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Posts Tagged ‘infant schedules’

I have used many of the baby wise principals with my son. I have followed a lot of the advice they have given about feeding schedules. They have worked really well so far. I exclusively breastfeed Cooper until he was almost 5 months old. My son is now 7 months old and I am still breastfeeding and have not lost my milk supply. I should also add that Cooper has always been in the 50 %ile for weight and 90-95 %ile for height.

Common Issues with Baby Wise and Breastfeeding

I have hear the common issues that people have when it comes to babywise- “you can decrease you milk supply or lose it all together if you follow babywise and your child may have failure to thrive. After following a feeding schedule that is similar to the one they suggest in baby wise, I can understand why that might happen. People misinterpret how to implement baby wise while they are breast feeding which results in low milk supply (or loose ability to nurse) and children who fail to thrive. I wanted to give some helpful suggestions to make sure this does not happen to you!

Don’t feed by the clock- this type of feeding schedule is not baby wise. Baby wise is a parent-directed feeding schedule. This type of feeding schedule has designated feeding times, but also allows for some variation due to child’s hunger. For instants, let’s say you’re feeding schedule looked something like this- 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm. If you child is suppose to eat at 10am but is crying and fussy at 9:50 should you make them wait an additional 10 minutes to eat- no, that is hyper scheduling! The schedule serves as a guide line for when to feed and how to schedule naps. It helps you as a parent know when to expect your child to be hungry. This was great when my son was a newborn. I knew if he was crying around a scheduled feeding time he was most likely hungry.  But if he was crying and he had just eaten a hour prior, he most likely was not hungry and perhaps he was tired or had gas. Babywise gave this diagram to help drive home the point to not feed only by the clock:

Hunger Cue + Clock + Parent Assessment = Feeding Time

Feed More Frequently During Growth Spurts- During a growth spurt, you will need to feed your baby more frequently if you are nursing. This will help stimulate your breasts to start producing more milk. If you fail to follow your child’s hunger cues, you could damage your milk supply. The result is less milk and a fussy, underfeed baby. If you were feeding on a 3- hour schedule, consider moving back to a 2.5 hour schedule to fit in an extra feeding. Remember to follow your child’s hunger cue’s and feed your baby when she is hungry. Growth spurts really don’t last longer than a few days, a week at most. Yes your schedule will be a little messed up for a few days. Don’t fear, after the growth spurt is over, you little one will return to the previous schedule fairly easy.

Add a feeding- Once your child is on a 4-hour schedule, that means you will only need to feed your little one 4 times a day. Your schedule might look like this- 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm. For some breastfeeding mom’s 4 feedings is not enough. Baby wise recognizes this and writes, “Your baby will maintain four to six liquid feeding in a 24- hour period, three of which will be supplemented by babyfood.” Some moms can nurse 4 times and maintain milk supply but others cannot. If you are on a 4 hour schedule, how do you fit in the 6 feedings to maintain milk supply? You can add the late night feeding (dreamfeed), this is the feeding you usually give to your child after they have been asleep around 10/11pm before you go to sleep. You could also try cluster feeding in the evening since your milk supply is lower at night any way. Your schedule might look like this- 7am, 11am, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, with an optional late night feeding at 10/11pm. Once your baby is older and will stay awake longer, they may not be on a perfect 4 hour eat, wake, sleep cycle. NOTE: if you see your milk supply dipping, just add an additional feeding.  Shorten the length between feeding to accomplish this.

Pump: Once your little one is sleeping through the night and no longer taking the late night feeding (dreamfeed) you may only be breastfeeding 4 times a day. I tried doing that, but my milk supply started to dip. I added a 5 feeding, but I pump this feeding right before I go to sleep between 10/11pm. I save the milk that I pump and use it in his cereal for the next day. Once I added the 5 feeding back with pumping, I was able to maintain a healthy milk supply.

