down with babywise

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

The Babywise philosophy is bad for breastfeeding.  This is a fact.  Babies need to be fed when they present hunger signs, before they start crying, as often as they want.

Here’s a fantastic article by Lisa Marasco and Jan Barger about cue-feeding of breastfed infants, with specific references to where medical fact departs from Babywise philosophy.

The article is incredibly informative, but it’s long, so I’ll share with you a fun fact I learned.  Marasco and Barger state that

if a baby contracts an illness that mom has not been exposed to previously, he will transfer this organism through his saliva to the breast, where antibodies are manufactured on site and then sent back to baby via the milk to help him cope. Science does not come even close to duplicating this feat! Babies who are sick will often increase their nursing frequency, and researchers now believe that they do so not only for the comfort that it brings to a miserable little being, but also to increase the baby’s intake of antibodies and immune factors available through mother’s breast (Dettwyler, website). Babies seem to “know” when they have been exposed to a virus or bacteria, and know when they need to breastfeed more frequently to help them fight it off; most importantly, they sense it before parents realize that an illness is developing. There is no system in existence that is as sensitive and accurate as this one, and it is not under parental control.

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