Are you thinking of breastfeeding your baby but aren’t sure if it’s possible to breastfeed with the Babywise method? Or have you heard that following the Babywise method could lead to a low milk supply or an over-scheduled baby?
If you’d like to breastfeed your new baby and follow the Babywise method, you’re in luck: Breastfeeding while following the Babywise method is achievable (and even beneficial) for both mom and baby.
Before you begin your breastfeeding journey, take a look at the Babywise philosophy, some breastmilk basics, and how breastfeeding and Babywise can work together.
Babywise Feeding Basics
While On Becoming Babywise acknowledges that there are different feeding philosophies (from over-scheduled feeding to completely child-led feeding), the Babywise method embraces a feeding philosophy that uses the best of both ends of the spectrum.
It’s called Parent Directed Feeding (PDF).
Simply put, PDF combines the aspects of scheduled feedings with a mother’s intuition to look for her child’s hunger cues.
PDF gives flexibility in the midst of a schedule. It assumes parents have a sense of when their baby’s feedings will occur but takes away the rigidity associated with a regimented feeding schedule. It allows you to meet your baby’s needs at any time because hunger cues (sucking sounds, hands in the mouth, or crying) trump the clock.
Breastfeeding and Babywise
One of the most significant aspects of PDF is that it encourages full feedings for baby approximately every 2.5-3 hours instead of small cluster feedings.
On Becoming Babywise describes a full feeding as including:
- Sufficient feeding times of about 10-15 minutes per breast per feeding.
- Hearing baby swallowing milk.
- Baby pulling away from the breast (in his own timing) when full.
- Baby burping well.
- Baby napping well.
With consistent full feedings, there’s a combination of sufficient breast stimulation and time between feedings. These two are essential for efficient milk production.
Following the Babywise method and achieving full feedings will lead to a consistent and adequate breastmilk supply for your baby.
All About Breastmilk
In order to be a more effective breastfeeding mama, you’ll want to learn a bit about the milk baby will be drinking.
In the first days after her arrival, breastmilk is called colostrum. This protein-rich concentrate is perfect for warding off bacteria and viruses. Approximately 2-4 days after baby’s birth, colostrum changes to transition milk, which has an increase in fat, lactose, calories, and vitamins.
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Mature milk arrives sometime around baby’s two-week birthday. In a typical feeding, there are two phases of mature milk: foremilk and hindmilk. Foremilk is somewhat thin in consistency and satisfies baby’s initial thirst. Hindmilk is released after several minutes and is creamer and fattier.
Both foremilk and hindmilk are essential for baby’s development. Working to ensure baby receives a full feeding means he’ll receive the nutrition he needs.
Stopping the Babywise Myths
Critics of the Babywise method have said that it’s nature of scheduled feedings don’t mesh with proper milk production and will discourage breastfeeding.
This is simply untrue.
On Becoming Babywise clearly states that hungry babies always get fed. It pushes back against the idea of hyper-scheduling, as this isn’t healthy for either mother or baby. If your baby is hungry, you should feed him.
This is especially true during growth spurts, when baby requires additional calories in closer proximity. While growth spurts can vary, the first ones often occur around 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months of age.
Breastfeeding and the Babywise method can work seamlessly together. Plan ahead and read up on a few more tips for successful breastfeeding.