Thursday, September 15, 2011

Get the Skinny on 3 Mainstream Feeding Philosophies

What feeding philosophy do you adhere to? Demand feeding, hyperscheduling, cry feeding, natural feeding, rigid feeding, responsive feeding, self-regulating feedings, cue feeding, parent-directed feeding.

What? You didn't know there were that many different kinds of feeding philosophies? I'm sure there are more. It seems like everyone and their brother has a "better" way of doing things which in turn becomes a new "philosophy" that parents should go by. No wonder parents give up and just wing it. It's all so confusing!

So I want to discuss the 3 main feeding philosophies with you today. Hyperscheduling...better known as clock feeding, attachment parenting or demand feeding, and parent-directed feeding. Two of these are extreme opposites, and one falls nicely in the middle. Which will suit you and your family? Read on and see for yourself.

Hyperscheduling or Clock Feeding
This feeding philosophy consists of setting a specific amount of time between baby's feedings and sticking to it come hell or high water. If you choose to feed your baby every 3 hours then you feed your baby every 3 hours, no exceptions. What if baby's hungry 2 hours after his last meal? Too bad, it's not time! This philosophy was developed because it was believed that babies molded to their environments, and that their bodies would follow along with their feeding times. One word...structure. I'm going to call this Conservative Feeding! This style of feeding is usually better for mom in that she knows when baby will eat. It works for her schedule.

Attachment parenting...AKA Demand Feeding
Demand feeding is where the baby is in charge of when it eats. If she cries...feed her. When she wakes up...feed her. This feeding philosophy is the extreme opposite of clock feeding. I'm going to call this one Liberal Feeding! Its approach is non-structured. Attachment parenting has many facets, but the main idea is creating a emotional bond with your baby so that she gets her comfort and security from you. This style of feeding is usually for the benefit of the baby, not mom, and in some cases can cause you to have a demanding little booger and a very tired mama.

Parent-Directed Feeding
PDF is smack dab in the middle of the previous 2 feeding styles. I'll call this one Independent Feeding. This is a routine feeding or scheduled feeding. It takes the benefits of each of the above philosophies and mushes them together. Mom sets the time between baby's meals {usually every 2-3 hours for a newborn}, but adjusts if baby is hungry sooner. So if a mom wants to feed her 1 month old every 3 hours then she feeds him at the set times. If he wakes up early or shows signs of hunger before the next scheduled feeding session, she goes ahead and feeds him and adjusts the rest of the days feedings accordingly. One word here...balance.

So it really comes down to how you want to parent, and what your schedule is like. Everyone's different. No one's really in a position to judge others although we usually do when someone does something different than us. Why is that? Because we want to feel like we're doing the best there is, that's why! We all want to be considered a good mother.

The idea of being a good mother has changed over the years. Now, you're a good mother based on your method of parenting. You used to be a good mother if you had good results. What the mess?! Doesn't the later make more sense when it comes to judging something...uhhh, results. That's how you evaluate something, isn't it?

I don't know about you, but I've used the parent-directed feeding philosophy with my kiddo's, and I've gotten GREAT results, so I'm giving myself the Good Mother Award in this area!

What about you? Which philosophy do you agree with and why, and what are some examples of how it works for you?

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