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Routine for bf babies

Has anyone been able to establish a routine with their babies whilst breastfeeding?

At present, baby has always ate about every 2 hours. Since my mum has arrived to help, she is trying to help me establish a routine for feeding so at least I know when the baby is due her next feed. Although my mum is planning the feed every 4 hours, if the baby is hungry before then, she usually feeds at this which has been on average every 3 hours.

I know with b/feeding, it is demand feeding, but am I wrong to try and establish some routine to the feeding? Has anyone successfully established a routine whilst bfeeding baby?

My baby is 20 days old.

Thanks for your advice



  • I think routine is great but i followed my baby led routine for quite a while before i started to introduce my own routine.

    i think i did baby led demand feeding for the first 8-9 weeks then i started to increas times between feeds slightly (15 mins or so) by using a dummy and enclouraged lo to take more each feed etc

    then by about 5 months i stopped feeding at night and started with what i classed as a proper routine where we both knew when feeding times where but it was always flexible due to growth spurts etc

    each baby is different, my friend's lo fed every 2 hours day and night for 8 weeks then slept 12 hours throught the night from then on, magical.

    i think it's great you're making positive decisions about control etc, don't be disheartened at growth spurt times though, they're natural and may throw any routine you have established out of the window for a while,

    good luck x
  • I think everyone and everyones ideas are so different. Ive got 2 kids, the first was bottle fed and i started establishing a routine at 3 days.

    The 2nd was breast fed and although i wasnt as strict with him as the first ( you cant be with an other toddler to deal with), i did the same, routine from about 2 weeks old. I started later as i was settling into breastfeeding but once i got the hang of it it was straight on it. Im a Gina Ford follower, though maybe not as harsh.

    My breastfed baby was well into routine and dropped his 3 am feed by 9 weeks, then dropped his 10pm feed about 16 weeks, so it is possible.

    I would say establish a routine that suits you, bearing in mind you want to eventually have breakfast, lundh and dinner. Babies can stay awake for around 2 hours at a time, so try and structure that around feeds. If you sort out when to nap, the feeding will fall into place.

    Good luck and stick with it, its really hard to follow a routine but worth it in the end

    Gemm x
  • Lily is nearly 11 weeks and we don't have any routine at all except for at bedtime, when she has a feed somewhere between 7-8pm in the nursing chair before I put her to bed. She's not always "due" a feed at this time but she always accepts the boob then, before dropping off.

    I tentatively tried to make her wait longer between feeds for a few days once and to be honest it wasn't worth the hassle of her getting wound up whilst I made her wait. Personally I'm not going to force it - they only eat when hungry so I'd feel rotten denying her.

    It's not particularly convenient, as like you, Sevans, she feeds about every 1-3 hours in the day - but she goes longer at night, and I don't let it restrict me as I just wop them out anywhere, lol. We go to groups, the shops or wherever most days and at all different times, so to be honest a routine would probably be equally restricting as doing it all on demand is.

    So for me - demand is the way forward, Lily is on the whole a content baby and I'm all for an easy life! No doubt she'll fall into a routine which suits us both at some point.
  • you can get into a routine but at this age shes still young and your milk supply is still getting established.Your baby has lots of growth spurts at the moment too so i would feed on demand for the time being and follow your babies lead,this will help get your milk supply built up too.I think grace was around 2 mths old when she started settling into some kind of a routine of 3 hrly feeds and at 9 weeks she started slepping through the night xxxx
  • My baby did naturally fall into her own routine, but it did take time and at 3 weeks I was still feeding very much on demand, at varying time intervals.

    I think that your lo is still quite young for a routine, but if you want to get into one I would start by recording her sleeping and feeding times for 3-4 days, and then work from that. You may find that there is more of a pattern than you think, and it will be easier to slightly vary her 'natural' feed times than to implement a completely new schedule. You will probably need to start with feeds more frequently than 4-hourly, but see what works for you and your lo.
  • For me this is one of the best things about breast feeding your milk is "on tap" so you don't need to worry about a routine. If you feel you want to put the LO in the push chair if she wants a feed before you are ready and walk her till its time for a feed? but at 20 days she might still need feeding every 2 hours? I found it best to let the baby led me. they know when they are hungry.
  • thank you ladies for your advice, demand feeding is the way to go. I thought it may be a bit easier to be organised with a routine going. But I reckon Ive been bit brainwashed by my old fashioned mum.

    PTB - i thought your post about bf not restricting what you do (ie groups) positive as i havent been out much during the day.
  • It is very early days to try and get into a routine, to be honest when Isaac was little the only 'routine' he had was at bedtime, I would always bath him then feed him then put him to bed, during the day he would feed between every 1-3 hours in the early days and when he wanted food nothing would make him wait. The daytime routine did come eventually but not till he was about 3-4 months old and then it was a routine which he led it just happened that his feeds got a bit more spaced out and he slept roughly around about the same times each day. I found feeding whilst I was out the first few times a bit nerve racking but once I had done it a few times I was fine, I always made sure I had a baggy top on and would use a muslin square. I got to the poin that Iwould feed whereever I was and to be homnest I really dont think anyone noticed and if they did they certainly werent bothered.

    My mum was very much like yours sounds, wanted me to establish a routine from day one said things like life doesnt need to stop just becuase you have a baby and remember you are the boss. When I had my first 2 I can honestly say that stressing about a routine ruined the time they were babies so when I had alice and Isaac I let them lead me and they were much happier and content so as as result I was too. Remember you are your babys mum, your mum probably just wants to help and do things the way she knows but at the end of the day its your baby xx
  • Sevans - I started getting out and about as soon as I could and I'd definitely recommend it. With every little trip your confidence grows a bit more. It's great to meet other mummies, or have a coffee and a read of the paper. or just get some fresh air. I honestly do find bf the opposite of restrictive. I fed Lily in Costa today - no one there would have been aware that she was doing anything other than having a cuddle.

