Recently a friend asked me if I was still breastfeeding my baby “on demand”. At the time I wrote this, my baby was 6 months; of course not, I said. But then I thought, when did I start not doing so?
Breastfeeding on demand? What is that supposed to mean? I remember the first time I heard about it. It was when my first child, Eyal was born; he’s almost 4 now. Should I be like an open 24 hours bar? What if I need to go to the bathroom? Or sleep? Or eat?
Probably every new mom has shout out these questions; and then, trying to do what she thinks is the best for her child, in a sort of a guessing trail.
Well, this is how I see it. At first, you just put your baby on your breast, and assuming you’re 100% committed to breastfeeding, you feed your child every time he blinks, and that’s how you and your baby will learn the art of nursing.
Then, after a little while, you’ll start thinking: “Oh, he’s crying, but he just had a good nursing session, so probably he’s tired, or maybe his diaper is bothering him, or perhaps he’s hot or cold…” And suddenly you start asking all of these questions, and doing a mental checklist, and putting breastfeeding at the bottom. “If non of those things calms him down, then probably he’s hungry or wants some comfort.” And you breastfeed him again.
And then, after some time, you and your baby are immersed in a daily routine, and you become much more assertive in your guessing. “Now I know that he wakes up in the morning, I nurse him, then he plays a little bit, then he naps, etc…” And somehow you now know why he’s crying (well, most of the times), and when does he really want to nurse. This is a dream come true, I finally know what to expect from my baby, and I can fulfill his needs completely! Haa! And… after a little moment of glory, a growth spur comes over, and your baby starts nursing so often like a newborn, and you ask yourself, “What happened with my beautiful hardworking routine?” Well, I guess this is parenthood, being able to adapt to new changes, accept our babies and just go on…
On demand? Sure! On HIS demand and beyond.