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Tips For Breastfeeding On Demand

By Edited Nov 15, 2015 0 0

There are two different feeding theologies that exist. The first is the feeding on demand type and the other is feeding on a schedule type. Neither one is perfect and both can be a bit confusing. However, feeding on demand has a lot to offer you and your baby. Knowing how to feed on demand can be a bit confusing and frustrating, at least at first. Here are some tips for breastfeeding on demand.

Why Feed On Demand.
The biggest advantage to feeding on demand is that you know your baby is getting enough to eat. You don't have to worry about him or her going hungry for a period of time because it hasn't been long enough since the last feeding. You can also relax a little to how you feed your baby making it a little easier to enjoy your time with your child (especially in the beginning). Another advantage is that you aren't as locked into a schedule or time frame as those who are looking to feed on schedule. It can also relieve some frustrations that can come up during feedings, especially ones done at night or when you are really tired.

How to Feed On Demand.
Those who feed according to a schedule feed every three or four hours. It was a popular method of feeding when bottle feeding was first becoming popular. However, some people continue to feed this way and many even breast feed this way. On the other hand, feeding on demand is just that. You feed when your baby shows signs of hunger. You feed them for as long or as short as they desire to be fed. This can mean that you are feeding far more often then those who feed every four hours, but your baby is getting the food that he or she needs, isn't over eating in order to survive to the next feeding, and doesn't have long periods of time when they are going hungry waiting for the next feeding.

Tips For Getting It Done.
  1. Learn your baby's hunger cues. This isn't hard to do and your baby most likely has several common hunger cues. If you are unfamiliar with those cues then it is a good idea to learn about them, you can see Signs Your Baby Is Hungry for additional information on hunger cues.
  2. If your baby is crying, but not showing signs of hunger then it is likely that something else is the problem. Try changing them, comforting them, and burping them. They may even have gas or colic!
  3. Be willing and ready to feed on cue. It isn't always easy to do, but it is a good idea to be prepared to feed your baby whenever they are hungry. This can mean having a bottle of pumped milk available whenever you leave your baby with another or aren't available for feeding so that someone else can feed him or her. It can mean having the ability to feed comfortably in public. It can also mean taking formula to suppliment if you don't pump. Whatever it takes for you to be ready to feed your baby is best. For the most part your baby isn't likely to want to be fed for about two hours. This time is measured from the start of one feeding to the end of the next. This can mean that quick trips are safe, but if they aren't then your baby won't understand why you don't feed them and will cause quite a stir.
  4. Learn the signs that your baby is full and make sure you don't force them to keep on eating. Visit this article for a list of Signs Your Baby is Full.

The Difference From Scheduled Feedings and Feeding On Demand.
Many people don't really understand the difference between scheduled feedings and feeding on demand. When you have a schedule you feed according to a schedule. Some are every two hours during the day and four hours during the night. Others are every three hours all day long including the night time. Still others force their babies to wait four hours to be fed. This can be hard for your baby and can have you feeding them when they are not hungry and feeding them when they feel like they are starving. Your baby should eat often and if your baby is still really young (less then four weeks old) then you should never wait more then four hours to feed your baby. This requires that you wake your baby up to make sure that they eat. If they are sleeping too hard they might miss the fact that they are hungry and this can make it harder and harder as they get dehydrated and under nourished. So, feeding on demand means that you should feed whenever your baby wants it, but you shouldn't wait more then four hours for the really young baby.

Stopping When They Are Done.
Some breastfeeding "experts" will tell you to keep nudging your baby and poking at them until they have eaten a specific amount of time. This can be exhausting for you, frustrating for them, and over all a difficult thing for both of you. It can also cause them to over eat. Instead you should take a few breaks during feeding if they stop and take the time to burp them or change them. Then offer the breast to them again and let them decide if they want it. If they don't they will give signs that they are full, if they do then they will try to latch on. If your baby has been drinking from one breast for 20-25 minutes then it is also a good idea to offer the other one to give them a full supply.

My Baby Wants to Eat All The Time!
There are a few reasons why a baby would want to eat all the time. One is that he or she may be going through a growth spurt. If your baby wants to eat all the time then let them. If it is has only lasts one or two days then it is likely that they are just going through a growth spurt and need a little extra food to make it through. If your baby still wants to eat all the time after a couple of days then you need to evaluate a few things. The first is that your baby is getting enough to eat. It is possible that due to improper latch on, poor positioning, or bad sucking could lead to your baby not getting much during each feeding. If this is the case then they are hungry all the time and in need of more food. To check if your baby is getting enough to eat see the article Signs Your Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk. If your baby isn't getting enough milk then you will want to see his or her doctor and or a lactation consultant to figure out what is going wrong and what you can or should do about it. If your baby is getting enough milk but still seems hungry all the time then you should try feeding them longer on one breast. The fatty portion of your milk comes out second. It will fill the baby up better then the watery portion which is good at keeping your baby hydrated. If your baby drinks for a short period of time on each breast they may miss out on the fats and proteins that are in the richer portion of the milk. Have them drink 20-25 minutes on one breast (if they drink that long) and they are less likely to want to eat all the time. If you still have problems then talk with someone about it to get help.

Breast feeding on demand is the best way to feed your child. After all, they are getting everything they need, you can relax and don't have to get as stressed out about it, and you enjoy your baby more. It works well and keeps them fed better then a scheduled system!
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