    Hope it's all going ok :\)
  • Just wanted to second what PTB is saying. I was quite nervous about bfing in public, but noone so much as bats an eyelid. At all the baby groups I go to you often see mums sitting there with their los latched on. I've bf in pubs, coffee shops, restaurants- I think it's really good for both of us to get out of the house and there's enough in my change bag already without worrying about bottles!
  • thanks PTB & Poz for bringing up topic of bf in public, as I havent done this yet. I was in town today n left bit early so Skye was home in time for feed. do you wear a nursing top then - do you find this easiest? do you use a shawl to cover baby? do you not find it tricky getting baby to latch on without exposing yourself?
  • I don't wear a nursing top or shawl, just a fairly loose top that I can pull up. I normally also wear a nursing vest so that I won't show off my belly! It can be a bit tricky getting her latched on, but I usually try to find a seat that's reasonably sheltered (pubs/restauarants with alcoves are great!) and turn away if poss, then turn back when she is latched. I would choose a quiet cafe or similar where you feel most comfortable at first, then after the first few times you just get used to it. Another good tip that I had from someone on here was to practice at home in front of a mirror if you are nervous about it.

    Good luck- I'm sure you'll soon be a pro!
  • Hi there

    Just adding my tuppence in here - think you've had LOADS of fab advice re Routine so I have nothing to add there. With regards to feeding out and about I never wore any nursing outfits or vests, just a nursing bra and any looser top. It took me a while to get up the confidence to go for feeding out and about as neither I nor my lo were very good at it to start with :lol: But the best thing I did was the first time I decided to go for it I asked a very good friend to come out to a nice quiet cafe with me - she was very supportive and it helped to have someone there to talk to and make me feel less self concious about what I was doing. From then on I fed anywhere and everywhere and never stayed in the house for a full day as it helped both mine and lo's sanity to be out and about!

    The more you do it the easier it is! You will become a pro and you are doing a fab job!
  • I'll just stick my oar in as well lol
    With regards to feeding in public I am very much of the wop them out anywhere mentality. I know full well that the only way anyone would be able to see anything is if they were staring, so if they get an eyeful, tough luck!! I would definately take someone supportive with you the first few times, and maybe try and find somewhere that welcomes bfing mums. I know both Costa and Starbucks company policy is to encourage bfing mums so you should be ok there. Once you've tried it a couple of times you'll feel much more confident. I was very nervous about feeding in public when I first had Millie, by the time Barney arrived I was so used to it that I even fed him standing in the customs queue at Palma airport!!!
  • Re what to wear - I wear anything, just whatever I put on in the morning. Anything exposed is easily covered with a muslin. Nursing bras are a must though, obviously.

    It takes a bit of practice but it's soon easy to get them latched on without looking whilst still being discreet. Anything that might, just briefly be exposed you can use baba's body/head to shield it.

    I do have three nice nursing tops and I have to admit these are easiest.
  • Just wanted to say that I think every time we breastfeed in public we are doing a great service. Many women have never seen anyone in their family breastfeed, especially young girls from poorer backgrounds (this info is taken from NHS scotland website). Everytime a woman breastfeeds in public, she is letting the world and other women know that this is a good, natural and positive thing!! Come on ladies - do it for mankind/womankind!!!!!
  • The first time i fed in public i went out specifically to do so, to break the ice so to speak. I went to a cafe with my mum and we sat and had a drink and i fed lo - it took a while longer to feed him as he wasn't used to it and i had a bit of trouble getting him latched on as i usually fed him rugby ball style (can't any more as he's too long) so that was new for both of us. It was fab and my self confidence was sky high afterwards. Now i do it anywhere! With regards to being discreet, i wish i could, but i do my best! I have a rather large chest, and once lo is latched i can cover everything up, but doing so, someone usually gets a cheeky flash lol - my feeling is if they are offended by it they can jog on, i've seen worse on a beach!

    You sound like you are doing really well though, asking lots of questions on here is good because the more you know the better equipped you are to cope, and you also seem determined! xx
  • I also want to back up PTB advice on getting out and about. It not only builds your confidence but i find it helps my LO go longer between feeds and distinguish between night and day. I also love places like Starbucks. They have comfortable chairs, an open bf policy, lots of other mums, changing facilities and even though the coffee is expensive per cup I will spend 3 hours in one on 2 drinks without being made to feel unwelcome - I think that's good value. :\)

    On the subject of routine anyone who has read my posts before knows I've been on a routine since day 3 (first 2 days LO was in SCBU). However many people misunderstand the basis of a routine. I never let Abby scream in hunger but I do wake her for feeds on a regular basis and make sure she feeds for at least 30 mins each time (tickle feet, change nappy - just keep her going!).
    4 hour routines are based on ff but I find that a 3 hour routine works well for bf and it helps me plan my day. For example if I know she gets hungry at 1pm I will arrange to meet friends at 2pm (after she's fed) or at 12:45 in a place I feel comfortable feeding.
    I know a couple of people whose LOs ended up back in hospital after feeding "on demand" and their babies didn't demand and lost too much weight. Although that's rare it can be an issue and Abby had pneumonia at birth so I was very careful to make sure she had enough food. This then led to a nice routine which still suits us at 9.5 weeks. She also sleeps through 1-2 times a week and always sleeps well in her moses basket although that may be because she is generally a very good baby. :\)
    A routine is a very personal issue but I find it very useful and Abby is a very contented baby. I read Gina Ford and the Baby Whisperer and find a combination of 3 hour feeding and the EASY routine works well for us.

    Good luck with whatever you decide,
    H xxx
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