Question about ff babies

Following on from missdeedees thread about asking random questions I have one.

i was at baby massage last week and I was the only one bfing, all the others were ff and something one of them was saying left me wondering-

when i I bf I feed on demand- ie no set time, if she's hungry she feeds. even if she's only fed an hour ago, if she's rooting for food I give her a feed. 

One girl there with a one month old was complaining about how baby was always feeding (formula). She said the baby would feed all day if she could. She was giving it a bottle of water as she said she will just drink all the time and she's going through loads of formula every week it was costing her too much . The baby was definitely hungry though as still was screaming while having water. She eventually gave in and gave it formula and she settled straight away. 

 So I'm wondering with ff, do you not feed on demand? I know it's easier to see a feeding pattern of the times of day they feed and how much they have at each feed, but  if they are showing signs of hunger do you not give extra milk? Do you make them wait until their next normal feeding time? I

i was really surprised to see her giving a one month old water to stop it crying for milk  but didn't want to ask about demand feeding as I haven't done ff until after 6 months so didn't know how it works 



  • at our parent craft class we were told if we choose ff, then yes feed on demand, and it made sense to me. a baby has no concept of time or a clock, so it doesnt know lunch time is around 12 for example, if a baby is hungry its hungry and needs to be fed.

    if i go ff thats how i will take it i think/

    i wont make them sit and cry becasue its not lunch time ?

  • F was FF and he quite quickly settled into his own routine of feeding roughly every 3 hours. Sometimes he wanted feeding before that and that was fine, we just followed his lead. I, personally, wouldn't force a 1 month old to wait until his next feed is supposedly due if he's hungry before that.

  • That's what I thought but didn't want to say incase a) I was being stupid or b) she took offence

  • JT we've been on formula since O was about a week old. To begin with he was so little and sleepy I was actually lifting him up feed every 3-4 hours as sometimes he would easily sleep past this and he was jaundiced and we were trying to clear it up. After that just like WG said he settled into his own routine of feeding every 3-4 hours. O has cmpi which we didn't know to begin with so he really did comfort feed, I could give him a 5oz bottle and then offer another 5 oz within 15mins and he would take it (obviously throw it all up!) but his tummy must have been so sore and it was a comfort to feed.

    When we eventually got his milk sorted out, again he's got his own routine of feeding every 4 hours, you could almost set your watch by him. If he was looking for food earlier though I would absolutely feed him!! If anything I think I sometimes feed him before he's actually really hungry but it works for us now and we don't have the screaming match while I make a bottle.

    The only time I ever give him water, he suffers quite badly with trapped wind and if were still trying to get wind up and he's crying a while after a feed I will give him an oz maybe of cooled boiled water as it seems to help get a burp!

    I wouldn't give a monkeys how much it was costing me in formula, if he was clearly hungry then I would feed him!

  • I don't have anything to add to this as I'm a breast feeder but what you describe that woman doing has made me really sad. That poor baby :-(
  • I'm glad I'm not being dumb then. I did think that surely whether you are bf or ff if they are hungry sooner than you expect you give them more milk. I appreciate with a boob you can't see if they've had much or not so always give it when they ask as they may not have had much at their last feed, whereas with a bottle you know if they've already had a lot, but you know from their cry if they are hungry and it was awful seeing the poor thing obviously wanting more milk.

    I feel really really lucky that I've been able to bf as I can't imagine how expensive it must be to ff, but if they are hungry they need it. The mum was complaining it was costing her a fortune buying formula but then was saying how she was addicted to buying new clothes for her even though she already has loads , so she's obviously not struggling for money.

  • Poor baby. :-(

    We fed on demand too, you soon recognise some form of pattern with their feeds.

  • I wondered about this too JT, my mum thinks I feed O too often and has often commented on how if he was on formula I'd have to delay his feeds because of the cost, I think back in her day it was always more 'feed every 4 hours). It's sad to think that little baby goes hungry :-(

  • Seriously BE? Was that a reason to feed every 4 hours because of cost!? I'd go hungry myself before I would string out O's feeds because of the price of formula!!!

