Breastfeeding on demand means feeding your baby when they need to feed rather than feeding on a schedule. There are many reasons why breastfeeding on demand can be good for your baby and also good for the Mother.
Best for Baby
Breastfeeding is reputed to reduce the risk of your child being overweight or obese in later years. One of the reasons many experts feel that this is the case is down to the fact that breastfeeding is the perfect opportunity for your baby to learn to listen to their own body. It is more difficult to breastfeed to a schedule when breastfeeding as it is very difficult to know how much milk your baby has taken, unlike measured milk from a bottle, so the only way to know that your little one is getting enough milk is to feed them when they want to feed. This teaches your baby to recognize the signs of hunger in their body and to alert you to them. They begin to link the feeling of being hungry with receiving food. This is healthier than feeding your baby on a schedule; many experts feel that feeding a baby every so many hours whether they appear to be hungry or not teaches a baby, in a very basic way, to feed despite how they feel; ignoring the signs their body gives them.
Best for Mother
By breastfeeding your baby on demand rather than enforcing a schedule of feeding, you actually stand a much better chance of continuing breastfeeding for as long as you want to. In fact, many of the reasons why a woman feels she has to stop breastfeeding are related to not breastfeeding on demand. Your body will align itself with your baby’s demand; your baby feeds as often as they need and this instructs your body how much milk to prepare and when. It’s amazing, isn’t it? That’s why your baby will feed more in preparation for a growth spurt; not only do they need more milk for the period of fast growth, the feeding is ?teaching? your body to produce more milk. Not feeding on demand can lead to problems with milk supply. If you are trying not to feed for baby for a certain amount of time to keep them to a schedule, your breasts will feel heavy and full, and not having this milk drained can cause problems such as blocked ducts and painful engorgement. Over time, this puts you at risk of mastitis.
Go with the Flow
Don?t let people tell you that you need to put your baby into a routine of feeding. A breastfeeding baby will require more milk on some days than others. Compared with formula fed babies, they digest their feed more quickly, so they feed more frequently. This isn’t a sign that they aren’t ?getting enough? milk; if your baby is satisfied after a feed and then you notice signs that they are hungry again, it just means it’s time for another feed. It can be demanding, and it can be hard, especially during a growth spurt or in the early days when it doesn’t take much milk to fill the new-born’s tiny tummy but it is worth it, and your baby will settle down to a natural, unforced routine in time. Breastfeeding is all about feeding on cue, so look for signs your baby is hungry ? perhaps they make it very obvious by crying right away, or maybe there are more subtle signs such as sucking on their hands or smacking their lips. You will get to know your baby’s ?hungry cry? or the little individual signs unique to your child that gives you the heads-up that your baby wants to feed. This is another part of the wonderful bond that breastfeeding promotes.