Friday, April 17, 2009

Keep a Feeding Schedule?

I was going to do my second post on something different and then I turned on the NBC Today Show this morning and watched a segment about the first year of mothering that made me think. You can see the short segment here. The part that struck me was the suggestion of writing down your child’s nursing schedule.

First, let me give the disclaimer that I believe every parent should be making his or her own decisions and that we should respect that autonomy (that’s what my second post was going to be about, so watch for it later). My response isn’t to say that this idea is wrong, just to share why it might not be necessary for every mom.

One of the greatest eye-opening moments for me when I became pregnant for the first time was that my body had been built for it. I have an endocrine system that doesn’t always work right and caused frustration during the years that we went through unsuccessful infertility treatment and testing. So, I was amazed that once I got pregnant, my body just seemed to right itself. Once the horrible morning sickness was over, I felt better that I had in a long time and my system worked properly. There was a more direct correlation between how much and what I ate and whether or not I gained weight – and I only gained 20 pounds with both pregnancies.

And, then I noticed that my body was changing to accommodate both the pregnancy and the mothering that would follow. Without me consciously doing a thing, my body was doing what it needed to do all on its own!

I still remember my fascination with being able to rely on my body completely to feed my baby. I didn’t have to know how to mix a bottle of formula, I didn’t have to keep track of how much she ate – I couldn’t even if I wanted to, and I had a built-in system to let me know when it was time to feed her again. I did have to learn the mechanics of breastfeeding, and that was harder than I thought it would be. But, once I learned how the system worked, it needed no further direction from me.

WOW! My body made exactly what my daughter needed to eat and regulated itself to make only as much as she was going to eat. I guess I could have kept a record of when and for how long I fed her. But, unless I thought there was a problem, why? So, I can get reassurance from my pediatrician? I can see how that might be nice, but he did weigh my daughter at each visit and said she was gaining weight just fine.

As much as I thought I would stress about feeding, I found it very comforting to know that my body knew how to handle that. I loved sitting in the rocker feeding my baby. It was so easy. I wish fixing food for my family now was that easy.

So, if you have time on your hands with your newborn (I personally preferred sleep over anything else), feel free to keep track of her feeding schedule. If it seems too much – skip it! Ask your mom if she kept a record of when you ate as a baby and see if she doesn’t laugh.

No comments: