes every three hours. Any suggestions on how to switch to demand feeding?? Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    40

    Default Re: scheduled vs demand feeding

    Congrats on the twins and nursing them. You're a trooper. I would say since they are only 3 weeks old, don't go long periods w/o nursing. You are still building your supply. I wouldn't go past 4 hrs b/t nursing sessions. Just my opinion. Sounds like they are really good babies.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    589

    Default Re: scheduled vs demand feeding

    Congrats on your babies! My ds was very similiar! In the beginning he was VERY sleepy and had to be woken day and night. Well, that didn't last very long! But the every 3 hour schedule I had him on was great, bc when he did "wake up" around 6 weeks or so, his stomach was regulated to a pretty close to every 3 hour schedule and that is when he started to "demand it." With my dd, I demand fed from the beginning and it really stressed me out bc I never trusted her (or me for that matter!) to know if she was getting enough. Scheduling was beneficial for us, because it made me feel better . . . not necessarily bc it is the "right" thing to do . . . BTW, as time went on, he became much more "demand" in when he ate. We still worked at a semblence of a schedule, but he determined what that was (cluster feeding at night, etc.) but in those early weeks while you are still establishing milk supply, I wouldn't go more than 3 hours during the day and 5 or so at night. I'm not sure, but feeding on "demand" seems to be more often than not more than every 3-4 hours, not longer stretches during the day? Just my thoughts . . enjoy the break in going every 3 hours, as that will probably soon change!
    Last edited by @llli*bygrace; December 14th, 2007 at 08:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Sunny Arizona
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    Default Re: scheduled vs demand feeding

    Geez with twins I'd say use ever bit of planning to your advantage! I don't think there is anything wrong with what you are doing. If you want to test it out you can just try not waking them up for a day or two and see how long they sleep between feedings. It could give you a good idea of where they're at. Sometimes my DS would sleep for 5-6 hours at a stretch then want to eat every 2 hours for the next 3 feeds, it just vaired so much day to day. As long as the diaper output is good (6min wet/3min dirty) in 24 hours then you know they are getting enough.

    I personally think the only problem with scheduled feedings vs demand feeding is denying the baby the breast because it's not "time" for them to eat. It doesn't sound like you are or would do this so I don't see a problem with your current schedule.

    I hope you find something that works for your family the easiest. Good luck!

    ETA: Unless your babies have jaundice or some other problem that might make them lethargic then you can trust that they'll let you know when they are hungry.

    Amy married to my bestfriend since 10/30/04

    Proud SAHM to DS born 2/17/07 and DD born 9/11/08 Both weaned together 11/2011
    Currently milk, peach, peanut and tree nut free. DD has outgrown her wheat, cheese, egg, garlic, and citrus allergies

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    228

    Default Re: scheduled vs demand feeding

    After six weeks, I felt comfortable letting my babies nurse when they wanted. That was when I felt comfortable that my milk supply was well established.

    A lot of mothers of twins/multiples are strong advocates of scheduling, with the idea that it will provide the mom with more "off" time. I didn't have success with scheduling them together. For me, it was easier to have only one baby awake at a time!

    So, do what works for you and your family. And good luck. I know from first-hand experience how demanding it is to have a 2-year-old and two newborns.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    9

    Default Re: scheduled vs demand feeding

    Thanks for your replies. That makes me feel better. Right now we are going a 5 hour stretch at night and doing a loose 3 hr schedule during the day, if I hear them fussing or sucking hands etc, I feed them earlier. My problem isn't with me pushing off a feeding so much as it is them pushing it off. I'm feeling more relaxed about it now and not panicking if it has been 3 hours and 15 minutes, and they are still sound asleep.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2007
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    Default Re: scheduled vs demand feeding

    I would say, if you are still letting them nurse as long as they want to, and they're not screaming hungry "in between" feedings, then your schedule may be working for them too. I agree that newborns/early ones may need to be woken up to make sure they get enough and build your supply. When they are bigger and stronger you could relax all that. The main thing is to make sure that you aren't delaying feedings in the early days in order to adhere to the schedule. KWIM?

    L e i l a, married to hubby, loving our "bock-ee" kinda girl, 6.23.06
    Learn about the prepuce before you have a boy.
    Dental issues? Find out how to Cure Tooth Decay.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    24

    Default Re: scheduled vs demand feeding

    at 8 1/2 months old we pretty much have done schedule feeding all along not because I wanted to but she nevers acts hungry I have no idea how long between feeds she could really go I panic after 5-6 hours at night and during the day I attempt every four hours since I think any longer would be too long. Maybe I'm just paranoid. I do not wake her at night she's always been a terrible sleeper so I just assume that after not eating 5-6 ours she's just hungry. I hope this helps!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    9

    Default Re: scheduled vs demand feeding

    mhmom- it is so good to hear that my kids aren't the only ones just generally disinterested in eating all the time. I did the same thing with DS because I never wanted him to go to long. They must be a little hungry when we make them eat otherwise I'd imagine they wouldnt nurse.

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