There are two schools of thought about feeding your baby: feeding on demand and feeding according to a schedule.
When you feed your baby according to a schedule, you decide when it is time for your baby to eat.
You may also be deciding how much to feed your baby, rather than letting your baby’s hunger determine the amount of the feeding.
While it may be a good idea to develop a feeding schedule for your child later, babies and children should be fed on demand from birth through age one.
To understand how schedule feeding affects a newborn, consider how you would feel if you were trying to communicate with someone, but they did not understand you and you did not understand them.
You are hungry, but no one will allow you to eat; when they do allow you to eat, you may feel like you never get enough food. You are experiencing incredible hunger because you are growing so quickly that your weight will double in only four months.
Further, your mental development is such that you have a hard time understanding this. This is a perfect plan for developing a baby who is hungry, frustrated and unhappy. A baby who learns that their needs will be met develops a sense of trust and a feeling that the world is a safe place.
Whether you are breastfeeding or feeding your baby formula, it is far better to feed your baby on demand. Healthy babies will not overeat; they will eat as much as their body demands, and no more.
Your baby’s body also knows when it is experiencing a â€œgrowth spurtâ€ and needs additional nutrition, something you cannot know until after it is all over.
An additional benefit of baby feeding on demand is that as a breastfeeding mother, this will help you develop and maintain an adequate milk supply.
Babies who are about to undergo a growth spurt will suddenly start nursing more frequently and for longer periods of time. This stimulates your breasts to produce more milk, providing the additional nutrition your baby’s body needs. It is a perfect system of demand and supply, as long as you allow your baby’s hunger to be in charge.
If you are formula feeding your baby, your baby will naturally go longer between feedings than a breastfed baby.
Breast milk is designed for perfect digestion; formula takes longer to digest. Feeding your baby on demand will more closely mimic the optimal breastfeeding experience.