I have a good friend who is a lactation consultant at our local hospital and is also a member of La Leche League. She insists to me that I cannot maintain a milk supply on a schedule. "But I nursed Brayden for a year and stopped only because I wanted to and have nursed Kaitlyn so far, both successfully." "No, it doesn't work because your milk supply won't go up when baby has a growth spurt because you don't feed more often."
First of all, I always find it amusing that she insists it doesn't work even after I tell her it has worked for me. Second, she is right. If you never adjust the schedule to fit the needs of the baby, you will likely compromise your milk supply. Luckily, that is not what Babywise is about. It is Parent Directed and you always feed baby when baby is hungry, no matter what. You feed, then you investigate why baby is hungry. If it is a growth spurt, you wait until the growth spurt is over, continuing to feed as often as necessary. If it is a problem in some way, you try to solve it but continue to feed hungry baby.
So here are my thoughts to combat that myth:
- Number one is my own experience. I have successfully nursed two babies on a schedule. No problems. No supply issues. EDITED 2013--I have now nursed four babies for one year each successfully while on a schedule.
- I also know many BW moms who successfully nurse their babies.
- Another is the experience of others. There are women who nurse beyond one year, two years, etc. Some of these women are BW moms and some are demand feeders for the first while. But for a 2 year old, they nurse on a schedule and only nurse a couple of times a day. They manage to maintain some sort of supply while on a schedule.
- If you follow BW principles, there should not be a compromise to your supply. You adjust feedings for growth spurts. You maintain the proper number of feedings based on the age of your baby. You don't let too many hours go between feedings even at night.
- You also need to follow other nursing principles (also discussed in BW). You drink enough water and eat a balanced diet. You rest. You can even take herbal supplements if necessary. You can pump if you aren't getting enough stimulation.
- Some women will have supply issues, but they would have them anyway. Some are because of baby and some are simply genetic for the woman, but neither has anything to do with Babywise.