A new Mom came to Debby Kearney searching for help. Something was very wrong with her new baby.
Between her first two to four months of life, she gained only two ounces. She should have put on at least two pounds, maybe even four, in that time.
A lactation consultant in private practice in Orlando, Florida, Kearney has logged thousands of hours helping breastfeeding mothers. She suggested the mother breastfeed her baby girl more frequently, common advice she'd give for a baby not gaining properly.
She was stunned when the young mother refused.
"The baby quit showing any signs of hunger. They ran this baby though every test imaginable and could not find an organic cause", Kearney said of the case about two years ago. "I think the baby showed every sign of clinical depression."
Something similar -- although not as severe -- happened again a few months later. Another mother. Another problem. Another reluctance to nurse her baby more often.
Kearney finally saw the familiar thread. All four of the women were familiar with the same religious-based parenting program. All were very concerned about their babies' feeding schedules.
They all believed that breastfeeding more frequently would result in spoiled babies that ruled the household and later, toddlers and young children who were needy and demanding. All seemed sincere parents, wanting to do what was right.
"Medically, if you look at any textbook on breastfeeding -- just pick one -- you aren't going to find one that suggests this kind of limited feeding," said Kearney, president of the Florida Lactation Consultant Association, an organization of experts on breastfeeding.