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July 16, 2005

Breastfeeding and Babywise: The Practicalities

The mamas I've known who have been successful in breastfeeding until one year (per the AAP recommendations), have usually altered the Ezzo PDF guidelines significantly.

These are the most common modifications.

1. Never going beyond 3 hours between feedings, except for when baby is sleeping at night. (Current Ezzo materials assume it is normal for babies at 9-15 weeks be going between 3-4 hours, and be down to 4-6 liquid feedings at 4-6 months.) After losing my milk supply while breastfeeding my first, I attempted to never go beyond 3 hours when feeding my second. I still lost my milk supply, but not until 6-7 months.

2. Follow an Eat/Wake/Eat/Sleep cycle, instead of the Eat/Wake/Sleep cyclef. I have seen this advocated by a Contact Mom, but can't remember who. This is what we started to do when our third son was born. (Later we went the route of cue-feeding. I was able to successfully breastfeed my third while cue-feeding, and may have been able to on an eat/wake/eat/sleep cycle.)

3. Breastfeed at night. While one of Ezzo's selling points is the promotion of "sleeping through the night" from an early age for babies, because of the way the breastfeeding hormones work, many mothers have found the best way to keep up their milk supply is to have at least one and possibly two night nursings throughout the duration of the nursing season. Experienced moms have found that this night nursing does not cut into their rest or their baby's rest as much as Ezzo warns.

4. Switching to cue-feeding, and building routine and rhythm in other areas of their infant's day.

I think these article provides some good ideas:
But I Don't Want to Nurse All the Time OR Watch the Clock!
Establishing a Routine While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding and the Bible

Soooo. . . feedback from breastfeeding, Babywise moms. . . What's worked for you?

This post is part of the Ezzo Week 2005 series focusing on Gary Ezzo's parenting teachings.


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I'm not a BW mom, but I do love my routine and am kicking myself in the butler for not having more of a routine this go around, but that's beside the point. ;-)

I followed Laurie's advice and recommend it highly. And basically doing what you recommended.

Now if I could get S outta my bed I'd be set....LOL!

Posted by: Kirstin at July 17, 2005 07:48 PM

I have read Baby Wise, and am very pro-schedule. I don't know if that makes me a BW mom or not, but my experience has been this:

My now-8-month-old daughter is still exclusively breastfed and completely satisfied with the supply of milk. She is happy, healthy, and growing very well. She has healthy baby fat and is clearly thriving.

She is also on a great schedule. She nurses at 8a, 12noon, 4p, and 8pm. And sleeps through the night every night. I do not have a problem with milk supply.

I know that having a baby on such a tight schedule is not right for every mom, but it is an answer to prayer for me. I thrive on this routine and she seems to as well. She takes good naps at the same time every day. Wakes up at the same time and goes to bed at night at the same time every day. It creates a peace in our home that is very welcome.

I had no idea when I read Baby Wise what a controversial topic it is among moms. I am not advocating one way as better than the other. Only that each family needs to do what is right for them as far as scheduling, etc... But, I can certainly speak from experience that the schedule and breastfeeding is working for us with great success - not thanks to Baby Wise, but thanks to God who has created this peace and order in our home.

Posted by: Monica at July 18, 2005 07:12 AM


I went to your blog, and your daughter is adorable!

I wonder though, you say that having a schedule is an answer to prayer...did you try feeding your baby according to AAP reccommendations (on cue) and find that to be disruptive to you? I fed all 4 of my babies on cue (and now give them snacks on cue, though meals come at pretty much the same time each day), and I found they all developed a rythym to feeding be 8-12 weeks old.

Also, regarding 4 feeds per day, do you similarly restrict yourself to only eat/drink 4 times a day? No sips of water in the middle of the afternoon? No piece of candy around 10 a.m.?


Posted by: Jenn at August 1, 2005 08:21 AM

Well, now you know one! I successfully nursed all three of my kids to 13 months and beyond using the Babywise routine as advised, and am so thankful that I did.

