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!