Breastfeeding on Demand

Lil' D's pediatrician says feed her every two hours. My instinct is to feed her when she gives me the cues that she is hungry. These cues often happen more than once in a hour, but most times every 1.5 hours.

Breastfeeding on demand—-also known as feeding “on cue” and “baby-led” feeding—-is about responding flexibly to your baby’s hunger cues. It means initiating feedings when the baby requests them, and continuing each feeding session until the baby is satisfied. Source

 Breast milk production is keyed to the frequency of suckling. The more a baby nurses, the more milk a breast produces. If a baby suckles less frequently, milk production slows. For this reason, breastfeeding on demand is the ideal way to keep a mother’s milk production in sync with her baby’s needs. Source

For more of the scientific evidence for breastfeeding on demand click here.

 Learned this the hard way:

Just as importantly, full breasts may interfere with the quality of your milk supply. When breasts are full, the milk that comes out is low-fat “foremilk.” Only when breasts are soft—more empty—do breasts start to produce the higher-fat hind milk. Babies presented with full breasts may fill up on low-fat milk, which can cause colic and gastric problems (Woolridge 1995). Such babies may also have to feed more frequently to get enough calories. Source


Nightime feeding have been the toughest for me. Prior to Lil' D's arrival I read somewhere that co-sleeping was the best way to maximize your sleep when feeding on demand. Well from day one of me being a Mommy, Lil' D' and I have slept in the same bed. I've even learned to nurse lying down {the best position ever @ 4 in the morning}. Its been almost 3 weeks and I feel like I've gotten this breastfeeding thing down. I often think that the purchase of a crib was a waste. The idea of her being in a different room than me puts me on edge. Maybe when she is sleeping through the night or when I return to work I may feel differently. 


My MIL and parents don't agree with co-sleeping or picking Lil' D up as soon as she cries. Well 'Rents its called "proximal care" and it works for me. Proximal care is the practice of holding your infant at least 80% of the time between 8am and 8pm, breastfeeding relatively frequently, and responding rapidly to infant cries. Many (but not all) of parents who practice this care also practice co-sleeping.


All-in-all my first 17  days of motherhood have been great! I got over the major aches and pain of labour after a week. There is still an occasional Braxton Hicks-like contraction and back pain when bending over to long {esp. when changing diapers}. My belly looks and feels like a deflated balloon. Next week when I purshase the stroller I will begin to excercise. I feel like a caged tiger because of the pediatrician's imposed "House Arrest" for two months. I never thought I would get such joy from getting in the car and going to fill  up my gas tank or going to the drive-up mailboxes at the post office. I sometimes feel like this experience is part of a 12 Step program and I just have to take one day at a time.