If you’re wondering whether to feed your baby on demand or according to a schedule, you’ve come to the right place.
When it comes to infant feeding, many parents are unsure of the best course of action for their little one, so we’ve put together this handy list of asked and answered questions for you.
Is feeding on demand bad?
No, feeding on demand is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly early on in your baby’s life. In fact, many experts recommend feeding your newborn baby on demand, as each feed helps to support healthy growth and development.
If your newborn is always hungry and wants to feed constantly, let them. Newborns should ideally eat a minimum of 8 times a day anyway.
Should I be feeding my baby on demand or on a schedule?
Choosing whether to feed your little one on demand or feed them according to a schedule really depends on your baby’s age and appetite, after all, every baby is different.
Feeding patterns tend to emerge at around 3-4 months of age, making it easier to feed your baby according to a schedule if it suits you both.
How can I tell when my baby is hungry?
Your baby will let you know when he or she is hungry, usually through certain cues.
Signs that your baby might be hungry can include:
- Opening their mouth
- Sticking out their tongue
- Making sucking sounds
- Placing their hands/fingers/fists in or around their mouth
Bear in mind that crying is more likely to be a late sign of hunger, and that your baby crying doesn’t always mean they are hungry.
What if my baby is still hungry after a feed?
Newborn babies often want to feed around the clock, so if your newborn still seems hungry after having been fed, don’t be alarmed, this is completely normal behavior.
It’s important to remember that your baby’s appetite grows as they do, so if your baby still seems hungry after a feed, then they might be going through a growth spurt. Growth spurts typically occur at around:
- 7-14 days old
- 3-6 weeks old
- 4 months old
- 6 months old
If you're concerned that your baby isn’t eating enough, we recommend seeking advice from a healthcare professional.
Can you formula feed on demand?
Again, it’s generally recommended to feed your baby whenever they seem hungry – and this advice includes babies who are formula fed.
Newborns who are formula fed are likely to want to eat approximately every 2-3 hours. As your baby grows and their stomach can hold more milk, you may find that they want to eat more like every 3-4 hours.