Feeding on request or feeding on schedule?

There are two ways to feed your baby: feed on request or feeding on schedule. If you are going to feed your baby on request then you actually feed on demand. In both cases, your baby determines how often you need to feed.
When feeding on schedule you feed on the clock. Both for breastfeeding and bottle feeding it is possible to apply both ways. However, it should be noted that breastfeeding on schedule is more difficult and is usually not recommended.

What is feeding on request or feeding on demand?

Feeding on request, also called feeding according to need, means that you keep an eye on the signals from your baby. If these signals show that your baby is hungry, you give him or her the breast or bottle. Try to keep an eye on the signals from your baby, it is better to feed your baby before he or she starts to cry from hunger. Early signals are:

  • Make sucking movements with the lips.
  • Turn head or body and search with the mouth.
  • Mouth will open.
  • Sabble on the fingers.


When the hunger begins to build up, your child becomes more restless, he or she starts to stretch and move the hand to the mouth. When the baby starts to cry or gets a red head, the stomach rattles maximally.
First try to calm your baby, a crying baby usually does not want to drink right away. It is better to feed your child earlier than only when he or she starts to cry.
Therefore learn to recognize the signals from your baby so that you are on time. You can do this by staying close to your baby.

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Breastfeeding on request

Women who are breastfeeding are advised to do so on request. This is better for milk production and the wonderful bond between you and your baby. Your milk production will adapt to your child. So you do not have to worry about overfeeding. You also get the same sleep cycle (at least, if you follow the advice to sleep when your baby is asleep). Newborn babies can ask for food on average every 2 or 3 hours, but this varies per baby and per day.

Bottle feeding on request

Although this is not done much, it is also possible to bottle feed on request. Here, too, you feed on the needs of your baby. Feeding on request with the bottle is a bit trickier because you need more time to make the bottle.

When you choose this way of feeding, you always give small bits and not the number of milliliters indicated on the package. An example is 50 or 60 milliliters at a time. Is your baby still hungry? Then you give another bottle.

What is feeding on schedule?

When feeding on schedule, you feed your baby at regular intervals. Some people choose this because it is easier for them and because your child gets more regularity. The clinic will give you a feeding schedule that indicates how often and how much nutrition you can give from birth to a few years old.

Breastfeeding on schedule

It does not happen very often, but some women also breastfeed on schedule. The breast is then offered at regular intervals. Then the little one may drink for about 15 minutes and then wait for 2, 3 or 4 hours for the next food. In some women this goes very well and they do not have a reduction in milk production. Yet this is not recommended. Milk production is less well stimulated if it is done on schedule.
Feeding on request and according to need is better.

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