What is on-demand breastfeeding?

Today, we have our own Kristin Gourley, IBCLC, here to answer some questions about on-demand breastfeeding. Enjoy!


Kristin Gourley, IBCLC

On-Demand Feeding: For the Benefit of Mom and Baby
Many of us may have had a well-meaning friend or family member ask us, “Is your baby on a schedule yet?”—referring to both eating and sleeping. In our highly-scheduled and fast-paced society, it would seem that the hallmark of a “good baby” is one who is predictable!  What I’ve found by working with hundred of moms is that babies can be very unpredictable!  So what should we consider normal or expect in terms of schedule or frequency of feeding?

On-Demand feeding tips and tricks!

Milk is made by supply and demand—baby demands it by nursing (or with a pump or hand expression), and then mom supplies it. If baby demands more, mom supplies more.  Baby won’t necessarily eat the same amount of times each day because the infant needs ebb and flow with growth patterns.  Somedays it may feel like baby wants to eat every hour!  We talk a lot about these ‘frequency days’ in our video breastfeeding classes – what’s normal and how to manage those times.


As babies grow physically or go through developmental leaps, they want to nurse more because they need more at that time.  Our bodies are exceptionally good at adjusting, it’s that mother heart and mind that needs to trust the body to do its job!  Before you question, trust the process.  Think about it — do you eat at the exact same time each day?  How about the exact same amount?  Our needs change daily so it make sense that baby’s do too! So listen to those feeding cues and let baby nurse when they need to! This is how to do on-demand breastfeeding and is also the simple recipe for a healthy milk supply.

Thank you Kristin! I love that she reminded us that babies grow in spurts and their needs will change during those spurts. For more tips on how to fit breastfeeding or pumping into your life check out our breastfeeding video classes bundle. If you have concerns about helping baby through a growth spurt, Kristin and I both help moms with in-person consultations and eConsults

How did you work on-demand breastfeeding into your life? Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.


Thanks for stopping by,


Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC


Smith, L. & Riordan, J. (2010). Postpartum care In Riordan, J. & Wambach, K., Breastfeeding and human lactation (pp. 265-7). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Mohrbacher, N. (2010). Making milk In Breastfeeding answers made simple (pp. 399-400). Amarillo, TX: Hale Publishing, L.P.