Breastfeeding on demand vs on a schedule

posted 3 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
Member
42469 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Evie19:  Have you ever tried to feed a baby who is not hungry? Or is not even awake?

Feeding to a schedule, does not take into account any variables like the amount taken at the previous feed, whether or not the baby is going through a growth spurt and needs to nurse more frequently, perhaps the child has had a medication or an immunization and is more sleepy or more cranky than normal.

There’s some good information here:

http://www.llli.org/nb/nbjulaug03p126.html

Post # 5
Member
42469 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Evie19:  It would be interesting to hear how they managed a schedule for a newborn. The newborn stomach is about the size of a walnut and most often cannot predictably last 3-4 hours between feedings.

Maybe the schedule they followed was the one set by the baby?

Post # 6
Member
1721 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

Feeding on demand will also help to regulate your milk supply.  Trying too hard to force a schedule could leave you not producing enough (and with a cranky baby!).  When babies are a bit older they usually fall into a natural schedule.  Some women have to go back to work right away, so the babies that go to day care very young may need to be on a schedule, but if you don’t have to, it’s worth it to feed on demand.  Will you sometimes feel like nothing but a walking milk machine?  For sure, but for me, it was totally a great bonding experience.  Good luck!!!

Post # 9
Member
42469 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Evie19:  It is much easier to have a formula fed baby on a schedule. Breastmilk is digested faster than formula, therefore breastfed babies need to be fed more frequently.

Post # 10
Member
1721 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@Evie19:  I could tell by your post that you were :).  I was using generic “you” not you you, lol if that makes any sense!

Post # 11
Member
6644 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@julies1949:  My son was in the NCIU for 4 weeks he was fed on a schedule every 3 hours.  We kept that when he came home, it wasn’t that hard he was used to it

Post # 13
Member
40 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Yeah, in the NICU, we tend to feed all babies on a schedule to make staying organized a bit easier, but breasted babies tend to throw that schedule out the window (especially in thr beginning when mom is not making lots of milk). When you’re feeding EBM or formula, you have a volume to go by to help “hold” the baby until the next time for them to eat, but I’ve never had an exclusively breastfed baby 100% adhere to an every 3 hour schedule.

the main benefit to schedule us getting consistentish rest periods between, but its probably way easier to not have to mess with warming milk and sterilizing tons of bottles.

Post # 14
Member
1175 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

@Evie19:  Some babies will naturally put themselves on a schedule, particularly if they are not terribly interested in comfort sucking. Bf’ing is all about supply and demand and generally works best when baby is allowed to set the pace and the supply.

Post # 15
Member
863 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I think breastfeeding on demand makes sense because it’s what the human body is designed for, evolutionarily. I am not big on baby scheduling in general, though, because it seems like an exercise in failure! You have three days where it works, weeks trying to get back on it, three days where it works again. To me, it adds stress. Some babies are more routine than others, which can emerge by you doing nothing other than observing. 

Post # 16
Member
11668 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Evie19:  BF on demand helps build supply. My baby is 9 days old and there are no other options besides fb when she is hungry! It works great and she has herself on a 3.5-4 hour schedule. She regained her birth weight in 3 days.

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