Feeding on demand: a modern approach
For many years, the main approach to breastfeeding children was feeding by the hour. Modern studies have shown that this mode of breastfeeding does not satisfy all the needs of the baby. In place of "regime" feeding, a new method has come-free-feeding, or feeding at the child's request.
Larisa Shumina Pediatrician, Elizavetinsky orphanage, Moscow
In the mode of feeding on demand, the baby is applied to the breast as many times and at the time that he asks, including the night hours (his child mostly prefers crying, the first thing that the mother does when she hears the child's crying is putting it to her breast ). Currently, the World Health Organization encourages all mothers from the first days of life to start feeding on demand.
What are the advantages of feeding on demand for a child?
- A newborn child, who is fed on demand, quickly overcomes birth stress.
- Frequent physical contact of the mother and the child helps to establish a close emotional connection between them and develop a sense of security in the baby.
- Being in the hands of the mother and satisfying her needs, when necessary, the crumb gets a constant sense of confidence and security, which contributes to his harmonious mental development.
- The child who receives the mother's breast at the first signs of anxiety feels comfortable, is characterized by calm behavior, mostly well asleep, has a positive emotional mood.
- Children who are fed on demand, gain weight well, because with this mode of breastfeeding the baby can be at the breast as much as he wants. This allows the crumb to get not only the "front" milk, which stands out in the first minutes of breast sucking, but also the "back", especially rich in nutrients.
- The baby, who regulates his diet, in most cases does not overeat, so there is less likelihood that he will, for example, regurgitate after feeding. After all, the volume of the stomach in a newborn baby is small, and it is designed for frequent intake of small portions of milk. If the intervals between feedings increase, the baby needs more milk to saturate than he can absorb, and this leads to overstretching of the stomach walls and regurgitation.
Feeding on demand: benefits for mom
Feeding the child on demand has a beneficial effect on the body of a young mother.
- When stimulating the breast at the time of feeding the baby in the body of the mother begins to act hormone oxytocin, which helps reduce the uterus, helps her to return to normal size and prevents the occurrence of postpartum bleeding. When feeding on demand, the process of contraction of the uterus passes faster than when feeding "by the hour."
- Applying the baby to the breast on demand is the most powerful factor that stimulates lactation. This is due to the fact that the hormone prolactin, which is released in response to suckling by the baby, responds to milk production in the woman's body. If the mother feeds the baby on demand, then the following principle operates: how much milk is left - that's how much it comes to, that is, the milk is produced in the volume that the baby needs.
- With frequent feeding, the mammary glands are better emptied, which reduces the risk of milk stagnation (lactostasis) and the development of mammary inflammation (mastitis).
- Proper feeding on demand (with a break between feedings no more than three hours, with obligatory night feeding) is a physiological method of protecting a woman from pregnancy (lactational amenorrhea method). This is due to the fact that with active breast sucking, a special hormone prolactin is produced, which suppresses ovulation (the exit of a mature egg from the ovary), and pregnancy does not occur. But it must be remembered that this is not 100% protection from pregnancy, therefore it is necessary to use other methods of contraception.
How to organize feeding on demand?
The basic rules of free feeding look like this: you need to put the baby to the chest in response to any of his discomfort (with the first crying), do not limit the duration of feeding, do not give up night feeding and do not use pacifiers and nipples. It is also important to remember that a healthy child who receives breast milk, up to six months of age, does not need additional drinking and lure.
Applying the baby to the breast at the first sign of anxiety
Begin to feed on demand should be in the first hours after childbirth. Joint stay of mother and newborn in the maternity ward in one ward contributes to the establishment of successful free breastfeeding. After all, when the baby is always next to her mother, she can feed him as often as he wants. Sometimes a young mother seems to have no milk yet, and she does not put a crumb to her breast, trying to feed him with a milk formula from a bottle. This is a big mistake. In the first days after delivery, the colostrum is secreted from the mammary glands, which is very nutritious and useful for the baby. A newborn baby can get enough even with a few drops of colostrum and does not need to be fed and drunk. Therefore, in the first days after childbirth, when only colostrum is allocated, the baby also needs to be fed on demand.
With free feeding, the mother must offer breast at the first signs of the child's anxiety. Do not wait for the baby to cry loudly. Newborn babies can eat at different time intervals from 10 to 18 or more times a day, including up to 2-4 times at night. This frequent application to the breast does not mean that the child is always hungry. Mother's breast is required for the baby not only for eating, but also for psycho-emotional comfort. Do not forget that young children have a well developed sucking reflex, and the baby needs to satisfy its need for sucking. On whether he will be able to suck when he wants it, depends on the harmonious development of his central nervous system.
Such frequent attachments to the chest, as in the first months of the baby's life, are not retained for the entire period of breastfeeding. Gradually, the child will begin to form his own feeding regime. At 3-4 months the baby becomes active. He is interested in toys, trying to know the world around him, and the number of attachments to the chest is gradually decreasing. They are distributed mainly around sleep, and they are obtained on average 8-10 per day. When the baby begins to crawl actively or learns to walk, he "forgets" to apply to the chest, keen on other matters, and "asks for a breast" even less often. Long-term sucking persists, mainly before bedtime and at night. However, during this period, the mother's breast often needs the child as a consolation. He can ask for a breast when he is tired, bored, etc.
Night feeding when feeding a child on demand is considered mandatory
At night (especially from 3 am to 7 am), the production of the hormone prolactin, which stimulates lactation, is much greater than in the daytime. Therefore night feeding is an excellent means of maintaining lactation, and at night the child should be fed as many times as he wants. In addition, this is the easiest way to calm him at night and put him to bed.
With free feeding it is perfectly permissible for a child to get milk from both mammary glands for one feeding. Duration of feeding at one breast should be at least 15 minutes, so that during this time the baby could be saturated with "back", rich in nutrients, milk. If during this time the child is not full, and there is no milk in the breast, you can offer the baby another breast.
Feeding the baby in public places
And what should mom do with a crying child in public places, if he requires feeding? If the child has requested feeding, for example, in a polyclinic, you can find a secluded place where there are no patients, and feed him with the breast. In addition, in children's polyclinics, as a rule, there is a room for a healthy child, where you can sit comfortably and feed the baby.
When planning a trip to the clinic or other place, the mother must dress so that it is easy to offer the baby a breast. Clothing should be cut or easily undone so that the baby can be fed without exposing the abdomen and lower back. Very convenient postnatal nursing bra: with the help of detachable calyxes in it, you can easily provide the child with access to the chest.
If a wee cried during a walk in the street in the summer, then there is no need to carry it home just to calm and feed. If the mother is in the park at this moment, it's enough to find a bench in a secluded place and let the baby suck the breast. You can also feed the child on any playground. There, as a rule, mothers are walking with young children, who are familiar with this problem.
When walking in the winter in the first months of life, when he often "requires" the breast, the mother can be advised not to go far from home (if you can not calm the child with distractions, for example, by shaking the baby carriage, taking the baby in your arms, etc. - then you must go home and feed the baby) and go for a walk immediately after feeding.
Recently, more and more young mothers are becoming advocates for the free feeding of a child. Some mothers are afraid that they will not be able to combine feeding the baby on demand with other household tasks. As practice shows, these fears are in vain. For the successful free feeding of a child, the desire of a woman is sufficient. And to do household chores at the first time (until the baby has his own feeding regimen), you can use the help of other family members. The main thing is to distribute duties in the family and agree on their fulfillment. In the first days and months of life, the baby just needs a constant physical contact with his mother, and the main thing for the young mother during this period is to feed the baby and take care of him.