Thursday, June 21, 2012

Parent directed feeding versus demand feeding

l1When a newborn baby cries, it is their way to communicate with you, their care giver. It is not to annoy you. It is not because they want to manipulate you. It is because they are looking for your attention... for a reason. If you aren't ready to "deal" with that, you may not be ready for a baby.

There are various parenting theories out there, not one will be perfect for all families, but some can be damaging to babies and families. An over indulgent parent who cannot set boundaries is harmful, just as a parent who chooses not to be a 24 hour parent is harmful.



An over indulgent parent isn't the same as an attached parent. An attached parent is one who will consider all members in the family, not just a child's requests when making decisions.

A parent who fails to see that their life will change when they have kids will likely damage their child from the infant stage.

Here's the fact: babies are needy. They NEED you. A sleep trainer you pay $25 an hour to come and "solve" the issues isn't solving the issue. Instead, it is likely that you need someone to come in, give you a bit of a razzle wake up call and let you know that you're a parent now and your life has changed.

The changes of parenthood are only negative if you have the attitude that your life shouldn't change when baby comes. Embrace the changes and gift of this new life. There are ways to make parenting easier, and to me, that means attachment parenting. It is a lot easier to respond, be there, and relax with baby. Of course a baby's night waking will annoy you if you have to run across the house, warm a bottle and/or hear them scream. But if you follow instincts, room share (co-sleep if it works for you) and breastfeed, night waking isn't half as bad. PLUS, many of the biggest smiles are at those 3 am feeds :)

I say this in the midst of night weaning... but it is my two year old who knows the difference between night and day eats regular people food. He's not an infant whose stomach is only accepting the most basic of (high calorie) nourishment that happens to process through the body quickly.

I found this article interesting in the Journal of Perinatal Education that compared Babywise and Attachment Parenting.

These two extremely laughable but highly DANGEROUS points come from Babywise and Parent Directed Feeding:

  • Your baby's routine is to serve you; you are not to serve your baby's routine (p. 132).
  • You can hurt a baby by picking him or her up too much (p. 128).

Of course Babywise also doesn't recommend rocking a baby to sleep or co-sleeping. In fact those are also seen as harmful in their eyes. So, if being detached teaches your child that you won't respond to their needs... I wonder how things turn out later when their needs change into desires? Where's the trust? Also, don't forget, parent directed feeding and Babywise are specifically listed by the American Academy of Pediatrics as harmful and potentially deadly, due to the possibility of failure to thrive AND dehydration.

I don't see anything regarding that on attachment parenting. 

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Well written, Amanda! I never understood how Babywise got so popular. When you look at how a baby is biologically designed, and you look at babywise, they just don't jive. I've also never understood letting an infant cry it out. THeir brain is not wired to understand cause and effect until they are between 4 and 8 months old. You literally cannot teach them to not cry at night, because they are incapable of learning, and it worries me what IS happening. We do know cortisol levels are raised during stressful crying episodes, and we do know about the flight and fight response. We also know responding to an infant creates trust (that goes back to trust vs. mistrust). Knowing that, I just could never let my babies cry, even if their "needs" (though isn't the need for affection and/or touch a need as well?) were met.

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