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I want to feed my baby on demand but my mum says I’m making life hard for myself – Is she right? / FAQs / Pregnancy information from midwivesonline.com

I want to feed my baby on demand but my mum says I’m making life hard for myself – Is she right?

Demand feeding is the recommended way to feed your baby. Feeding on demand simply means feeding your baby whenever he/she wants to and signals that he's hungry — usually by crying or sucking on his hands — rather than according to a set schedule . Parents will get to know when their baby wants to be fed.

During the early weeks of breastfeeding, you may feel as though you're feeding your baby constantly. Keep in mind that young babies have tiny stomachs — about the size of their fist. For the first six weeks, breastfeeding is still being established and it is important to totally demand-feed during that time. This means that the baby can regulate the amount of milk he produces by feeding more to produce more. When he has let your body know how much he needs, he will then sleep better between feeds and only demand more when he needs more. Easily digested breast milk quickly fills their little stomach and is absorbed, so they need to eat again relatively soon. If your baby seems hungry soon after eating (fussy, sucking on his fist, or rooting at your breast), go ahead and feed him again. Keep in mind, too, that babies are just hungrier on some days than on other days and will want to eat more than usual.

If you feed her on demand, she will also begin to sleep longer at night. You don't need a feeding programme. Just give her whatever she asks for and continue to do this until she begins weaning. Another thing to think about is how you will deal with a crying baby who wants to feed earlier than it should according to the regime you establish or who can’t manage to feed when your clock suggest it should?

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