Controlled Feeding Times for Newborns: What a terrible idea!

Written by admin on February 4, 2011. Posted in Boobs & Bottles

While pregnant I had a conversation with a friend who had recently had his first child. It went like this, he said the midwives told him to feed their daughter only every four hours. “It will get her into a good feeding habit” they said. She would scream and scream and he said she was the unhappiest baby. After weeks of this he said they finally ditched the midwife’s advice and fed her on demand. The transformation was evident. She was a new little girl, happy and calm. Given that newborns are meant to put on as much weight as possible and drink as much milk as possible, the midwives were fools. His pivotal advice to me before our girls were born was this, take midwives’ advice with a grain of salt. Just do whatever you feel in your gut is best for YOUR baby.

YOUR baby. That’s the operative word here. The baby you hold tightly in your arms belongs to you and no one else. If you feel that you should be doing something different to midwive’s advice, it’s your call. Don’t be bullied into hanging in there, and ‘that’s not how it should be done’ bollocks. Just do it. I didn’t receive any stifling advice like that from our midwife, it was simply “if they sleep more than 5 hours you should wake them and make them feed as there’s a risk they could become dehydrated“. Now that made sense to me. I agreed with it but only encountered it once with our little Leila while in hospital. After that they were up every 1.5 to 2 hours! We did however have a ‘Lactation Consultant’ (who looked about 25) come around telling me how I should be feeding the girls. From memory she had nothing productive to advise about technique, more picking on things she wasn’t happy with. If her intention was to make me feel bullied and belittled for using nipple shields on my extremely cracked and painful nipples, she succeeded. However my mother, partner and I decided to go ahead and continue using nipple shields anyway and our girls had zero problem adjusting to them, feeding with them, nor any issues with my milk flow because of them. But I was made to feel like it was the worst thing in the world to be doing! I look back at those conversations now and wish I had the mindset to tell her to shove off.

I don’t want to paint all lactation consultants in a poor light. I believe they have a very important role in the community to help new mums give breastfeeding the best shot they can so they don’t fall into the arms of formula. Breastfeeding is such a beautiful, natural, perfect food for your baby and chances are you haven’t had many women around you breastfeeding recently to bounce questions or concerns off. Lactation Consultants have their place in society and that is on the other side of the fence to the super profitable canned formula companies. Which is a good thing in my eyes. Read a great article from ABA that talks about the ‘great divide’ at “Feeding our babies: Choice? Guilt? Anger? Regret?“.

As your newborn becomes an infant (say around 2-3 months) you can implement a sleep/feed cycle that will get them into a healthy routine that will actually make them feel secure and happy. Babies love routine. It gives them a sense of security and knowing what to expect next. Our girls would actually go and rattle the gate when they felt it was time to crawl upstairs and have their nap! I’ll share my experiences with our twins in Sleep Challenges – Save our Sanity: Implementing a Sleep/Feed Routine“.

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