In my last entry about this topic, I outlined a rough nursing/sleeping schedule that worked for me. Some moms prefer the nursing-on-demand; which I did with my first baby, for the first few months. Then it was not working for me. I had no idea when she would start to suckle, when I would be free to even take a shower; it was stressful. Some moms do not feel like that and happily feed on demand - it's amazing how some moms continue that all throughout the babyhood. For me, I was exhausted. I then realized that she was only feeding every hour because she was not getting full from the feeding. If you decide to set up a 2.5/3 hour nursing schedule, make sure she is receiving milk from both sides. Make sure both sides are feel empty after the feeding. Do not encourage "snacking" as then she will want to feed again after an hour. This is key.
Having said all this, if your baby is underweight or underdeveloped, please feed whenever she wants some. However, for most healthy babies, implementing a meal schedule for them should be fine. If your baby is sick or needs an extra feeding, there is no need to be so strict on the schedule. Flexibility, common sense, and your knowledge of your baby should be applied as well.
A recent discussion with a friend of mine revealed that her baby was crying so much because she was not receiving enough of the hindmilk as the mother was producing too much foremilk, giving the baby gas and not filling her up. I had never thought of that! So, the mom had to pump 4 ounces of foremilk every time and then nurse the baby. She and her GI tract then became much happier.
Sleep, play, and eating are all linked together.
The less sleep the child has.
The more tired she will be.
The less likely she will eat.
The less likely she will be engaging in play.
This continues throughout her whole life.
The hungrier your child is.
The more she will cry.
The less she will sleep.
It's all so linked together.