Breastfeeding – Can you Schedule a Breastfed Infant?


I went to the kids doctor today.  Not the doctor that we have been going to the last 8.5 years, but a new one.  Our old doctor -who was excellent by the way – is now treating children in Ecuador.

I posted about Gray’s weight gain troubles about a month ago.  He had the flu – was sick for about 2.5 weeks (we were all sick), and had lost weight at his 6 month check up.  I thought it was because he was sick – not eating much and not feeling well.  She, on the other hand, thought he was starving.

His poops and pees were fine.  He was pooping 4 times a day – at least.  All of his diapers were really wet.  His mouth was very wet – he was drooling – and teething.  I couldn’t explain the weight loss.  Personally, I thought it was the teething and the sickness.

Fast forward to today.  Gray is 7 months.  We came in for a weight check.  His weight was up – and gaining about 1 oz per day.  A bit fast, but he has some weight to make up – so it’s fine.  She then proceeds to tell me that I need to put him on a breastfeeding schedule.  I have to feed every 3 hours, or he will get hooked on the breast and will not eat solids.

What the?

Why would I put a baby, who is not gaining well, on a feeding schedule.  Is that dumb or is it just me?  Why would I put any breastfed baby on a feeding schedule?  You can’t schedule breast fed babies – at least ones that are thriving.

Here’s the thing.  Breastfed babies nurse for 3 reasons (that I can think of).

  1. For nourishment
  2. For thirst
  3. For comfort

I asked myself some logical questions – before I jumped to any conclusions.

  1. If I was thirsty – could I wait 3 hours to quench that thirst?  No.
  2. Maybe I am more hungrier than usual one day.  If I was hungry – would it be comfortable to wait an hour to eat?  No.
  3. I’m crying and I am in need of comfort from my Mom.  Can I wait 3 hours for comfort?  No.


I have never ever scheduled my kids feeding.  In fact, the baby should schedule his/her own feedings.

The baby needs to be able to develop trust for his/her Mother.  If the baby is in need of something – in my opinion, it’s important to respond to that need right away.  This way, the baby is always comfortable that his/her needs are met.

After thinking about this deeply (even during Zumba – when I should have been concentrating on exercising) I did a quick internet search on Scheduling a breastfed baby.

Of course you find the whole gamut – from the anti-breastfeeders – who think that it’s a sin to suggest that women breastfeed their infants more than a month – to people like me – who get their babies tongue tie clipped twice and will spend an entire weekend (non-stop) trying to get their baby to latch on.

Often times, I think people find articles that back up their beliefs.  I really tried not to do that.

I found this article, which I thought was very good – and could be backed up by very good peer review research – that was published in established (world wide known) scientific journals.

why babies want (and need) to be fed on demand

I think it provides very good information on why babies should dictate their own feeding schedule – from both the scientific and evolutionary standpoint.

I think my doctor is wrong – so I am comfortable going my own way on this.  I think she comes from the idea that the baby is totally weaned by 1 year old.  I breastfeed my babies 2-3 years – so I am not on the same schedule.

What are your thoughts on weaning a breastfed baby (the term -weaning- used very loosely)?

About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. Perhaps ask your doctor if she would like to restrict her drinking, snacking and meals to only once every three hours, and see what she thinks about that! Most people drink or snack more regularly than that as adults, so why shouldn’t babies too?

    • Xactly! You are absolutely right! I just don’t understand the thinking – but as she said – she has seen thousands of kids and I only have 3.

      Thing about that though, is that I know my 3 better than she does.

      Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you come back soon.

  2. I’m with you on this. Nursing my baby as I type 🙂

  3. Amanda Williams says:

    I breast feed my children & it was I felt the best option. My oldest child was born 7 weeks early & I had no intentions of breastfeeding but with wonderful help from the mid wives & the doctor I successfully breastfed my child up until she was 3. My youngest I breastfeed till she was 2 & a half.
    Personally if you can breastfeed that’s fantastic but I am quite aware that some mums can’t & they need support as well.
    However schedule feeding a baby I don’t understand, my dear late mother was a believer of schedule feeding because she didn’t breastfeed my brother & I for only a month & she hated it.
    As for weaning thats difficult I gave my girls water & a little juice from a sippy cup as soon as I thought they were able too.
    Both girls also stopped breastfeeding themselves & then I had the problem of them falling asleep on my lap instead of their cot/bed. That is another subject.
    By the way I really enjoyed this blog.

    • Hey Amanda,

      Thanks so much for stopping by! It’s so nice to see you.

      I see breastfeeding as a journey. My other two kids were very similar – and this one very very different. I feel that I have to learn how to do it all over again. While I respect my doctors advice on many many issues – I do not on this one.

  4. Unfortunately some doctors are ignorant despite all the education they receive. I breastfeed on demand and I just have 2 different children: one didn’t want solids, spit them up till after 1 year old. The younger one who is nearly 9 month now LOVES food. And she was on pureed food for a very short time – she likes chunks, she has an excellent chewing reflex.
    If your son is not ready for solids – he won’t be ready, breastfeeding schedule or not!

    • You are absolutely right Varya!

      Many doctors (I’m not going to say all) just go by the recipe book – like every child is the same. Same for birth. Those OB’s just go by the recipe like every body is the same. It’s not.

      If they would just recognize that.

      It’s hard finding a doctor. I loved the one we had. She would never had suggested such.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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