Moms Who Want Smarter Babies May Need to Rethink Their Feeding Schedule

If getting your baby on a good feeding schedule is stressing you out, don't worry, because you definitely aren't alone. Plenty of moms (myself included) have caught themselves checking their watches over and over again to make sure that their babies don't go more than a certain number of hours between feedings. Doesn't it get kind of exhausting sometimes?

It can be so tough to judge how often you are supposed to feed them to make sure they're getting the nutrition they need, not to mention keeping their little bellies full so they are happy. Of course, some moms eventually give up on the whole feeding schedule thing and let their babies determine how frequently they eat. And they may be on to something with their go-with-the-flow attitude. New research suggests that babies who are fed on demand may have a higher IQ down the road.

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Kids at ages 5, 7, 8, 11 & 14 were IQ tested in Britain, and the results showed that those who were either breastfed or bottle fed on demand as babies scored four to five points higher. That's not a super-huge gap, but it does sound like good news for moms who've really had it with the whole feeding on a schedule thing.

I can remember keeping a little feeding journal when my son was a baby. I would frantically scribble down the times he had eaten so I could refer back to them and make sure that he was eating every few hours, right on cue. But then there seemed to be times where he was hungry in between feedings, or when he didn't seem interested in eating right at his scheduled time. There were days where I just couldn't get it right.

But I was always worried that the world would come to an end if I deviated from his schedule in the slightest way. (You know -- because of the whole new mom jitters thing.) Geez. Where was this study six years ago? I probably would've been a lot less worried and stressed out as a new mom if I'd heard that being flexible when it came to a feeding schedule was potentially a very good thing.

Do you let your baby feed on demand, or do you feed on a strict schedule?

 

Image via ripkas/Flickr

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