Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."


Question: I was told that I should feed my 3 month old baby every 4 hours, whether or not he is acting hungry. Lately, he has been putting up a fight. I am afraid that eating will become a negative thing for him. He is breastfeeding and weighs 17 pounds. What do you suggest I do? Should I feed him on demand? How far should I let him go between feedings? He can go 8 hours during the night without eating. - Deborah

Answer: Breastfeeding can be a great experience for both you and your baby. Many people have different suggestions and or opinions on when and how much to feed babies and infants.

If your baby is premature or has other health problems that necessitates him eating every 4 hours, then this would be a very good reason to maintain this type of feeding schedule. If your baby is healthy and is thriving, demand feeding seems to work very well. Soon you will start to introduce some solid foods. This also will change your baby's schedule as he will not require as much milk. Your body will adjust accordingly. Supply and demand! Remember that teething is in full force. He may not be in the mood to eat at a particular time.

If your baby can go for 8 hours at night, it sounds like he is getting sufficient nutrition during the day.

On average (relatively speaking), a baby will double birthweight by 5-6 months and triple by a year. This is a rough estimate. All babies are not the same. A healthy steady weight gain will let us know if your baby is getting enough nutrition.

Last words of advice: eating problems can last a lifetime. Make this enjoyable for both you and your baby! And remember, no two babies are alike!

Also see:

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  • Can a pediatrician comfortably prescribe and manage ADHD medication or is it better suited to a psychiatrist?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.