Some moms may do fine with round-the-clock feedings, but I am one that does not. I become a woman I don't like whenever I don't get enough sleep for longer than 6-8 weeks. I'm so thankful for the advice to follow a routine with nursing- it has definitely made me a much more laid-back parent than I would be were I getting no sleep!

Thankfully, God made us all different, and for some of us, Ezzo's book fits our needs.

Posted by: Jess @ Making Home at August 30, 2007 01:51 AM

I have a 9 week old daughter and have been following Babywise very closely since she was born. It has been going great for us, she is sleeping through the night, and is very happy during her wake times, and hardly ever cries when she goes down for her naps. But in the past 3 days she has started waking up early from her naps crying her "hungry cry".

I've noticed my milk supply seems low, and she's nursing for much longer than usual. I am really worried about "drying up" because I want to breastfeed for as long as I can. Tomorrow I am switching from a 3 hour schedual to a 3 and a half hour schedual to satisfy my daughter and hopefully increase my supply.... any suggestions? I really like babywise but upon searching for solutions on the internet I have found mounds of negative info about babywise and the author, Ezzo. Is there someone who has read the book with some positive feedback. (the most important thing to me is my milk supply and not our schedual)

thank you!!!

Posted by: Megan at January 2, 2008 01:50 AM

Megan, did you mean that you're switching to a 2.5 hour schedule? I would certainly encourage you to nurse more frequently in response to your baby's needs. Any time your milk supply takes a dip, nursing more frequently will generally be the right medicine for the problem. The beauty of it is that it helps your baby while helping you.

I would also encourage you to check out the information on breastfeeding at http://www.kellymom.com to get some good ideas on building your milk supply back up. That's a terrific resource for nursing moms on the web.

How did things go for you today?

Posted by: Kathy at January 2, 2008 09:31 PM

Oops! Yes I meant I'm switching to a 2 and a half hour schedual!

Thank you for that website It was really helpful reading about how it all works. I'm not as worried anymore about my milk drying up, because it sais its very unlikely as long as your baby is still breastfeeding. I guess I just worry that I'm not going to be able to keep up with her!

Our day yesterday went really well. She switched to a two and half hour schedual very easily. And she seems much happier.

I guess I just worry because schedual feeding is not the norm. (demand feeding seems to be) so when things go a little awkward I worry that I'm doing something wrong.
But thank you for the advice and reassurance!

Posted by: Megan at January 3, 2008 01:39 PM

I'm glad she seems happier.

because it sais its very unlikely as long as your baby is still breastfeeding

It is encouraging to remember that God has stacked the deck in favor of breastfeeding working out! :-) Yay God! I think it is so neat how He designed our bodies to provide the perfect nourishment for our babies. That always used to encourage me.

Sometimes though, when I just didn't know what to do...I would remember that God had designed the process and that He created it to work in such a way that it would be pretty obvious--with the survival of the next generation at stake and no assurance that Momma has a book, He had to make the process fairly intuitive and obvious.

Now of course everyone has their opinions, but when I would get confused, I would imagine myself with just my baby and me on a desert island...what would I do if the competing books and voices were not a part of my world at all? What if it was just me and my baby, and I had to tune into my common sense and intuition and prayer?

Something to know about spacing your feedings out: Basically if we will feed the baby when the baby is hungry, He works it out to replenish the milk that was removed, slowing down production if our breasts are staying full more of the time, and speeding production up if our breasts are empty more of the time.

That's one reason why more closely spaced feedings help increase your milk supply. If the milk builds up over time in your breasts, the feedback sent to your body is to inhibit milk production. (Or we'd explode! :-D ) That mechanism works well when you DO want your milk supply to diminish, like when you wean your little one or when their need for nursing diminishes on it's own. But in the early weeks and months, it's not a good signal to send your body. Kellymom.com has a great page about that with good illustrations and such, I think.

I hope nursing continues to work out for you and be a joy to you both!

Posted by: Kathy at January 4, 2008 12:26 AM

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