Day four of this BFBN week! Today I am here to discuss the myth that babywise and scheduled feedings will diminish your milk supply.
I want to start this post out by saying I know every woman’s body and every nursing relation is unique. I don’t want to ignore the fact that sometimes breastfeeding just doesn’t work. I think the idea that scheduled feedings will automatically mean a diminished supply is just not true though. A big misconception about babywise is that it tells you not to feed your child if he or she is hungry. Well Valerie from the Chronicles of a Babywise Mom pointed out specifically all the times that the babywise book actually tells you to feed your baby if he or she is hungry! Check it out here. (Not to mention if you think your baby is hungry are you really going to not feed him or her because some book told you not to? I don’t think so.) There is a difference between letting your baby go hungry or trying to go as long as possible between feedings and feeding on a schedule. And feeding on a schedule does not mean your milk will automatically dry up.
The production of breast milk in the body works on a supply and demand system. The baby demands milk, so the breast makes more. The more a baby eats, the more the body knows to make. Once milk is no longer demanded production of it slows down. So it would make sense that if you spread out feedings too quickly production would taper off. But no where does it say that scheduling feedings mean you have to make them far apart. My son was a hungry little newborn. I knew this and the interval between feedings was sometimes only ninety minutes. That interval grew with time. Scheduling does not mean you ignore the demand to eat, it means you meet that demand and plan ahead to keep meeting it. It is recommended by the AAP to wake babies during the day if they are sleeping past the three hour mark. Babywise tells us to do the same thing! It is important to have full complete feedings frequently throughout the day to build and maintain milk supply.
Scheduling is not about trying to go as long as possible between feedings. It’s about making sure your babies are eating enough. The first few weeks of my baby’s lives were sleepy, sleepy weeks for my little ones. If I had just let them sleep as long as they liked I wouldn’t have fed them as frequently. By scheduling feedings I made sure they ate the recommended 8-12 times in a 24 hour period. When I started nursing the girls I nursed them one at a time. This let me really focus on them each staying awake and getting a full feeding. Scheduling these nursing sessions let me make sure that one girl wouldn’t be left hungry simply because her sister demanded to eat first. To prevent the girls from getting too hungry I actually scheduled their initial feedings two to two and half hours apart. I was able to keep ahead of the hunger so they ate enough and weren’t starving at meal times, making it harder to nurse.
Scheduling means planning ahead. Having twins and a toddler means you have to plan. Newborns can take a very long time to eat. Toddlers are not good at waiting and entertaining themselves when they need something. By knowing when my girls were going to eat I could be sure that Ben had a fresh diaper and a full sippy of water before I started feeding the girls. For myself I made sure I had water, my phone, and the tv remote handy. Even now when the girls only take about 10 minutes to eat I can still be prepared! I know to make Ben use the potty before we start. I know when we can get out of the house and go to activities because I know when my girls will be hungry. At nine months old the girls still nurse five times a day. Scheduling these feedings mean I make sure that they nurse before they have solids, which makes it easier for them to get maximum nutrition from breast milk.
As babies grow and get busier, it can be hard to get them to settle down and nurse. They want to play and explore! Scheduling feedings help me be sure to take the proper time and make nursing a priority. I make sure we sit down at the appropriate times and focus on this special time. The girls know that it is time to eat and I think settle into it nicely.
I think I am a personal example of how scheduled feedings doesn’t mean you will lose supply. I nursed my son for 14 months. The first six months were just breast milk, and solids were slowly added in after that. I am going on 10 months of nursing my twins, the first seven being just breast milk before really starting solids, and I don’t plan to end any time soon. Yes, I know that is not every woman’s story. I know there are many reasons why nursing doesn’t work. But I am personal proof that scheduling feedings alone does not mean you will lose all your milk.
What does it mean when you schedule something? To me it means you are prioritizing it. You are making sure to carve out time in your day because you see that activity as being important. I schedule my nursing sessions because I think they are of utmost importance. I make sure to find the proper time in every day to meet the needs of my babies, making sure that I keep up a good supply to do so.
Babywise isn’t a starvation method that will make your breast milk dry up. It is a system for assessing what your child needs and trying to find the best way to meet those needs while meeting the needs of everyone in the family. It is figuring out what is going on with your child and how to best provide for him or her. Or, in other words, parenting. With a three year old and twin infants we have a lot of needs that need to be met. Scheduling nursing sessions let me make sure everyone’s needs are met, including nursing enough to maintain milk supply. Babywise isn’t for everyone, and that is just fine. There isn’t one right way to parent. But know that babywise in itself does not make milk dry up. I am proof of that.
Here is the rest of the schedule for the week. Be sure to check back to read more!
- : Valerie at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom talking about the Myths versus Realities of Babywise.
- : Katrina at Mama’s Organized Chaos talking about how Babywise isn’t imposing a schedule; it is learning the ideal schedule.
- Wednesday: Shea at The Moses Home talking about How Schedules Keep Us Flexible, Not Rigid. Natasha at Let’s Be Brave is talking about how Babywise works for you (not the other way around)
- Thursday: Carrie at Wiley Adventures is talking about how Babywise and Cry It Out (Or Don’t) Kimberly at Team Cartwright will be discussing Myth: Babywise Automatically Diminishes Milk Supply
- Friday: Cole at Twinning Babywise talking about how Haters Miss the Point: Babywise is More Than Just Sleep
- . Emily at The Journey of Parenthood talking about How to Make Babywise Possible with Multiple Children