Breastfeeding on-demand is nursing as baby needs it.
What Other Option Is There?
To feed at specific times, like every two hours for a newborn.
Why Do You Feed On-Demand?
Because I’m naturally a free-spirited person.
Doesn’t Feeding On A Schedule Help Baby Develop A Routine And Prevent Baby From Getting Cranky?
You are probably right. A routine may be better.
During the newborn days, our children frequently slept past the recommended "scheduled" feeding time. I did not feel comfortable waking them to feed, because I would not have liked to be woken up to eat.
I also tend to watch for feeding signs, like smacking of the lips as a newborn or rubbing of the eyes as they grow older.
Instead of depending on a clock, I relied on my intuition and being in tuned with their bodies.
What If They Are Awake And Do Not Show Any Signs?
There have been times when I thought our child wanted to nurse and that was not what they needed. Instead they may have been too hot, too cold, overstimulated or just wanted to cuddle.
In those instances, I offer the breast and they may reject it.
Does Always Offering The Breast Make The Child Overly Dependent On It?
I will admit there were times I became overly dependent on it, because it's very convenient to put the breast in a crying baby's mouth.
However, babies and small children know what they need and will continue to cry or try to get your attention until they are satisfied and get their needs met.
Doesn’t Breastfeeding On Demand Lead To An Overweight Child?
Our breastfed children never lost nor gained too much weight according to their primary doctor.
Breastmilk is the healthiest way to consume food for babies. Which means they are getting all their needs met during the process and allegedly do not have the need to over indulge.
What If You Are Breastfeeding On-Demand And Your Child Wants To Stay On The Breast?
There were definitely moments in our journey where our children “cluster fed.” Meaning they would latch on for a long period of time.
I found this happened when they were going through a growth spurt.
Cluster feeding was also one of the first signs they were coming down with something -- like a cold. After cluster feeding, the next day I would notice a runny nose, congestion or a slight fever.
But breastmilk has so many amazing benefits, such as settling a fever. Suckling also naturally clears congestion. So breastfeeding literally served as their medicine, naturally healing their bodies without any unnecessary side effects.
They also cluster fed or stayed attached in public if they were anxious or uncomfortable. I wouldn't call this "feeding," it's more "pacifying" to help them get through an uncomfortable situation.
How Do You Feed-On-Demand, If You Are A Working Mom?
I would not recommend being an on-demand feeder if you work away from your child. I worked away from our first daughter for 7 months.
I’m sure there were other factors, but my milk supply greatly decreased probably because I was not feeding as frequently.
Since baby is used to creating his/her own schedule through breastfeeding on-demand, this process can also make it difficult for others to care for your child.
For the past 6 years, I’ve been blessed with being able to stay home with our girls.
I’m sure there is a way to breastfeed on-demand while working away from the home, I’m just not sure I have the best answer.
What Are The Benefits Of Breastfeeding On-Demand?
For me, the benefits are a flexible and less-stressful schedule, which is how I function the best. If you are a more regimented person, I would totally try a structured feeding time.
Breastfeeding can be quite demanding. I'd recommend doing what works best for you, your baby, your family, and your lifestyle.
What Are The Down Sides Of Breastfeeding On-Demand?
Always winging it. Despite me not having a specific schedule, I noticed our breastfed children developed certain habits, i.e nursing shortly after waking and before taking a nap or going to sleep. So I guess there was a rhythm, it just wasn't restricted to a clock.
Have you tried breastfeeding-on-demand? How has it affected you and your child? Are you more of a scheduled momma? What other questions do you have about breastfeeding on demand? Ask away.
Until next time.