The sixth Baby B cautions parents: Beware of baby trainers. What Dr. Sears means are the ‘experts’- and there are too many of them out there to count- who try to make parents believe that their babies should be on some sort of fixed schedule from the time they are born. Frequently, these baby trainers are also in favor of sleep training, via letting the baby cry it our or other methods.
The whole point of Attachment Parenting is to understand our baby’s needs and to respond to those needs as best we can. Trying to make babies fit into a set of rules designed by a total stranger who has never met your baby may bring short term benefits, but could cause many problems in the long run.
For example, there are baby trainers who insist on keeping babies on a feeding schedule. Regardless of whether they are breast or formula fed, these trainers believe babies should be eating at certain times and not at others. Such scheduling methods can be detrimental to a breastfeeding relationship, causing terrible issues such as dehydration and failure to thrive in the infant, as well as problems such as low milk supply and even mastitis in the mother. The problem with schedules is that they do not take into consideration that a growing baby has changing needs and while eating every two to three hours may be the norm on most days, it ignores the fact that babies have growth spurts, for example, during which they need to eat more frequently. (The AAP does not recommend baby training methods, such as the ‘Babywise’ method, and warns parents of the negative effects they can have on the breastfeeding relationship!)
I just spoke to a friend of mine in Germany a week or so ago. She has a newborn and I was quite anxious to hear how their breastfeeding is going. She told me that her midwife had advised her to feed the baby according to the clock- not more often than every two hours, but also not less frequently than every three hours. The midwife’s reasoning behind this was that babies need to learn discipline from birth on. Thankfully, my friend told me that she quickly discarded her midwife’s advice and listened to her baby, feeding her on demand (the recommended way to breastfeed a baby)
Always take baby advice with a grain of salt. Inform yourself about who the person is giving the advice as well as what qualifications he/she has. Pediatricians, for example, are often quick to give parenting advice that has nothing to do with their medical training and is not necessarily research based. As I have sad in many posts before: Trust your instincts and question everything!
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