Feeding "Schedule" - Chevy Chase,MD

Updated on July 12, 2008
W.B. asks from Chevy Chase, MD
6 answers

I know that many BF moms do not support the notion of a schedule but I guess I'm appealing to those of you who do. I am a very routine oriented person and am really struggling with finding a feeding/sleeping routine that works. I am ALWAYS flexible and am not talking about permanent times but I do need some semblance of normalcy in my days. I go back to work in 5 weeks (when LO will be 6 mo) and I want to savor the time I have left and believe this will help me do so. Anyway, my DS will be 5 mo on the 19th and currently takes 3 naps a day with about 11 hours of night sleep--waking once or (more usually) twice. He is very consistent in that he can only be awake for 2-3 hours at a time so the naps come naturally in our day. Usually he is up around 7:30, naps around 9:30 (about 45 mins), naps again around 12:30 or 1 and again around 4:30 or 5. Bedtime is around 8:30. Anyway, my confusion is really about when to feed him because he is so distractable when he's awake no matter what I do and I don't like the idea of nursing to sleep for all naps. He nuring usually about 7x a day. Can anyone share a schedule that works for them?

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answers from Washington DC on

People can share their schedules, but every nursing relationship is different--every baby is different. Every mom's milk is different. How often and how long your baby nurses depends on many factors. It depends on your baby's particular caloric needs, and the caloric value of your particular milk. It depends on how much milk your baby can comfortably hold, and on your baby's particular digestive system (how fast your baby digests your milk). And there is also the question of how much stimulation you need to maintain your milk supply. So what works for one nursing couple may not work for you, and you will end up frustrated.

You will be going back to work, and I assume you will be putting baby in daycare? What I found was that when I started getting up every day at the same time, and waking baby every day at the same time to nurse in the morning before leaving, baby settled into a very regular routine of his or her own. This happened with both of them. So, I suggest this as the first step--make your morning routine match what it will be and see what baby settles into.

Your baby has obviously settled into a regular routine. If you start your day at the same time every day, you will probably find that it is actually a pretty regular schedule. You already have the schedule that will work for you and your baby.

Your baby probably needs to nurse as many times as he is, and he may continue to need to nurse that many times even up to a year. But if he'll take a bottle, a breast-feeding friendly childcare provider will understand that and will offer the bottle at the necessary times.

Because of the timing of your return to work, it may be helpful to be reminded that babies typically go through a growth spurt right around the 6-month point. So right when you're going back to work, your baby will suddenly begin needing to nurse more often and for longer periods as he tries to stimulate your milk supply. If you can get that growth spurt out of the way before you go back to work, it might make the transition a lot easier.



answers from Jacksonville on

My 6 1/2 month old girl started to get very distracted at about 5 months. I find that it's easier for us to nurse right when she wakes. Sometimes I even leave the lights off until she has nursed. Like you, we thrive on a schedule and I don't like to nurse her to sleep. Sounds like you have a pretty good schedule going already. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

I'm the same way - I need a schedule to maintain my sanity as a mother, and I think that children thrive when they know what to expect during the day. I've used Babywise with my two kids (3 1/2 and 6 months) with good success. At your baby's age it recommends 4-6 feedings a day. Basically the schedule they advocate is this: feeding, waketime, naptime, repeat until nighttime, then eliminate the waketime.

Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

It sounds like you already have somewhat of a schedule. I was a big "scheduler" when my daughter was a baby. But i found that they're hungry when they get up, and hungry when they goto sleep(helps them to cool out). But you know the things I'm about to say. Your child wil probably continue to eat 7 - 8x per day just like you have it. That's not going to go away and may increase a little, but like to 9 or 10x occasionally, like at night. If you don't want to nurse for all naps, give him a bottle of breast milk.

Just an fyi, you may feel like you don't know what you're doing, but you seem to know exactly what you're doing. Good luck.



answers from Washington DC on

5 mo is a tough time for breastfeeding, I understand what you are going through. All babies are very distractable at this age. I could never get my BF baby on a good schedule until we started solid food (3xs a day). I'm sorry, but the best advice I can give is to wait for solid foods.
Good Luck,



answers from Washington DC on

Looks like your baby has pretty much set a natural schedule for himself. :) I recommend the book The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley for ideas on how to set a good nap and night time routine. I tried the ideas in it and my LO pretty much settled into a good routine. She even has downloadable logs for you to track down what he does and I think that will help you set a good schedule for him.

Hope this helps!

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