Breastfeeding: The dangerous obsession with the infant feeding interval

Cross-posted from: Emma Pickett
Originally published: 01.08.16

Breastfeeding motherWe expect teeny growing babies to be governed by this artificial notion of time. Image: Unicef UK/Morris

Somehow, somewhere, new mothers got the message that the gap between when a baby stops a breastfeed and the time they start to need another one matters a very very great deal.  24 hours a day.

It seems to matter beyond all logic and reason. They see this magic number – 90 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours – as a measure of something sacred.

And it’s crap.

There are mums sitting at home, relaxing and nesting with their gorgeous new baby. There’s a disk from a box set in the DVD player, a cup of tea on the go, a recent chat with a friend. Breastfeeding is going well.  Weight gain is fine.  Baby is content. But when baby shows hunger cues after only 40 minutes instead of the hoped for 1 hr 30 minutes, their heart sinks and they feel a sense something is fundamentally wrong. They aren’t ‘doing it right’. Their friend’s baby ‘goes longer’. Doubts creep in.

 

This article written by breastfeeding councillor Emma Pickett was published by the UNICEF for World Breastfeeding Week. You can find the full article here.

 

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