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Mommy & Baby: Feeding Philosophies

By Kirsten Hawkins

This should be easy, right? Your baby is hungry, and you feed him. What's the big deal? The big deal is that there are so many philosophies that are thrown at moms regarding this topic. See if any of these sound familiar:

  • Demand-feeding

  • Hyper-scheduling

  • Cry feeding

  • Demand schedule

  • Self-regulating schedule

  • Rigid feeding

  • Cue (responsive) feeding

  • Parent-directed feeding

Confused yet? Most moms are and that's why they wing it. There are groups that will promote a particular type of feeding based on a political agenda (did you know that how you feed your baby is a politically-correct hot button?) and philosophy. There are others who will condemn you for even considering feeding your child formula, regardless of your reasons.

I'm not going to condemn anyone here or even talk about what to feed your baby. I just want to make you aware of your options and suggest that parent-directed feeding (PDF) is good for babies, mommies, and families in general.

How you decide to feed your baby will have a profound effect on your child's hunger patterns, sleep patterns, and general disposition. When I talk about PDF, I'm not talking about letting the clock rule when you feed your baby, but using a flexible schedule. This generally serves both baby & mother and takes much of the guess-work involved in feeding and parenting out of the equation. It's my experience that both mommy & baby do better when the baby's life is guided by this flexible schedule.

PDF is a middle-ground between hyper-scheduling (letting the clock rule your feeding routines) and demand-feeding (every time your baby cries, you feed him). This method is child-oriented (not child-centered or mother-centered); the mother cooperates with her baby's needs, and her baby learns to cooperate with his mother's guidance.

Much of parent-directed feeding requires some common sense and a commitment to not be ruled by the clock and The Rules. No one who practices PDF will tell you that you should not feed your baby if he is hungry; your role as a mommy is to meet his needs, and that includes adequate nutrition. Additionally, no one who uses this method will tell you that you must let your baby wait if he's hungry"that's being a slave to the clock, and not being responsive to your baby's needs. Instead, you will meet your child's needs without being enslaved to them or someone else's ideas of how you should feed your baby. That's the freedom that PDF can bring to your life and the life of your baby!

About The Author
Kirsten Hawkins is a baby and parenting expert specializing new mothers and single parent issues.

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