When you picture breastfeeding your baby, you might assume that it will all come naturally. But the truth is that there are many outside influences that seem to throw moms off and make them question every little thing. Breastfeeding on demand is one of those. It is easy to think your baby is wanting to nurse continually because they aren’t getting enough milk but most of the time that’s not the case.
In fact, breastfeeding on demand is very important for your milk supply.
In today’s post, we will cover the topic of Breastfeeding on Demand and what that looks like.
Doctor’s Advice to Breastfeeding on Demand
Guest Post by Claudia Jeffrey
Nature works in mysterious ways. Having given women the ability to perform the purest miracle of giving birth, nature has bestowed her with immense powers to nurture her baby.
Breastfeeding is one such power that a mother has in addition to the capability of controlling it too.
According to the statistics present on the CDC, among every infant born in the US, 4 out of 5 of them, start out breastfeeding. An estimated 60% continue to breastfeed until six months, and one-third of that estimation continues to take it till a full year. These figures clearly suggest that breastfeeding is not considered as a taboo and embraced as nature’s asset.
What does clinical research say?
The first year of your baby’s life is crucial when it comes to nutrition. Proper growth and development depend upon what food your baby intakes.
Research says that the best option for optimal nutrition for both the mother and the child is breastfeeding. But choosing to feed based on a schedule or on-demand will be based on your infant’s need and the developmental stage your child is at.
The benefit of breastfeeding on Demand according to doctors
Doctors, as well as evolutionary and cultural research, backs up the theory that babies are designed to be fed on demand. With immense benefits to prove it right, mothers all around the world embrace motherhood through this ability bestowed on them.
Ensuring the baby gets enough milk during the initial weeks
Many major medical and advocacy groups strongly recommend breastfeeding on demand. Even the World Health Organization releases annual flyers, advertisements, and digital promotional efforts to encourage breastfeeding on demand, especially in young mothers.
The science behind it supports the theory that as the baby nurses, the more milk a breast produces. To ensure this flow of nature continues, and the baby is well-fed, it is essential that the infant gets fed on demand.
The non-nutritive benefits
Breastfeeding not only ensures nutritional benefits but even more than that. The skin to skin contact that they experience with the mother helps the infant regulate their body temperature, blood glucose levels, and the ability to cope with pain.
Doctors say that this practice has shown reduced levels of stress in both the mother and the newborn as they experience this new connection.
In the case of mothers, their newborn crying to be fed triggers hormones that, in turn, allows the breast to produce milk. Not unless the mother has fed the baby, she doesn’t feel at ease as the immediate release of oxytocin in the mother that is produced as she feeds her child brings upon the natural calming effect.
Cognitive development of the newborn
Breastfeeding on demand contributes to improving the cognitive abilities of your infant. There is scientific evidence that points to the fact that children who are fed on demand go on to develop higher IQ levels later on in their life. As compared to children who fed on schedule might work in favor of the mother as she can control when the baby should be fed and can take full hours of sleep, but the infant experiences cognitive lags due to them not being fed when they really required it.
Therefore it is safe to say that responsive breastfeeding can easily be the one fundamental and yet primary solution to all growth and developmental needs of your baby.
From it’s cognitive to emotional and physiological needs being associated with when and how the baby is fed, doctors argue not to let breastfeeding be undermined as an old school of thought but a natural necessity. And to simply put it, it is how nature works.
Swaying away from nature’s cycle can easily have an adverse effect that no mother would want for them or their baby.
FAQs and what do doctors have to say
Doctors, pediatricians, and general physicians alike all get hundreds of questions daily. These frequently asked questions would have been answered many times, but still, new mothers tend to be overwhelmed and can easily get confused.
Thus, here are a few of the most basic FAQs answered.
How often should I feed my newborn?
A baby knows when they are hungry or full.
The best way to determine this is through how the infant responds to your offering.
The more the infant suckles, the more milk your breast will produce. Thus, feed your baby every time it is hungry and spontaneously opt for being fed, by crying.
The recommended times a baby should be fed is eight to twelve times a day, with an approximate duration of 10 to 15 minutes per breast at each feed. This will vary as your baby grows and become more efficient at the breast.
How would I know if the baby is still hungry or full?
Babies cry for almost everything. It is easy for a mother to get emotionally overwhelmed once she can’t figure out why exactly her child is crying. Thus it is only relevant for this question to arise that how would a mother know when her baby is still hungry or already full.
Studies over the years have come up with some general signs a baby would show once they are full. Following are those signs listed down for your ease:
- Would turn away from the nipple
- Smack lips
- Move the hands around to grab on to the breast instead of sucking
- Falls asleep
- Easily burp
Does feeding on demand put an immense burden on mothers?
Breastfeeding can be time-consuming in the beginning. A newborn can spend long periods of time at the breast and cluster feeding is nature’s way of increasing your milk supply as your baby grows. A baby breastfeeding will take longer to empty the breast then they would a bottle as well. But rest assured that as your baby grows, breastfeeding becomes easier and much faster as your baby will start to empty your breast in record time!
In the end, as a mother, it is your body and your child, so ultimately, you who get to make the final call and it is completely your choice. If you find your newborn settling in a routine, then continue accordingly, or you can adjust yourself to follow the little one’s hunger cues. Even the nature sides with the mother on this. Do what works best for your health, and your child’s for a healthy, happy living.
About the Author
Claudia Jeffrey is currently working as a Practitioner Nurse at Crowd Writer, the best place to get your custom essay done. As a stay at home mom of two, she has significant experience attending to the needs of a newborn. She writes about her expertise and shares her opinion in this regard on her blog with fellow mothers around town.