In the past, it was common for mothers to have established times to breastfeed their babies. Nowadays, a lot is said about breastfeeding on demand , which aims to put the clock aside and give up control.
But among so much information, it is very confusing for us, mothers, to know what is right and what is best for our baby . Especially when we are first-time moms and everything is absolutely new for us.
However, be aware that breastfeeding is a constant learning process and that it won’t end anytime soon (or at least it shouldn’t). Always remember that every woman and every baby is different and there is no way to compare or draw on someone else’s life story. So be careful when putting into practice everything you hear from other mothers . Whenever you have any questions, ask your pediatrician or a reliable source of information .
In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know about breastfeeding on demand. After all, according to the Ministry of Health and the most recent paediatrics booklet published by the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP) , breastfeeding on demand brings countless benefits to your baby.
What is breastfeeding on demand?
Breastfeeding on demand is allowing your baby to breastfeed as often as he/she wants and for as long as he/she feels like it. And this has numerous advantages and benefits for you and your baby.
Breast milk is the best food for your baby to grow up healthy . Up to six months of age, he does not need any other food, as milk is a complete and nutrient-rich food .
In addition, in the first few months the baby is still in the exterogestation phase (the pregnancy outside the belly) and will need a lot of cuddle and warmth to adapt to this world that is so different for him. Remember this when he asks for the breast all the time: it’s not just for hunger!
Benefits of breastfeeding on demand
This fact alone shows the importance of breastfeeding. But its benefits go far beyond that . Breastfeeding strengthens the bonds between mother and baby , which is essential for your child’s development. It makes him feel loved and protected . Breastfeeding also has the power to soothe the baby in times of most agitation or when he feels some pain, not to mention that it is the most natural way to put them to sleep .
And there’s more: breastfeeding your baby on demand makes him lose less weight after birth and encourages mom’s lactation . You will also experience less pain as you will avoid the engorgement of the breast (popularly called lumpy milk ) so common in the first few months when milk production is not yet regulated.
Last but not least, it’s worth remembering that breastfeeding also lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer , as well as making mom’s uterus go back to its natural size faster .
However, breastfeeding on demand can be extremely tiring and painful for Mom. It’s important for the baby, but it also needs to be healthy for the mother .
Therefore, it is essential that you have a support network formed by your family and friends. You need to rest and – as much as possible – have moments of rest and relaxation to be able to adapt to this new routine.
Some other important tips:
- do not forget to maintain a healthy and balanced diet . Drink plenty of fluids while breastfeeding;
- Using bottles, teats and pacifiers makes breastfeeding difficult and can trigger weaning ;
- It is very important that you empty one breast before moving the baby to the other, as it is at the end of the feed that you have more nutrients and essential fats for your child;
- If your baby is gaining weight and growing, there’s no need to be anxious and worried. Relax and enjoy this phase that passes so quickly;
- After the introduction of food, it is very important that you continue to breastfeed the baby. Breastfeeding can continue until age 2 or beyond.
Always follow your maternal instinct, and maintain a connection with your baby. In this way, you will be able to enjoy this delicious and so important phase in both of your lives much more.
Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.