My mother told me that my baby needed to be on a strict schedule. A baby on a schedule is easier to care for and will do better, she said.
However, several of my breastfeeding friends said to use demand feeding. If your baby starts to cry just plug her in, it's the easiest way to keep the baby quiet and content.
But to me, neither demand nor schedule feeding properly or adequately described the mother-infant breastfeeding relationship. I wanted to be able to feed my hungry infant even if the clock didn't indicate it was time. Also, I didn't want to over-feed my infant and nurse him when he really needed other types of attention. Instead, I prefer the terms "nursing on cue" or even "responsive breastfeeding." You and your infant are a nursing team. Is your baby trying to tell you that she is hungry? Does he need to be held, comforted, and loved? Is she tired and in need of a nap? One of the challenges and joys of mothering is learning how your baby communicates.
Infants are helpless and dependent. It's important to be responsive to your baby's first hunger cues. By consistently and responsively meeting your baby's needs, you'll foster deep trust and contentment in your child. What are the pre-cry hunger cues?