    We feed every 4 hours because that's when he's hungry. He often takes his last feed after about 3.5 hours but then he sleeps through until 6 so he's maybe just stocking up for the night!

    A girl at my mums works little boy was born 4 weeks after O so he's only about 11 weeks now, my mum told me she had him in at work last week and someone was asking her about his sleeping etc and she commented that she

    a) stopped BF after 2 weeks as he was feeding all the time so must not have been getting much milk so she HAD to put him on formula

    b) she had tried giving him water during the night (to save her getting up to make a bottle I presume!!) to try and get him back to sleep as he was waking during the night for a feed

    c) had started giving him baby rice that week at his last feed and he was now sleeping through the night so he must have been starving before and needed the rice.

    Or he's a tiny baby with a small stomach and was hungry and needed fed!!  

  • Baby rice?!! Poor baby !

  • My mum bf but I think regardless of bf or ff the done thing was scheduled feeding. MiL said how they were told to offer water if baby was looking for something and wasn't 'due' a feed, can't see any baby being satisfied with water when they clearly want milk!

    I don't understand how baby rice is still available, there's no nutrition in it and it apparently tastes horrid, just seems like a cruel way of 'filling' a baby's tummy to me?!

  • I wouldn't be very impressed if I was hungry and someone gave me a glass of water!!

  • O has always been FF when he was first fed I just fed on demand but he very quickly settled into 2hourly, then 3 hourly etc! It doesn't sound like she has discussed it with a professional and the coat of formula being a reason to give a child water is astounding!

  • G is FFing and I read the Gina Ford book about set feeding times but I have no idea how anyone makes that work?!? On that subject though she advices giving sugared water to stop over feeding but that's when the baby had weaned as was still demanding feed every few hours.

    G will only feed when she wants and what she wants. This means sometimes she'll scream and only drink 2 ounce and then want feeding a few hours later, other times she's taking 5 ounces and sleeping for 5 hours before wanting her next feed. I've been keeping an eye on the amount she's been having over a 24 hour period as she lost 12oz when we were trying BFing, and she is always taking between 19 and 22oz a day, so that's obviously the amount she's happy with, and at her last weigh in she'd regained 6oz on in 5 days so the MW is happy. Having said all that I do sometimes give her a few sips of water when she has hiccups or seems to have stuck wind on the advice of the MW and it does seem to work a treat.

    I believe that FFing babies do tend to go longer between feeds than BFing babies but I'd never try to fob off even if she was screaming for a feed and hour after her last one. Nor do I understand the cost argument, with G drinking that amount and on one of the more expensive brands of formula, I'm only spending £10 a week on formula, so her baby is going to cost that much in food when they're older!!!

  • missdeedee

    Seriously BE? Was that a reason to feed every 4 hours because of cost!? I'd go hungry myself before I would string out O's feeds because of the price of formula!!!

    Absolutely this! The woman sounds, at best, highly misinformed.

    Makes me feel almost as sad as I did when, at postnatal yoga, a woman told me she left her 3-day-old newborn baby to cry during the night "and now she is sleeping so much better"! Tongue Tied Bumped into her a few months later and apparently this baby's sleep had gone to pot...

  • The thought of a tiny newborn being left to cry has actually made me cry a little :-(

  • We switched to formula fully at four months so S was already a bit more settled in his pattern but I would have fed him on demand had we switched sooner and still do now. They have so many little growth spurts and developmental leaps that affect their feeding at all ages that you can't expect them to be the same every day. The thought that someone would give their baby water instead of milk when they were hungry is very sad :( and the thought of someone doing it for a cost benefit actually makes me feel angry!

  • What a nob. I'd have said quite bluntly, stop buying he baby clothes then and spend it on more formula. Poor baby

  • Oh and we fed on demand. He worked his own pattern out though. 2 hourly!

  • She said she was 4 weeks old, and kept saying how huge she was, and that she was massive when she was born at 8lb 3.

    B was 8lb 4 and it thought about average. W was 8lb 15 and most definitely a big one.

    I'll be interested to see if she's there again this week

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