Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Strategies to Support Responsive Cue-Based Breastfeeding

  • Responsive cue-based breastfeeding (also known as “baby-led breastfeeding”) is a type of breastfeeding pattern in which the frequency and length of feeds are unrestricted and based on the infant’s cues and sleep duration. Additionally, it is responsive to the breastfeeding person’s breast fullness to self-manage supply and comfort.
  • It supports the physiology of breastfeeding as a supply and demand feedback mechanism, enabling a breast milk supply that aligns with the individualized and changing needs of the infant over time.
  • It supports exclusive breastfeeding for healthy newborns and is recognized as the current best practice.
  • Breastfeeding persons who are using responsive cue-based breastfeeding should understand the following:
  • It is normal for newborns and infants to breastfeed more frequently than bottle-fed infants or those who feed by both bottle and breast.
  • Breastfeeds of varying frequencies and lengths are normal and not an indication of IMS or a need to cease breastfeeding and switch to scheduled breastfeeding or formula feeding.
  • Support from nurses, the interprofessional team, and peers can be integral to achieving responsive cue-based breastfeeding. They can help with related areas such as understanding infant feeding cues, achieving effective positioning and latch, and managing breast milk fullness.
Women and Children
Breastfeeding Best Practice Guidelines for Nurses
Point of Care Resources