Breastfeeding on demand V’s breastfeeding Schedule
A regular question, especially from new moms, asking when they should start their newborn’s next feeding. If they breastfed their baby at 2pm, they wonder if they should wait to feed their baby until 5pm. The golden rule is to feed your baby when she is hungry, called “on-demand” feeding. It is more important to watch your baby for cues that she is hungry rather than worry about the timing of her feeding.
If you have ever gone to a party, the hostess usually will offer you food or a drink without first asking “are you hungry?” She offers you the food and then you can decide if you want to eat. The same should go for your baby. If she seems unsettled, try breastfeeding. If she is hungry and feeds, you made a good guess. But if not, then you know you can try to settle her in another way (rocking, walking, etc.)
Newborns can eat between 8 and 12 times over 24 hours, which is about once every 2 to 3 hours. If that seems like a lot, it is! Feedings may last about 15-30 minutes. But each baby is different and your baby may need to feed more often or for longer amounts of time.
Will you have enough milk for all these feedings?
The amount of milk a woman can produce and store varies greatly and is not determined by the size of her breasts. As your baby sucks on your nipple, she stimulates your hormones to send a message to your brain telling your body to produce milk. Your hormones, along with your baby’s suckling causes your breasts to “let-down” and provides the milk to your baby’s mouth. Let-down may also occur when you think about your baby, or hear her or even another baby cry.
The more often you nurse, the more milk your body will produce. Your milk production will slow between feedings when milk accumulates in your breast and will speed up when the breast is emptier. Your body is producing milk all the time, the only thing that changes is the speed of production. Your breasts do not need to feel “full” in order to produce enough milk for your baby.
The key to breastfeeding on demand is to feed your baby when she wants for as long as she wants. Ignore the clock!
Tips to keep in mind
- If your baby feeds more often than every two hours, it does not mean there is a supply problem.
- For most babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. This is why a breastfed baby may feed more often than a formula fed the baby.
- You do not need to wait for your breast to ‘refill’ before your baby’s next feeding.
- Certain factors can affect your let-down reflex such as being tired, being stressed or having pain in your breast.
- Remember, any breast milk you provide your baby is beneficial. It is important to find the methods and solutions that work best for you and your baby.
Are you expecting your first-time baby and not too sure where to start? Kids Emporium Midrand can help you! See our kid’s products or call us on 011 027 4438 to speak to one of our kid’s product specialists who will gladly be able to assist you.