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Thread: Confused - demand feed / scheduled feeding

  1. #1

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    Question Confused - demand feed / scheduled feeding

    I am somewhat confused at the moment about what I am doing and whether I am doing it right (I do know there really is no right answer but I am just after some ideas / advice /reassurance)

    Currently I demand feed my 5 1/2 month old. He is a small build, but quite long and slow to gain weight (now 6kg) and initially we had attachment issues and low supply. The supply is now good (we get overflow when feeding) and the attachment is fine. Other than the weight gain (which is similar to his father as a baby) he is an active (very active), alert little man who is meeting all of his milestones.



    At the moment we feed every 2 hours (occasionally every 3) including overnight. He is yet to learn to self settle but overnight wakes to feed and goes straight back to sleep. We currently co sleep and I am trying a hammock to see if that can help him to learn to settle himself so he is between the hammock and our bed. He is easily settled to sleep at the moment - he just wakes up a lot

    He has started solids in the past 2 weeks after taking a lettuce leaf from his daddy's plate and putting it in his mouth so we figured he was ready. He has a maximum of 2 teaspoons of food every few days when he indicates he wants it and turns his head when he has had enough so I haven't been able to increase the solids at this stage and I am happy to follow his lead.

    Today I read a post that said they don't need nutritional intake overnight from 6 months. This places me in a dilemma. I am not sure if I continue with the demand feeding (including overnight) and just wait for him to decide when to lengthen the time between feeds and his sleeping. Or do I increase the time between feeds to try to increase the amount of time he sleeps. He does snack occasionally (hotter weather, comfort etc) and cluster feeds in the evening most days.

    I am not comfortable with CC as he is the type of baby that gets extremely distressed when left to cry and he doesn't settle by patting in the cot / bed. However, I am happy to cuddle / rock etc and extend the time between feeds if this is something I should be considering.

    I guess I am just not sure if what I am doing is making it worse or if the demand feeding will get better when he gets bigger. I am stuck between parenting styles and not sure what to do. Any suggestions for a fragile, unsure mum would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Michelle

    Sorry hun I have no answers except to offer an understanding ear. Oliver sometimes seems to be on the boob non-stop so you are not alone.

    Hope someone can pop in and offer some useful advice.

    Lv Spring

    PS. Oscar is such a cutie pie - we will have to catch up again soon.

  3. #3

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    Michelle, I think you're doing really well, and doing the right things for your baby. I know it's hard not to focus on feeding if your baby has been slow to gain weight (mine was too) but please know you are doing the best thing for him - giving him lots of boobies! I'd personally find feeding every 2 hrs around the clock pretty challenging, but if it works for both of you, then that's what you continue to do. My little boy usually feeds around 3 hrly during the day, but the last week has been feeding 2 hrly too (he does sleep through from 10.30 to 7 though). I just try to go with the flow and give him what he wants. Early on I tried to do other things to settle/relax him other than feeding him and in hindsight I should have just fed him and made both of us much more rested.

    I have read that co-sleepers can train themselves to take snacks from the snack bar overnight since it is easily available! But if you wanted to change his feeding overnight, you might have to change sleeping arrangements too - and that's a big decision only you can make. I have come to the conclusion that every baby is different - some want to be fed overnight for months and months, some don't. I don't think there's a blanket thing you can apply. So if what you are doing works - don't mess with it!

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    Have you tried lengthening the time between feeds, how is when you do this? Is he upset, or happy to go 3 hourly between feeds? If he is generally happy to extend the time, then I would suggest giving it a go. But don't feel you have to do it. If you are happy with feeding him 2 hourly (or whenever it is he needs a feed) then so be it. I prefer to demand feed. Feed whenever the baby wants it. Don't feel that just because you've ready somewhere that what you're doing isn't right, that you should change, do what your heart is telling you. Your his mum, you know him best.

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    Thanks Spring - I am probably asking for too much but maybe someone can tell me that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train And yes - we do need to catch up. Before Christmas too!!!

    Feathertop and Jodi - thank you!! He does go longer between feeds during the day on occasion but that is a rare occurrence and he usually gets very peeved if he has to wait for a feed. He is even learning to pull at my top to lower it for a feed and does a dive towards the breast of the person holding him if he is hungry - and he isn't gender specific either It is just hard when you have never done this before to know that you are going ok and not making things worse.
    Last edited by Michelle71; November 25th, 2007 at 09:32 PM.

