Breastfeeding tips and topics:
Evidence-based articles for the science-minded
© 2008-14 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved
These breastfeeding tips and feature articles are based on discoveries in evolutionary, cross-cultural, and clinical research.
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
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 breastfeeding tips
Do you really need to switch breasts during a feeding session? No.
Does alcohol increase milk production? No--the reverse seems to be true.
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 of "Breastfeeding tips and topics" last modified 2/2014