I’ve been breastfeeding on demand (or on cue) since I started breastfeeding. But what does this mean?Simply put, when breastfeeding on demand, the baby will feed whenever he or she wants to, for as long as they want, without any restrictions. This is the opposite of the now outdate notion of breastfeeding every 3 hours, for 10 minutes on each breast, or whatever variation of this is stated. Because, let’s face it, our baby didn’t read the book that says that this is how it’s done! Breastfeeding on demand is advised by the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the La Leche League, to name but a few. In fact, when Baby S was discharged from NICU, the recommendation given by his pediatrician was to offer breastmilk on demand. And what is the reasoning behind this? Well, our body produces milk according to how much feeding is going on. The more a baby feeds, the more milk we produce. And the opposite is also true. This mechanism is particularly important to set up the initial supply. It is the ideal way to keep supply in synch with your baby’s needs, particularly newborns, ensuring they have the amount of milk and nutrients they need.
Breastfeeding on demand means respecting your baby’s hunger cues and meeting their needs. A baby to whom milk is denied when hungry will become irritable and frustrated, which may make it difficult for them to latch on. The baby is hungry at that time, not an hour later. And they can’t understand why they’re not being fed.
A baby doesn’t want mommy’s breast just because he or she is hungry… they may be sleepy or simply
want to be skin-on-skin with their mommy. This skin-on-skin helps them to regulate their temperature
and reduce any stress. The mother will benefit from the production of soothing oxytocin. Does breastfeeding on demand require flexibility? Oh yes, it does. The mother can no longer live the life she once took for granted, as she can’t be away from the baby for longer than two hours (if she’s lucky!). Is it hard work? Absolutely! It requires you to be 100% available. Yet the benefits are plain to see. If you are having difficulty breastfeeding, please seek help from a professional, from a lactation consultant. Spend time with your baby next to you – babywearing is an excellent choice)