  6. #6

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    I still demand feed my 12 month old. She moved out of our bed into her cot at 9 months and what we do is she goes to bed in her cot and then when she wakes up after 3am comes into bed with me. Before that DH goes into her & cuddles her back to sleep, if she smells me she wants a feed. The last week she's not woken up at all & slept until 5am for a feed & a snooze for 30 minutes or so.

    I found when she moved out of our bed she slept longer between feeds but would wake up more at the feed. DH says that she see's him & lets a few cries out like "where's the good stuff?" LOL but usually settles quick for him. If she didn't she would be back in our bed for a feed.

    I know she doesn't need an overnight feed, but for us it means more sleep for all of us. Rather than wake her up more & distress her I feed her and we all sleep.

    With my oldest DD it was another story... she wouldn't sleep in our bed, she wouldn't settle, and would wake up 3-4 times a night at 12 months. It was painful. We tried CC, we tried gentle approaches, we tried everything.... and in the end she got older & it got easier...

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    Just an idea, (I have no idea if it would work) but could you try to give him a bottle of boiled water at the 2 hour mark to see if that would stretch him to 3 hours. It might distract him and help break the habit whilst also giving him some hydration now that it is getting hotter.

    I could be talking complete rubbish but Mum and I were trying to think of a solution for you.

    Just an idea.

    Spring

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    I should have said cooled boiled water (lol)

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    Spring - he has a sippy cup (one Avent one and a straw one that is easier to suck) that we give him but when he wants a feed, he wants a feed. He even refuses the bottle (for the odd FF break) if I am around and only takes a small amount if he thinks I am going to be home soon. Just enough to stave off hunger!! I am beginning to think this is a strong personality developing

    Christy - thank you. It is the stories like yours that show there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that it does get better. It is nice to know you aren't on your own

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    Michelle, I know where you're coming from. I often feel stuck between parenting styles! So glad to know I'm not alone there

    Nicholas is also a child who is not happy to be left, he gets hysterical if left to cry for longer than a minute or two (god forbid I should actually go to the toilet! ). So CC does not sit well with me at all. He also feeds around the clock, though what happens during the night varies. He goes down in his cot, having fed around 10.30-11pm, and will sleep until anywhere between 1 and 5am (usually closer to 1 ). Once he wakes, he's in with us and I feed him in bed. He's also not great at self settling, in fact this week has been shocking!

    TBH, although I would like more sleep, I am just not prepared to try and stretch him out ATM. Like Christy, I know he doesn't need it (although he thinks he does) but it means more sleep for everyone this way. And I know that feeding through the night helps my supply, you know how much trouble I've had. Who knows though, I could change my mind tomorrow!

    I totally understand you wanting to get some more rest and stretch things out a little. Is he happy to go a bit longer than 2 hours? Can you gradually try to stretch it out, increasing the time by 10 minutes over a few days/weeks? If Oscar is happy, I say go for it, if he's not, then you need to do what sits well with you Michelle. You will know inside what you think is best for your boy. And take it in small steps.......sometimes I think looking at the bigger picture/long-term makes everything seem a bit daunting. Go with what feels right.

    Good luck, I'll be thinking of you when Nicky wakes for his feed tonight!

  11. #11

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    Michelle71
    Your son sounds similar to my DS so I will share our story quickly before I head to bed!
    I demand fed James as well and we had times when he fed hourly (very early days) and times when it stretched more. We had attachment problems in the beginning as well and I didn't truly begin to enjoy breastfeeding until around the 8 week mark.
    Eventually we got into about a 2-3 hourly feeding schedule and we stuck with that for the LONGEST time. DH and I agreed we would not use CC and we have co-slept James since 8 weeks of age. He is now 21 months old and this is now what we do. He gets boobie after breakfast, again at nap time, and at bedtime. He gets NO night boobie anymore and what worked for us was waiting until he had better understanding and then I simply told him that the boobies were asleep and I offered him his sippy cup of water. It was rough going for awhile - but he got the point after a few nights.
    We still co-sleep a little bit but he often doesn't come into our bed until 3am or later. I remind him if he asks for it - that boobie is for after breakfast and that his choice is to sleep in our bed or sleep in his bed. He generally prefers to sleep with us so settles off to sleep.
    I hope this all makes sense I am really tired and need to go to bed but I wanted to let you know that it does get better. The gentle way is often slower and it is tiring to continue the night feeds until they are older, but DS is happy, healthy, alert, and confident so I feel good that we made this choice!