Here is what my feeding schedule looks like with my 7 month old currently:

  • 7am Breastfeed/ breakfast
  • 10am nap (1.5 hours)
  • 11:30 breastfeed/ lunch
  • 2:30 nap (1.5 hours)
  • 4:00 breastfeed
  • 6:00 Dinner
  • 7:00 Breastfeed
  • 10/11:00 Pump (save breast milk for cereal next day)
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There are two books that I highly recommend you read if you have a small infant: Babywise and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. These two books have been a huge resource to me, especially when Cooper was under 4 months old. I have turned through the pages of these two books plenty of times. Both books talk about a daily schedule that follows a very simple pattern it looks something like this:

  1. Eat
  2. Awake/ Play
  3. Sleep
  4. Repeat (eat, play, sleep)

This pattern is important to follow because your baby does not learn to depend on eating (nursing/bottle) to fall asleep.

Be careful not to hyper schedule- be flexible

Depending on how old your baby is will determine how long each cycle (eat, play, sleep) will be. Your baby is not a robot and each cycle may vary by a few minutes each day. It is important not to hyper schedule and only feed the baby by the clock. Also keep in mind that at different parts of the day, your baby will be able to go longer between feeds than other times of the day. My son was only able to go 2.5 hours in the morning between feeds when he was under 3 months old. The rest of the schedule he was able to go 3 hours between each feed. Be flexible. Find out what works for your child and build your schedule around that.

Schedules Change

Schedules are constantly changing based on the developing needs of your child. Keep that in mind too! What worked last week might not work this week. Consider changing the amount of time your child stays awake if you child is having trouble napping by either decreasing or increasing his awake time.

What happens to the schedule when your baby has a growth spurt?

When a baby is in the middle of a growth spurt, if you are nursing, you must increase the number of times you feed your baby. This will only last a few days and you can go back to your normal schedule. If you are bottle feeding during a growth spurt, you can just increase the amount of formula in each bottle.

What determines the length of each cycle?

  1. Eating: this depends on how long your baby takes to eat (nurse/bottle). Newborns can take 20-45 minutes to nurse. As babies get older they get more efficient at eating. My son is now 6.5 months old and he nurses for 5 minutes on each side for a total of 10 minutes. When he was a newborn he was a fast eater, only nursing for a total of 15-20 minutes. Each baby is different and some take longer than others.
  2. Awake/ Play: this will depend on two factors- how old your baby is and how long it takes them to nurse. If your baby takes a long time to nurse then he will not have a lot of time left over to play. Below are some recommended awake times for each baby. Not all babies are the same. Some babies need shorter awake time while other may need longer. Remember to include how long your baby east when calculating awake time. As your baby gets older, wake times could vary. They tend to stay awake for a shorter time in the morning, longer in the afternoon, and even longer in the evening. See my post entitled 2-3-4 Nap Schedule for more on this: https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/2-3-4-nap-schedule-for-older-babies/
    Newborn 50-60 mins
    1 month 60 mins-hour and 15
    2 months 1 hour and 15 – 20 mins
    3 months 1 hour and 20 – 30 mins
    4 months 1 hour and 45 – 2 hours
    5 months 2 hours – 2.25 hours
    Late 5 months/early 6 months 2.25-2.5 hours
    6.5 – 7 months 2.75-3 hours. Some are getting more.
    8 – 10 months 3 – 4 hours. Some are getting more.
    11 – 12 months 3.5 -4.5 hours. Some are getting more if moved early to 1 nap
  3. Sleep (naps): this depends on how long your baby can stay awake and how long they can go in between feedings. Below is a the number of naps that each baby should take each day (this could vary). See my post Infant Sleep Requirements which gives more information about how long each nap should be.
    Newborn- 1 month 3-4 naps
    2- 3 months 3-4 naps
    3 months 3 naps
    4-5 months 2-3 naps
    6- 8 months 2-3  naps
    9- 18 months 2 naps
    18+ months 1 naps

I typed the schedules that I kept with my son every month. They have changed quite a bit as he has grown. https://blogginaboutbabies.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/infant-schedules-by-month/

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