You said whaaaaat?! - Spacing breast or bottle feeds will help your baby sleep better: aim for 3-4 hourly.
This is our first of the series responding to advice that has pointed you in the wrong direction
Many highly influential 'baby sleep advisers' promote spacing breast or bottle feeds in the hope that doing this will reduce the risk of things like chapped nipples, allow more sleep for mother and baby and aide baby's digestion and appetite.
Unfortunately this is not true.
Spaced feeds can make life harder for many women, putting us at risk of developing mastitis and breast abbesses. It can also suppress our milk supply - which leads to a hungry baby that cries even more. Not to mention the stress that it can cause baby when their hunger cues are being ignored - a baby experiences a delay in getting nourishment as a life or death situation. So as you can imagine consistently withholding milk when your baby is genuinely hungry can cause a lot of stress for both baby and you and will not help your baby sleep for longer periods over night.
But as with all aspects of baby care - this is not black and white.
In the early days it can be difficult to know if your babies frequent feeding is normal or if it is a sign of an underlying feeding problem. Bear in mind that it is normal in the new born period for babies to feed twelve times a day or so and want to feed within an hour or less of the last feed.
If your baby has a pattern of consistently returning to the breast within an hour or less - during the day and night - your baby is doing what is refereed to as 'marathon feeding'. This is a reason for your baby to be reviewed by a health professional who has the skills to assess your baby's feeding.
A baby with poor milk transfer can still have good urine and stool output as mother and baby battle bravely on together. If your baby is showing any of the following signs it is important to get a feeding assessment.
It can be helpful at this stage to make sure that when your baby starts to show cues that they require something to try offering them other comforts such as a change in scenery (they may just be bored), a cuddle and a chat, check their nappy etc, as it could be this your baby requires, not a feed.
Gently experiment if you are not sure what baby is trying to communicate to you and over time you will develop good two way communication and interpreting their individual cues and patterns of behavior will get much easier.
Amy and Elspeth