Breastfeeding at will is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the prompt way to respond to an infant need to nurse throughout the day and night, in other words, breastfeeding at will is not the kind of nursing that follows a particular time schedule for feeding sessions, but the kind of nursing that follows the signs used by the baby to express his need to eat.
According to many breastfeeding experts in La Leche League and other international organizations, breastfeeding at will is an excellent way to nurse a baby. It is even more efficient than breastfeeding by schedule which remained the ultimate option for breastfeeding mothers till late 40s of last century, and that’s because of the huge health benefits it provides for both mother and baby – like improving the quantity and quality of breast milk, protecting mother and baby from infections, allowing the baby to adapt with the breast production of milk, reducing the baby’s pain and stress, helping him gain weight and giving the mother confidence in her ability to meet her child’s need now and later on.
As its name suggests, breastfeeding at will requires the mother to read the signs of hunger sent by her baby and try to meet them as soon as possible, without waiting for him to cry. Signs of hunger are: the finger sucking, the sucking-like noise, the quick movement of the eyes, the muscle stretching, and so on.
If you opt for this type of breastfeeding, it will seem to you that your baby makes these signs almost all the time and that’s a good and pretty normal thing for most newborn babies: breastfeeding every hour or breastfeeding all the time!
But, if you find it difficult to identify these signs, we advise you to get to know your baby better and keep him beside you and in your arms for a long period of time, even during housework, until you get to learn how to expect his needs and be able to meet them.
Choose to breastfeed your baby at will and not by schedule, so you won’t lose your impulsive ability to meet your infant’s needs. Trust us when we say that motherhood instinct should be “motivated” once in a while or else it will lose its efficiency!
Read More: All About Breastfeeding
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