Sunday, June 15, 2014

Babies Need Time to Master the Basics, Be Patient

When will my baby sleep through the night?  When will breastfeeding take less time?  How long should I burp my baby?  Should I put the baby down awake, groggy or asleep?  When can I stop swaddling?  When do I increase how much I give in a bottle?

The answer…When they are ready to!  

Babies are not as pressed for time as we are, in fact they would prefer things to stay the same long enough for their tiny bodies to adjust.  While I encourage experiments to see what YOUR baby’s ideal recipe is, the truth is that most parents plow through the experiments so quickly their baby isn’t given a chance to adjust.

Take formula for example.  Our babies are not born with enzymes to digest anything other than human breast milk, and so no matter what alternative formula you are using you must allow time for their bellies to adjust!  I am not against the use of formula, but I am against the idea of formula hopping frequently.  Go slow with your approach to introducing anything new and allow time for the baby to adjust.  Often you will see a 3-day period of increased fussiness, gassiness, spitting-up and even a change in stool patterns and consistency as the baby’s belly figures out how to digest a new substance.

I see it so often with breastfeeding and weight issues.  Watching the weight trend too closely often creates unnecessary concern and supplementation.  The biggest downside with early supplementation (that is not necessary) is that a boost of formula will cloud the picture from a hunger perspective for the next feeding, and therefore the baby will not eat as well at the breast for that feeding!

Allow you baby some time to figure out all of their new jobs.  Eating, sleeping, burping, and calming all take some time to master.  This is on-the-job training in its purest form.  There is NO rush, go slow and wait it out a bit before moving through the experiments.

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