Tuesday’s Tastes on Second Base: Scheduled vs. On Demand Nursing

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With a three week old in the house the majority of my time is spent breastfeeding… I even breastfeed in my sleep – I’m being serious!  And since breastfeeding is such a huge part of my life right now I have decided to join two of my bloggy friends, Mama on a Green Mission & Joy of Momma Joyner by linking up with their weekly meme – Tuesday’s Tastes on Second Base.  Each week there will be a new topic regarding breastfeeding and I will share my thoughts and opinions on that topic with all my readers.

Scheduled vs On Demand Nursing

Before I begin discussing the topic perhaps it is important to define what nursing on demand is.  It is quite obvious what a schedule is – nursing at the same time every day or at the same time intervals.  On the other hand on demand nursing is feeding your baby whenever they are hungry.  With on demand nursing there is no need to look at a clock to see when your baby last ate.  Instead you go by their cues.

wall_clockFor me there is no other way to nurse than on demand.  When Alleigh and Kaelyn were babies they were very frequent nursers….. typically every hour to hour and a half including at night time which left this momma looking like a walking zombie – but I survived.  Willow has been nursing frequently during the day recently – usually every two hours, but at night goes roughly four to five hour stretches, ya I love that! 

But there is more to why I choose to nurse on demand than just preferring it.

  First of all I want my babies to be content and secure knowing that their most basic needs are being met and so if they are hungry they should be fed at that time, not at the time someone else thinks they should be hungry.  A nursing baby does not eat out of boredom, anger, sadness or any other reason – they simply eat because they are hungry.

I have noticed many people thinking I nurse my children to frequently because they rarely cry.  But guess what?  A nursing baby should never have to cry to signal hunger as long as their mom is paying attention.  Instead she will notice them growing squirmy, rooting around for the breast, smacking their lips, thrusting their tongue (this is Willow’s big signal), or even making sucking sounds.  Even at night time when I am sleeping Willow makes little squeaky noises when she is hungry that I have grown used to hearing so I immediately wake up and nurse her.  If she actually reaches the point of crying after this signals then it is very obvious she is hungry, but typically when Willow cries it is because she needs a diaper changed or perhaps has a gas bubble.  And so if your baby is giving you signals that they are hungry – many times more than one signal – it’s time to feed them!  Not wait just because it hasn’t been a certain amount of time yet.

Another important thing to remember is that breast milk is easy on a babies tummy and therefore it digests fast which is why nursed babies eat much more frequently than formula fed babies.  And so this can be helpful to explain to people that think you are feeding your baby constantly.  You can also let them know that this won’t last forever.  As baby grows and gets bigger their stomach capacity will also increase and they will be able to eat more at a time therefore letting them go longer between nursing sessions.

I enjoy nursing on demand. I know my baby is getting what she needs when she needs it and it keeps everyone happy and sane, hehe.  The only issues I have right now are Alleigh and Kaelyn learning that when their sister needs to eat that momma will sit down and stop whatever she is doing to take care of that need.  Since they are older I can explain to them that I will make their food in fifteen minutes or so when their sister is finished and usually if I divert their attention to something else they are perfectly content to wait for their sister to finish eating.

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So what are your thoughts on scheduled versus on demand nursing?  Leave me a comment or link up below and let me know!

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27 Responses to Tuesday’s Tastes on Second Base: Scheduled vs. On Demand Nursing

  1. Kadie says:

    I know this is an old post but it was great to read. I’ll be going back to work after 6 weeks and I feel like that isn’t long enough to “set a schedule” anyway but I worry how it will be when she has to be on the bottle during the day when I’m working.

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