In the summer of 1975 demand feeding was introduced for all babies born at the John Radcliffe Hospital, where previously babies were fed according to a rigid schedule to fit in with ward routine--clock feeding. Over a 10-day period before demand feeding was introduced details were collected about infant feeds concerning 42 normal babies whose mothers had decided to breast feed. 2 weeks after the introduction of demand feeding similar details were collected about 43 normal breast-fed babies. At the time of the observations 65% of all babies born in this hospital were being breast fed. Comparing breast feeding patterns, there was a wider scatter of interfeed time intervals in the demand-fed group than in the clock-fed group, over the first 2 days after birth. By the end of the first week these differences were no longer present. The introduction of demand feeding presented no problems in ward management and is now the established routine in this maternity hospital.
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