Friday, May 30, 2008

Scheduling, Babywise and the Controversy

I am transitioning Baby K who is now 5 and half months old from a 3-hour schedule to a 4-hour schedule as she seems to be content to go longer. Due to the various appointments she had this week, we were on the go quite a bit, so her usual feeding times were in a constant state of rearrangement. Doing so well with these changes prompted me to make 6 oz. bottles this morning instead of the usual 5 oz ones. And then I bumped her feeding time ahead one hour and sure enough, she was hungry but not crying or upset. This coming Monday, I meet with a new OT who can help me decide when to start her on solids.
As the controversy rages over the supposed problems with Babywise and scheduling, I continue to remain convinced that my babies have thrived due to the consistent routine that a feeding schedules brings to my life. The children's hospital that provided care for Baby K's first three weeks relied heavily on feeding schedules. The other three babies that Baby K roomed with all had much more serious medical conditions than she yet they each were on a strict feeding schedule which was written up by the attending pediatrician and carried out by the nurses. I was astounded.
Three or four months ago I spent some time on the web trying to figure out what the Canadian Health organizations advised about feeding schedules since all the information I have ever seen against such scheduling practices were coming from American health organizations. It was a frustrating search as there was very little mention made of feeding schedules at all on Canadian health websites. And based on my own hospital experience, I knew that feeding schedules were standard fare in the treatment of newborns and infants.
Also, as far back as 1979, Canadian health manuals for parents promoted feeding, playing and napping babies on a schedule. So the questions for me remain. Why do the Canadian hospitals use a feeding method that the American health organizations say "puts babies at risk for poor weight gain and dehydration"? And why are there plenty of parents who like me have seen the positive effects of feeding schedules?
Parents who promote attachment-style parenting often express horror, sadness and anger over those who promote feeding schedules. I however, have been thankful for the sanity and simpleness it brings to baby care.


  1. Here's another vote in favor of schedules.........I brought up my own 4 this way...twins included....and 2 others who were borrowed!

    My information came from a public health book written in the 50's.

  2. "I however, have been thankful for the sanity and simpleness it brings to baby care." I second that!

  3. Let me, and US citizen with permanent residence status in Canada, chime in here.

    I gave birth to six children in the US. I nursed all of them on a schedule. They thrived.

    Then we moved to Canada. Baby number seven started out being "demand fed" at my Canadian midwife's insistence, but when my baby began to lose weight, I went back to scheduling. She did MUCH better on a schedule.

    For the next three babies I had a different midwife. She favours demand-feeding also, but judged me to be experienced enough to make my own decision about it. Just as an experiment, I decided to feed them when they seemed to be hungry, and see how often that was. All three of them automatically put themselves on a feeding schedule, starting out every two, then every three, and later every four hours.

    My conclusion is this: not only do babies thrive on a feeding schedule, but, given the choice, they will choose to be scheduled.

    We ALL do better with a regular routine. Why be surprised that babies would be any different?

    And why teach our children, from earliest infancy, that they can DEMAND anything at any time and get it?

  4. Hi Cathy,
    Thanks for sharing your experience and experiments with me. It's great to have supporters and not detractors commenting this time.
    On a sidenote:
    I think we might be in the same neck of the woods so-to-speak. My husband and I have checked your church's website when we first moved here.

  5. Well, if you ever feel inclined to visit, we'd be glad to have you!

  6. Anonymous8:47 PM

    hmmmm....ok so i never knew there was a difference! lol but Piper pretty much made up her own schedule from the beginning and then i just manipulated it to suit what i was doing for the most part. I guess i should probably read more parenting stuff and be better informed instead of making it up as i go! lol

  7. Gina,
    I think that for much of this parenting stuff you are better off not knowing about all the controversies and "mommy wars".
    Ignorance can be bliss.

  8. Anonymous9:24 AM

    well good then! i'm generally off in my own little world anyways so why would my parenting be any different? lol


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