Breastfeeding on demand is becoming the norm again. For a while, the modern thought became feeding, whether breast or bottle, should be done on a schedule.
Parents set the schedule, the baby follows it. Boom!
But breastfeeding on a schedule may not be the best for you and your baby. Obviously it's your choice. There are benefits to both. And ultimately you need to choose the one that works best for you and your family.
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Breastfeeding your baby on demand is more of a baby-led type of feeding schedule. You watch your little one for hunger clues
Your little one's hunger initiates the feedings. There are several feeding cues that most babies demonstrate. Everything from rooting, to sucking, to full-on screaming. Which by the way, the point is to read the feeding cues to avoid the screaming.
With Breastfeeding on demand, you watch your baby and not your schedule or clock. I suggest you take an easy online breastfeeding course to fully learn feeding cues and more.
If you take a class or if you talk to a labor nurse/lactation nurse/postpartum nurse then you have heard this: Feed your breastfed baby every 2-3 hours and don't go longer than 4 hours.
Most babies should eat 8-10 times per day. But keep in mind that is most babies. Your baby will signal you. Some days your baby might eat more and some days less.
Some of my babies were snackers and some were feasters, it all depends on the baby.
Your little one should be more satisfied and content if she/he is well fed. The baby should wet 4-6 diapers a day (fluctuates with age) and have regular bowel movements. The baby will be alert when awake and should be gaining weight.
Bowel movements are ever-changing. When you first bring the baby home from the hospital, he may have 2-4 bowel movements per day. After a month the baby may have only one dirty diaper per day and sometimes every other day.
However, again your baby's pattern may be slightly different. If you are concerned, speak to your pediatrician and a lactation consultant.
You need to be prepared to breastfeed on demand more often during growth spurts. So don't be surprised when this happens.
OK, I know this is my mantra and it will continue until my last breath. Education is key to almost everything in life. I highly recommend you take a class and learn everything there is about breastfeeding and become uber comfortable with that knowledge. The first time you feed your baby in the hospital can be radically different if you are educated.
If you are in a crunch for the time then take an online breastfeeding class from the comfort of your home.
After the baby comes, you have access to the instructor or you can reach out to your local La Leche league or Lactation consultant.