La Leche League VERSUS BabyWise!

So I’ll probably regret blogging about this, because I know it’s a touchy subject- but I find it interesting to think about. I probably know just enough about the topic to tick someone off and not enough to do anything about it. So please accept my apologies in advance.

The big debate that I will ponder here is if we should “schedule train” our baby or “feed-on-demand.” My (limited) understanding of the issue is that there are pros and cons to both. People get offended by the suggestion that their favorite model has cons because everyone is trying to be the best parents they can be (of course).

From what I know about attachment theory- the attachments formed in infancy have life long effects including implications for friendships throughout life and even adult romantic relationships. Some think the best way to foster a secure attachment is to be very responsive to the babies needs by feeding them whenever they are hungry and letting them sleep and wake as they please. The La Leche League is an international organization that promotes breastfeeding through support groups and educational materials… the League advocates for the feed-on-demand approach to enhance attachment and development through the natural regulation of supply and demand.

Conversely, proponents for the schedule-training approach see a regular feeding and eating schedule as a gift of structure and security to the whole family. The book “On Becoming Baby Wise” advertises that it “teaches parents how to lovingly guide their baby’s day rather than be guided or enslaved to the infant’s unknown needs.” Basically, this method is saying that parents who sleep can be better parents. I’ve actually talked to people that say following this book helped them to experience much more joy in parenthood and in life.

Both approaches are amazing and I know amazing parents who do both. I have heard people say that scheduling is “cruel” and I’ve heard people say that not scheduling is “crazy.” So as I’m trying to decide between cruel and crazy, I realized something about myself.

It has always been a struggle for me to develop and keep a regular routine/schedule. No matter what I do, getting out of bed on time has been a battle for as long as I can remember. Everyday. Waiting till mealtimes to eat is also nearly impossible. In elementary, I missed the bus so many times I thought “missedthebus” was one word. In junior high I was tardy 18 times in one semester and got a letter from the vice principal about my delinquency. In high school I didn’t have a class first hour but I still found myself sprinting- backpack flailing- through the school every morning so that I could shamefully slide into my front row seat JUST after second hour bell. I’m not even going to tell you about my problems in college because they were so ridiculous that you wouldn’t believe me anyway. Today… let’s just say, I’m glad that I have a flexible work environment. I’ve heard that it’s healthy to eat 5 small meals a day, but my tendency is to eat 1 bite of food every 6-38 minutes… in addition to three regular meals a day. Even beyond eating and sleeping, the concept of a consistent schedule has been my arch nemesis all my life.

So a few mornings ago, sometime after being rudely jolted awake by my unfriendly alarm (and pushing snooze “just one more time”), it dawned on me that my early experiences as a La Leche League baby could have possibly contributed to my inability to wake, sleep and eat like a normal, good, productive, citizen of my age. Hmmm? It’s just a thought/hypothesis… don’t sue me. Also, please don’t misunderstand me… I am grateful for how my parents raised me and know it has benefited me in many ways. Take my survey so I can find out pseudo-scientifically if I’m on to something!

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4 thoughts on “La Leche League VERSUS BabyWise!

  1. Lol, I love this topic. It's fun. = D There really are pluses and minuses to both. I fed on demand for 2 1/2 months before I switched to BabyWise and hallelujah; he's slept through the night since. I think it's very important to feed on demand for a while to make sure you build a strong milk supply and learn how to "read" your baby (my midwife advised to do this for at least the first 2 months). I also think it's important to help your baby get what he/she needs throughout their life, until they are old enough to wisely choose what is best by themselves. One thing I really love about BabyWise is that it is really not all that extreme. It teaches you how to discern with your parent brain when to alter the schedule. For example when growth spurts come, or if you're on a plane and you need to pacify your baby with the breast so everyone is not miserable from her crying, etc. Also, I am super bad at waking up on time and it still works for me. If I wake up late, I just work my way back on the schedule by mid-morning or afternoon and it works perfectly throughout the rest of the day and Ari gets to bed on time. I think it's awesome that you're doing your research ahead of time. I was in denial about having a baby until the end. We toured the maternity ward the day before my water broke, and I missed the last 2 birthing classes because of it. (Ari was born 10 days early) = ) My suggestion is to have a plan in mind, but be ready for it to change slightly (or not so slightly) because you will learn so much about yourself that you did not know once your little bundle actually arrives. = D Sorry this is too long.. again, very fun topic to discuss.. I think. ; )

  2. I think one of the most significant things I have learned in my 1st year as a mom in that the best laid plans can easily fly out the window. I should have known when my plan for an early all natural/no drug water birth delivery ended up happening 3 weeks after my due date and involved several methods of inducement, multiple drugs, and after several hours of pushing I had to have a C-section.Some of the best advice I got was from Le Que- she said when making decisions you have to know yourself and you have to know your child. The thing is- you can have your plans but your baby is its own person. I have at least 8 books that are just about baby sleep issues and I've read them all. (I can't even start on the number of websites). The ones I have found most beneficial are those that offer different suggestions based on your baby's temperment. Benji & I fall somewhere in between the two methods you mentioned above. Sleeping has been a struggle for him- especially in the day time. He's incredibly social and I don't think he ever wants to miss anything. I have a friend with a baby exactly one month younger. We've read the same books, have very similar values and methods. Her baby clearly finds nap time to be a relief and enjoys the break from social activity. Their struggle has been eating which has not been an issue for us at all.All that to say- it's really complicated and as soon as you figure it out it changes. All I know is that I've been really grateful for other mom friends who can tell me about their experiences. If I didn't have Ann I would think I was doing everything wrong all the time (her baby sleeps perfectly and mine doesn't!) but she reminds me of how different our kids are and how similar our techniques in raising them are and I am comforted. They are both healthy, happy, well-loved little boys.

  3. Thanks Jody- it'll be good to keep in mind that every kid is different before trying to implement something that might not jive with their personality (or ours)! Thanks for sharing.

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