Breastfeeding tips and topics
© 2008-11 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved
These breastfeeding tips and articles are based on current discoveries in evolutionary, cross-cultural, and clinical research.
In addition to
practical breastfeeding tips,
here you'll find evidence-based information on such topics as
What they can smell and taste,
evidence in favor of frequent feedings for newborns
(and against a regimented newborn feeding schedule)
• Feeding "on demand" or "on cue."
The evidence in favor of feeding babies on cue,
review of cross-cultural practices that make feeding "on cue"
• Breast milk.
The nutrients and calories in breast milk,
possibility that milk produced at night makes babies sleepy
• The transition to solids.
How flavors in breast milk and formula influence baby food preferences.
• Breastfeeding and maternal behavior. In this blog post, I discuss an experiment suggesting that breastfeeding makes women less inhibited and more aggressive.
• Lactation funds brain evolution. In another blog post, I discuss links between lactation and the evolution of the mammalian brain.
And, on a related topic, I've reviewed research concerning the health benefits and risks of
consuming cow's milk.
Cow's milk isn't good for babies under 12 months. Is it good for toddlers and older children? The answer may depend on your family's health history and on what other sources of protein and calcium you have available.
Why babies benefit from feeding "on cue"
For many generations, Western parents have been encouraged to put their babies on regimented feeding schedules. Is this a good idea? Probably not. Read more about
the infant feeding schedule and the importance of feeding on demand.
This article explains why babies are better off regulating their own intake. It covers the evolution of breastfeeding, hunter-gather practices, clinical studies of milk quality, infant growth, stress, pain, and even napping.
For information about the special case of newborns, see my article on the
newborn feeding schedule.
Practical tips for breastfeeding moms
Do you really need to switch breasts during a feeding session? No. Does alcohol increase milk production? No--the reverse seems to be true. Check out
these breastfeeding tips for the details.
What's in your breast milk?
The composition of breast milk changes depends on a variety of factors, including how long you have been lactating and how frequently you feed your baby. Learn more about the
nutrients and calories in breast milk.
This article covers colostrum and “mature” breast milk, and discusses the role of fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It reviews the many factors that influence the composition of your breast milk, and offers tips for improving its quality.
In addition, read about how the
flavors in breast milk influence your baby's food preferences
the possibility that breast milk produced in the evening contains substances that promote sleep,
Breastfeeding on demand: A cross-cultural perspective
Both the World Health organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that mothers breastfeed "on demand" or "on cue"--i.e., letting the baby determine the timing of feedings.
That's easier said than done. Does your culture support breastfeeding on demand? Read about these
cross-cultural breastfeeding practices
that make it easier.
Content last modified 10/11