Google is a fantastic tool, but it may also supply much too much information for a new mom. One of the most common concerns we get from moms is whether it's better to let a breastfed baby decide when to breastfeed or try to regulate their feedings into a planned schedule. In the early weeks, moms hear a lot of conflicting advice about when to feed their babies - every 2-3 hours, 8-12 times in 24 hours, and so on. It's difficult to tell exactly what this means - is it every 2 hours or every 3 hours? What if the infant sleeps for more than three hours? What if the infant is hungry before the two-hour mark?
Here's a quick answer:
Listen To Your Baby's Need, Not A Schedule
In the early days, weeks, and months, on-demand feeding is the *best* way to feed your infant. Your baby will likely start to mould his or her own behaviour into a more predictable routine as time goes on, but forcing/helping him/her to do so before he/she is ready will only result in a stressed-out mama and an unhappy baby.
When you feed your kid "on-demand," you don't have to worry about the time. You feed your infant anytime he or she expresses a desire to eat. Licking his/her lips, poking out his/her tongue, rooting about, sucking on his/her hands, and so on are common ways your baby will demonstrate this to you. Feeding your infant on-demand also entails not "timing" the feedings (15 minutes per side, for example), but rather allowing your baby to eat until he or she is satiated.
How Often Should Newborns Be Breastfed?
You can't spoil your kid or breastfeed him or her too much at this age. During the first several weeks of life, as well as during growth spurts, your infant may engage in cluster feeding.
When a baby feeds every 45 minutes to an hour for several hours, this is known as cluster feeding. Consider it your baby's attempt to get ready for the night. It stimulates your milk supply, promotes weight increase, and may even help your baby sleep longer (added bonus!).
When Your Baby's Birth Weight Is Retained
In most cases, newborns lose up to 7% of their birth weight in the first week and should regain it by the end of the second week.
You can begin to relax once your kid has regained their birth weight and established a healthy weight increase trend. You can opt to feed on demand instead of feeding at regular intervals.
The one caveat to that advice is that your infant still doesn't know the difference between day and night. As a result, people may sleep for longer periods during the day and for shorter periods at night.
Although your baby won't develop a circadian rhythm (when they sleep more at night) until they're 3 to 5 months old, keeping them busy and feeding them frequently throughout the day may help you avoid more frequent night wakings.
There are so many benefits of Feeding on Demand!
On-demand feeding has numerous advantages. Putting a baby to the breast at any and all hunger cues in the days after delivery is an effective way to bring in a complete milk supply. Simply put, the more breast stimulation a new mother receives, the more milk she will produce. On-demand feeding is also a smart strategy to ensure that your baby gets enough milk to thrive. Mothers' breasts have varying storage capacity, and all newborns consume varied quantities – even the same baby consumes variable amounts during the day.
Breastfeeding is more than just a source of nutrition.
There's a lot more to breastfeeding than just eating. It entails a slew of hormones that help you bond with your baby. It promotes your child's physical, neurological, and emotional development.
When your baby is angry, breastfeeding is a wonderful way to soothe them. This makes it a lot simpler to soothe them down and stop them from sobbing as much. Your response to your baby's needs allows him or her to build early communication abilities. It's the foundation for teaching kids how to interact with others, and it's a life skill.
Feeding on a Schedule
Some parents believe that all babies should be put on a feeding schedule, with feeds spaced out at regular intervals. But this is an unrealistic expectation. The only constant in the breastfeeding journey is CHANGE. As the baby grows their needs change and hence their feeding patterns too change. Some kids demand less and some demand more as they grow up. Teething in the first few months becomes a reason for the baby's demanding frequently, as sucking at the breast is comforting for the baby.
So mums the only strategy that will work for you and give you peace of mind is to understand your baby’s needs and let them take the lead and you act accordingly. Some babies demand in equal intervals and some babies demand very frequently and go for one long stretch of sleep. Both are normal. The frequency and duration of feeds is not an indicator of your supply.
Below are some important parameters to know if the baby is getting enough milk:
Pee and poop count - Minimum 6 heavy wet diapers & 3 stool
Baby releasing the breast after the feed
The baby is gaining weight well
Baby is demanding feed on his own
The baby is active when awake and sleeping well
So mums Breastfeeding is a language that you and your baby speak to each other. It's very important that you understand your baby’s unique needs and patterns and act accordingly. Hence feed the baby on demand and not by the clock.