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On Becoming Babywise does not say to starve baby. It says to feed baby when hungry nearly 30 times. Babywise allows parents to feed a hungry baby and does not cause failure to thrive.
There is a common misconception floating around the world that Babywise equals hyperscheduling. Hyperscheduling means you let the clock rule your feeding schedule; even if baby is hungry, you do not feed until it is time. I sometimes see comments from people stating that Babywise tells parents to not feed their baby even if hungry. When asked, some these people claim to have read the book. Others say no, their friend’s, neighbor’s, sister or something like that told them so.
Let me shed some light on the subject. Real, factual, light. Do you know how many times Babywise says to not feed your baby even if your baby is hungry. ZERO. That is right. Zero. Do you know how many times Babywise says to feed your baby when your baby is hungry? Not off the top of your head? Well, I am about to tell you*. Each of these quotes is telling the reader to feed a hungry baby. All text that is made larger is done so by me to add emphasis.
2006 BABYWISE PRINTING
- “Both the variable of hunger cues and the constant of time guide parents at each feeding.” page 37
- “When the hunger cue is present, the clock is submissive to the cue, because the hunger cues, not the clock, determine feedings.” page 40
- “Responding promptly to a newborn’s hunger cue is also a central part of Parent Directed Feeding.” page 64
- “The first rule of feeding states: Whenever your baby shows signs of hunger, feed her!” page 74
- “Sometimes it may be less and sometimes slightly more, based on your baby’s unique needs” page 74–talking about how often to feed baby
- “As stated, there will be times when you might nurse sooner than 2 1/2 hours…” page 74
- “There is only one Babywise feeding rule for the first two weeks. Mothers and fathers should take their clocks, turn and face them against the wall.” page 77
- “…even feeding as often as every two hours.” page 79 (in discussing jaundice)
- “Be careful not to compromise your baby’s nutrition while attempting to establish healthy sleep patterns.” page 98
- “Remain mindful of growth spurts that may require additional feedings for a few days.” page 113
- “As stated, your baby’s normal feeding periods fall between 2 1/2- and 3- hour intervals. But there are times when you may feed sooner than those time increments.” page 115
- “…it might be that she is hungry and in need of another full feeding. If that is the case, feed her again…” page 115
- “…just know that hunger is always a legitimate reason to feed less than two hours.” page 115
- “There also may be medical reasons for feeding a child more frequently. For example,…premature newborns…jaundice…” page 115
- “…it’s okay to deviate from the 2 1/2- to 3-hour feeding norm.” page 116
- “Don’t be afraid to add an extra feeding if you think your baby needs it.” page 118
- “If you feel you need to add an additional feeding during the day, do it.” page 121
- “Our emphasis and encouragement is to first approach the 45-minute intruder as a hunger problem, not a sleep adjustment problem. Try feeding your baby first.” page 144
- “Feed the baby during these growth spurts and adjust your daily routine to allow for a few more feedings during the day.” page 144
- “By feeding sooner than normal ou are not going backward in your routine but are making the healthy and proper adjustments needed to move into the next phase of your baby’s development.” page 145
- “With a reflux baby consider feeding more often than the general recommended 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Try feeding every 2 hours. This may be easier on your baby…” page 167
- “Possibly for a couple of days you might feed every two hours. That’s okay.” page 192 (in discussing jaundice)
- “If baby is hungry, feed him.” page 196
- “Probably she is going through a growth spurt. For the next couple of days, add a feeding or two to her routine.” page 202
- “When your baby goes to the nursery, leave a bottle of water, formula, or breast milk and give the nursery worker freedom to do what he or she thinks is best.” page 21
- “We are encouraged by the fact that so many parents understand the value of order in their lives and their children’s lives. But sometimes people redefine order to mean rigidity, and that leads to imbalance. Balance includes both structure and flexibility.” page 214
- “If you are breast-feeding, these [growth] spurts may necessitate some extra feedings for a couple of days…” page 219
Get the whole series here
Some of you who are reading this and claim Babywise tells you not to feed a hungry baby might be feeling a bit uncomfortable at this moment. Maybe you feel some heat rising. Go ahead. Look these quotes up. They are real. I didn’t make them up.
So now you might be thinking, “yeah, sure, but this is the newest version. The OLD version is the one that I am referring to.”
One step ahead of you. [Let me note, the 2001 printing is just about the same as the 2006 printing, so I didn’t include that printing.]
Thanks to my friend Amanda for the following:
1995 BABYWISE PRINTING
- “Second, our conviction is that a baby should be fed when he or she signals readiness. With PDF, a mother feeds her baby when the baby is hungry…” page 39
- “If your baby is hungry, feed him or her.” page 132
- “If you have a baby who becomes exceptionally and continuously fussy, consider the possibility that that he is hungry.” page 134 (in reference to late evening fussy periods)
- “If your baby is hungry, feed him” page 181
Want me to go further? Thanks to my friend Maureen for this info:
1990 VERSION of PREP FOR PARENTING (the non-secular version of Babywise)
- “Besides hunger, they cry when they are tired, wet, feeling sick, bored, frustrated, out of their routine, fed too often or simply that’s what normal, healthy babies do. As a parent, you must learn how to assess your baby’s cry in order to respond properly.” page 119
- “It should go without saying but we will say it anyway: ignoring a hungry baby’s cry is unacceptable. If your baby seems to be hungry all the time, the problem is not with a routine, but with your routine.” page 124
- “Parents should comfort their baby when comfort is needed…A diaper change will comfort a wet baby, feeding will comfort a hungry baby, holding will comfort a startled baby, and sleep will comfort a tired baby.” page 126
- “Growth spurts for your infant…may necessitate an extra feeding for a couple of days to increase your supply for baby’s increased demand.” page 143
What is my point? Babywise tells the parent, over and over again, to feed a hungry baby. And then it repeats it some more. These quotes aren’t randomly thrown in and hidden in the book. If you read the information around the quotes, you will see the information from each quote is elaborated on.
If a Babywise baby is asking for food, then a Babywise parent should be giving it. End of story. Here it is in black and white and quite undeniable.
*Disclaimer: Amanda, Maureen, and I may have missed some of the quotes from the books that state to feed a hungry baby. There may be more than listed here. But everything listed here is actual.
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