Infants don’t have the capacity to control or postpone their needs. If they’re hungry or must be comforted, they desire immediate gratification. Whenever you react to your infant’s cries, providing food and comfort, your infant begins to trust her world and to feel some small power to affect what are the results to her. If her cries for food are ignored, she does not have any method to satisfy herself.
Feeding your infant on demand, meaning whenever your infant begins to fuss, is one of the ways you can meet your baby’s needs. Demand-fed babies and their parents usually are calmer and more content than families with babies who are fed on a schedule. This is because a child fed on demand does less crying for food and comfort, and her parents spend less time distracting her since she doesn’t need to be held off until a scheduled feeding. A demand-fed baby also might be easier to place to sleep since she can be soothed with nursing or a jar when she seems tired. There’s no possibility of overfeeding a demand-fed baby; a child will not drink much more than she wants or needs.
Parents who don’t elect to feed their baby on demand, but rather on a schedule, may find themselves unsuccessfully wanting to comfort or distract their crying baby. Your child might wish to be fed, but you might think that she should wait three to four hours because she’s “just been fed.” Since it’s often hard for parents to hear their baby cry, this could be a difficult situation, and one that probably takes just as much time and energy as the extra feedings fond of a demand-fed baby. While it’s true that some babies can wait four hours between feedings, it’s equally true that some babies need feeding a lot more frequently.
New parents often opt to feed their baby on a schedule because of advice from friends, relatives, and their pediatrician. In the face area of such advice, parents may find it difficult to trust their instincts and begin demand feeding. They also worry that demand feeding means giving into the youngster and letting her have a lot of control. Yet a child, because she’s helpless, must feel she’s some control and some ability to create others respond.
The decision to demand-feed or feed on a schedule is usually influenced by the way a baby is fed—by breast or bottle. Although either method can be adapted to scheduled or demand feeding, it’s much more likely a breast-fed baby will undoubtedly be demand-fed, if perhaps because of the easy feeding. A mother can easily offer her breast at any time, whilst the parents of a bottle-fed infant must first prepare and warm bottles.
A bottle-fed infant is more likely to be fed on a schedule, because her parents can easily see how much milk she’s drinking and thus can decide when they think she’s had enough. Parents of a breast-fed baby, on one other hand, don’t discover how much their baby is drinking. When she cries soon after nursing, her mother is likely to provide the breast again because she may not have had enough milk at the last feeding.
You may be successful breast feeding or bottle feeding, but using either method, you’ll satisfy your infant best in the event that you feed her on demand. If you feel you need to follow a schedule, be flexible. When comforting doesn’t work between scheduled feedings, your baby’s cries probably mean she’s hungry roughly tired she must soothe herself to sleep with a feeding. At such times, ignore the clock, follow your instincts, and meet your baby’s needs.