What does breastfeeding on demand even mean? It means just what it says, you feed your baby when he demands it. When they show signs of being hungry, like sucking his fingers or crying, rather than feeding him by a schedule you may have set (like every 2 or 4 hours). When I had my son (he is almost 4 months old) they told me in the hospital that if he eats 2 ounces, then he will be hungry 2 hours later, 4 ounces, 4 hours, you get the idea. That has never been true for him! So what are some of the benefits and maybe not-so-great things about breastfeeding on demand?
Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding on Demand
If you feed your baby when he is hungry, your supply will meet his demand. You will (most likely) not get the dreaded and painful engorged breasts because it’s time to feed him (according to your breasts) yet it isn’t ‘time’.
You might feel like you are nursing your newborn constantly, and that might be true (maybe one of the not-so-great things?) Keep in mind that your baby’s stomach is tiny, and your breastmilk is easily absorbed. Also, it might take a couple weeks for your milk to come in completely. Just keep nursing, the more you nurse the faster it will come in.
Eventually you will get to know your baby’s feeding schedule. Until then, you could be out and about and he starts to get demanding and needs to nurse. So you need to stop what you are doing and nurse him. Just when you think you have his nursing schedule down, he will throw a wrench into the mix! He may have days where he feeds more, and just know that he is growing. My son does this now. I will be thinking ‘I just fed you, how could you possibly be hungry again?’ These are typically the days he tends to sleep more as well. Growth spurts!
Something to keep in mind if you are feeding on demand rather than a feeding schedule, is that if your baby is sick, he may not be as demanding. He may be sleeping more and not wake for hunger. During these times, keep an eye on him and the clock. It’s OK to wake him to make sure he is fed.
It is always great when moms can share their experiences with other moms. What have you done with your babies? Whether they are grown and have their own kids or are babies, share your stories with us! We can read as many books as we want, but nothing beats true life stories from other moms.
Did you use the breastfeeding on demand method? Use the comments section below to share your stories!