feeding and sleeping …

April 23, 2011

let me start by saying that i think that comparing ourselves to others can really rob us (me) of joy. so, my aim in sharing my thoughts here, and seeking feedback, is not to compare … but rather, to hear the experiences and insights of others. i have much to learn! and i know that ultimately, my direction and counsel comes from GOD and His Word. but the beauty of relationships, of living life in community, is that we can share and encourage and learn alongside one another!

so, to my point … hee hee. i am so curious about what has worked (and not worked) for other mama’s, on the whole “demand-feed” vs “babywise” approach.

for some context: precious josiah will be 3 weeks old tomorrow (growing so quickly!). in the past few days, a couple of things have become very apparent: 1- he likes to eat (or is it, snack!?) OFTEN – as in, at least every 2 hours; and 2- he prefers (read: needs) to be held in order to fall asleep.

and here’s the thing: i love nothing more than holding my baby, rocking him to sleep, feeding when he’s hungry, etc. by nature, i am a nurturer and definitely tend toward the “demand-feed” end of the spectrum.

however, one of my big goals before having josiah, was to do things a bit differently with this baby. maddie was never a “good” sleeper; she required holding, coddling, soothing, etc … to fall asleep and stay asleep, for a couple years. it was crazy-making, and i determined to at minimum, train this baby toward falling asleep on his own. after rereading “babywise”, i’m reminded of the author’s fundamental point: sleeping is tied inherently to feeding, and the scheduling should be directedย by the parent’s, for the best interest of all.

so i am thinking things over, sorting through my thoughts and feelings, and making adjustments.ย  i feel stirred to create more structure and to move toward more of a schedule. i’m already making efforts to ensure that when he feeds, he doesn’t fall asleep on the breast (at the “cafeteria” as my hubby says!) but rather, has a full feeding (both sides). it’s just so hard when he cries furiously when it’s just beenย 2 hours since the last feeding, and he gives all the hunger cues. we did buy a pacifier today and he loved it immediately. perhaps it will be the “bridge” to satisfy his (endless) sucking desire, while not cultivating a habit (and milk supply) of snacking vs. feeding?

i would love to hear from the mama’s!! thoughts, ideas, insights, experiences … ? ๐Ÿ™‚

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8 Responses to “feeding and sleeping …”

  1. Meredith Says:

    I totally get the desire to have a structured schedule. We’re just NOW settling into a predictable nap time with Lizzy, and it is wonderful.

    In terms of just the feeding aspects of Babywise, I really don’t think the recommendations from the AAP (for on-demand feeding) and Ezzo (Babywise) are all that different–I think the AAP recommends feeding on demand, usually at least every 2-3 hours. Ezzo recommends feeding every 2.5-3 hours, or whenever baby is demonstrating signs of hunger.

    The thing that helped us most didn’t really have to do with spacing out feeding times. The thing that helped us most was the “EASY” method– Eat, Activity, Sleep, You-Time (for the mom). Basically, the whole idea is to get babies accustomed to having some sort of rhythm to their day that doesn’t include being nursed to sleep.

  2. Krystle Says:

    Ok, so anywhere you read it says to feed newborns every 2-3 hours, sounds like Mr. Josiah is still in the “norm”…just on the early side of the norm! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I think the first month to 6 weeks you are still getting to know one another and getting a system together, so feeding on demand makes sense. As long as he is eating for between 15-30 minutes, not shorter than that and not longer than 40 minutes, he is getting a meal. If it is truly a 5-10 minute session, than I would say he just has a strong desire to suck and the pacifier can help him in between those times.

    He is still small enough that “needing to be held to sleep” is totally ok. He’s just fresh outta da womb! ๐Ÿ™‚ Our boys did this until about 7-8 weeks and they slowly started being able to be put down SUPER drowsy, just barely awake but then fall asleep. Just get him as tired as possible without him being completely asleep and just try that as often as possible.
    Are you swaddling? I highly recommend it, it’s very soothing and has helped both our boys settle and stay settled.
    I agree that eventually you should work toward an eat, awake, sleep schedule…but he is very young so don’t stress about it.
    I’m telling you all of this because I just went through it ALL! I too had issues with Jack and I was determined to not repeat the mistakes I made…so I tried forcing the boys into a “schedule” of sorts and being upset with they wanted to eat early, or not fall asleep on their own. I was reminded that most often it takes until about the 12 week mark for them to be ready to fall into this. You can do things to try and work on a schedule, but don’t stress about it too much! It will happen in time, I promise! I’m doing it with 2 ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
    All 3 of my boys went through times where they ate evrey 2 hours, it only lasted a few days because I allowed them to, and then they were satisfied. During a growth spurt this can happen too.

    I knew that I had tried all else and I couldn’t calm them, that nursing them would and I felt instinctivly that I needed to. Again, it was just the first several weeks.

    So, give yourself and Josiah a few more weeks and see how it is going ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope that helps?! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • home2learn Says:

      krystle,
      your words are beyond helpful … they are a balm of sweet encouragement and uplift. thank you for sharing so much, from your insights and (current!) experience.

  3. liz Says:

    My experience was that when my babies were Josiah’s age, they were hungry every 3 hours like clockwork. When they fussed at 1 1/2 to 2 hours, they were ready for a little snooze. Mine all liked a pacifier, and we would soothe them to sleep that way and then put them down. When they woke up they’d be ready to feed. (If you feed them when they’re tired, they are less likely to get full and will be hungry sooner, so this can turn into a vicious cycle.)

    That rhythm worked well for all of my newborns, and doesn’t differ much from your other friends’ suggestions. I second the importance of a FULL feeding — then they typically can make it three hours, or even close to four once in awhile. I think the longer gap makes it more likely for you to get some sleep at night as well, and several of my babies started having a 5-6 hour sleep after only a few weeks.

    Love you. Can’t wait to meet the little man!

    • home2learn Says:

      beautiful, liz. thank you. it’s amazing, the common theme that i continue to hear and that resonates for me: the importance of the full feeding … and the fussing in between that is typically from being tired … good stuff.
      i am feeling encouraged!

  4. Cissy Macias Says:

    Gabriel is wanting to nurse every 2-4 hrs. He is a “feed-on-demand” baby as was Sophia. I don’t do a schedule…As I have found not every day is the same as the ones before or the ones to follow.
    He will take a pacifier for a while (between feedings) and when he is ready – he wants his boobie and NOW!
    Gabriel is a better sleeper then Sophia ever was/is. He will sleep for 2-4 hrs at a time (even at night. I have him in bed with me just as I did/do with Sophia. My babies are close to me and that is how I (and they) like it.
    I seem to be making enough milk to supply all his needs.


  5. I don’t know that I have anything different to say, except to just tell you how things went for us, just to add to the list of experiences.

    When Regan was a baby he fed every 2-3 hours, for several months. He wanted to be held a lot and at 3 weeks he was still a tiny newborn…still having those sudden arm jerks (Moro Reflex)…and doing what I assumed was adjusting to life outside of the womb. I agree with trying to do a full feeding. Maybe try to stretch it a couple times to see if it makes a difference???

    AND….I hear your desire to refine your actions to set up a system for Josiah. In the end, I think if I was having another child, I would want to work on having a more consistent schedule…for the benefit of baby and Mom. I think the sleeping schedule is most helpful…for everyone in the house. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    My thoughts are that at his young age, his life truly is all about eating, burping, filling his diaper, and sleeping.

    Now, all that said, I feel I need to tell you one last thing. Regan seemed hungry a lot as well, so I eventually took him to the Dr at 3 months old and although he was doing ok, we discovered that he was not getting enough milk. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I seriously looked as though I had enough milk to feed all of America…but it was not coming out very fast…thus frequent feedings. Back then, a good way that we figured that out was by using a breast pump. I would pump for an hour or so and get 2 oz. So, if you’re worried about that, use a breast pump to get an idea of ‘quantity’.

    Afterwards we had to put him on formula (I had very mixed feelings about that), but he still ate every 3 hours or so.

    Sorry if I’ve just rambled. What I learned was that God gave me mothering instincts, so listen to that inner voice. You are connected to Josiah more than anyone….

    Much love to you. You are a WONDERFUL Mamma!


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