Check out this article on the perils of trying to parent according to arbitrary, deterministic schedules rather than the natural and organic needs of one’s baby (h/t The Thinking Housewife):
By feeding on a schedule mothers risk again a diagnosis of failure to thrive: baby does not get enough milk, moms milk supply drops, baby stops gaining weight. Sadly I have seen this situation occur more than once. Most mothers catch the fact that their baby is hungry before failure to thrive is diagnosed. They supplement with formula and eventually give up on breastfeeding altogether. They don’t make the connection between the schedule and their lowered milk supply. These mothers blame their body, “I just couldn’t make enough milk.” I hear this statement nearly every time I go out and interact with other mothers.
The effect on the mother of the interrupted breastfeeding relationship that often accompanies cry it out is depression. Gordon Gallup and associates found a higher incidence of depression in mothers who bottle fed when compared with mother’s who breastfed. This makes sense when you consider the hormones released in the mother each time she brings baby to breast, hormones that promote bonding and feelings of love for her baby. In the absence of the release of these hormones via breastfeeding, the mother may experience depression.
And worse! Read the whole thing.
I admit I’ve had babies on the mind lately. I’m past the age where I should’ve started having them. And I’ve often wondered if I’d be a good father. My own father was largely absent from our lives, spotted at dinner time only; I actually grew up thinking he lived somewhere else (that fathers in general lived apart from their families), so I didn’t have much in the way of a role model.
Nonetheless, there’s something reassuring in applying the basic principles of natural law ethics to parenting, namely that what is good for us is ordained in our natures and expressed organically through it. A crying baby needs something — even if that something is just you. It makes me think any schmuck can be a good dad, if only he obeys “the body’s promise” and “the mind’s amen.”