One of the most difficult aspects for parents using the Division of Responsibility to feed a child is trusting the child is able to know when they are full. This is especially true when a baby is young and not able to talk.
I have been reminded of this a few times this week. Parents not believing the signs that a baby is full and using various tactics to finish a bottle. Parents of breastfeeding babies usually do not have this concern, as a breastfed baby stops when they are done, and there is no way for a mother to encourage a breastfed baby to continue. Often, I also find, since breastfed babies eat as much or as little as they want, but the parents have no idea what that actual quantity is, the parents are not focused on the quantity the baby consumes. There is an innate sense of trust that the baby will let the parents know when she is hungry again.
Bottle fed babies are another story… Often parents who are bottle feeding their baby are extremely vigilant as to the amount that the baby consumes every. Single. Feed. They often use the recommendations as golden rules and expect their baby should eat as much, if not more than this recommendation every feed. If you find yourself in this case, I want you to think about your own intake. Do you eat the same amount on a strict schedule (example, every 4 hours) every day? Most likely, your answer is no. We do not eat that regimented, yet for some reason, we often expect our babies to. Also, do you and your friend eat the same amount every time? Also, no?! Everyone has slightly different needs, right? Babies are the same. The recommendations are that – a guideline to give an estimate for parents to get an idea of the possibilities, not the rule.
For bottle fed infants, I encourage you to go by your baby’s cues. When your baby turns his head away or spits out the nipple, it may be their sign that they are full. You can give them a break and burp them, then try rubbing the nipple on their lip and see if they want to eat any more. If not, then that’s the end of the meal.
Parents tend to know their baby’s and their signals well – you are interacting with your baby all the time, but due to worries and fears, you determine that you know better than your baby. Trust your baby’s instincts and innate abilities. They have them, and are there to help your little one develop into a healthy child.
If you are a parent concerned with your baby’s intake, drop me a note below. I’d love to hear from you.