    I hope that helps at least a little bit!

  12. #12

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    Thanks Sez I just get the supply thing sorted (down to 10mg every 36 hours - woo hooo!!! I think that is for my own mental health though) and then I think about how often I am now feeding him because of the previous supply issues. I can cope with the lack of sleep thing - DH is a gem and gives me a few extra hours occasionally and I can also nap any time too, but I don't want to be doing something that is not good for Oscar. Your path and mine have been so similar - I wish you were closer!!! I think I just needed the reassurance rather than really wanting to change too much yet. It is hard to follow a path that no one around you follows. Isolating.

    Thank you Heidi!!! James does sound very similar and what you have done sounds very reasonable. I think it is something I could do!! Thank you for sharing.
    Last edited by Michelle71; November 25th, 2007 at 10:27 PM.

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    I've thought that before Michelle, that we've been through similar issues, and seem to parent in similar ways. I understand how isolating it feels......to be the only one in mother's group, the only one in a circle of friends etc who does things the way you do. TBH, I don't discuss the way we do things with many people, I just don't need the comments that then come my way. Thank goodness for bellybelly! Talking with other mums makes me feel confident (most of the time) that I am doing the right thing by my little man, and allows me to discuss any issues with like-minded people.

    I wish you were closer too hun, it would be lovely to meet you and your little guy! WTG on the Motilium -or lack of- that's fantstic news! Hear you on the mental health I'm pretty sure I could decrease my dose at least a little, but my mental health doesn't allow it.

  14. #14

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    Michelle - I just read that post too about the 6 month thing.. I've never heard it before, and not sure I agree with it. But hey, every baby is different. DS was/is demand fed, and fed around the clock for many months 3-4hrly. This dropped slightly as he got older, but I think he mainly weaned from his night feeds coz I got pregnant, and we started offering water through the night instead of boob (he was about 15 months then).

    If you're comfortable feeding through the night, don't let it worry you. Night feeds are the best for your supply, and if you're concerned about weight gains etc, then the night feeds probably aren't a bad thing, and they don't go forever I found the night feeds weren't tiring, both of us were pretty sleepy throughout them, so both dropped off to sleep easily afterwards, so I didn't find sleep deprivation to be a problem.

    Just keep doing whatever feels right for you. It does feel isolating.. I didn't even have the support of my mum, coz she reckoned he should have been sleeping through, and said awful things like my milk mustn't be good enough if he needs to feed that frequently etc etc. Have faith that your body and your baby are working as a team and know what they're doing

  15. #15

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    Well, having written he feeds every 2 hours he went 4 hours in the evening and slept for 3 It is shame I wasn't in bed at the time!!!

    Liz - it is so hard sometimes to keep the faith when you are doing something different from your friends / family. That is why BB is so important - there are people who have been there and understand. Cute photo of the little ones too

  16. #16

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    You're doing a great job, Michelle. Good on you for following your heart. I think the reference to kids not needing night feeds o'night after 6 months is a reassurance to those wanting to night-wean - so they'll know their baby can theoretically handle it. If you are comfortable feeding overnight there is no reason to stop. Breastmilk can't be bad for Oscar at any stage of the day

  17. #17

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    Dear Michelle,

    Your little one sounds completely NORMAL! It is a shame that a throwaway comment could undermine your confidence. I saw that comment about babies not needing nutrition during the night when they are over 6mnths, and wondered if I should correct it, but I didn't because it seemed a bit rude to but in. I don't think that we know at all whether babies "need" a feed during the night or not. But research shows that 85% of them wake at least once in the night after 6mnths - maybe they are trying to tell us something. And to your credit, you are listening! Nothing you are doing will make the situation "worse'. Do what your heart tells you.
    Regards
    Barb

  18. #18

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    When I said that Nicholas didn't 'need' a feed during the night, I meant that he gets plenty of nutrition during the day, and won't fade away if he doesn't have any feeds overnight. However, the fact that he's waking, and will settle straight after a feed tells me that he at least needs a snack to keep on sleeping. Last night he needed more than a snack, and three times too! That's interesting Barb, about the 85% of babies! I'll throw that back at anyone who tells me Nicholas *should* be sleeping through

    Michelle, that's a great sleep Oscar had! If only you knew when they were going to do it, hey? Let's hope he does it a little more often for you

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