Is it okay for baby's sitter to schedule feeds?

My baby's sitter refuses to feed my daughter "on demand." She insists that feeding every three hours is good for my daughter's digestive system, while feeding "on demand" is not. I am so worried. What if my baby is left to cry when she's hungry, because it's not the time to feed yet or if she is being force-fed even though she's not really hungry. Is it really okay to schedule feeds?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

You sound very concerned about leaving your daughter with her current babysitter. It can be very difficult to leave for work, or even to concentrate once you are there, if you are worried about your child's welfare.

It is very important that your sitter be made aware that breastmilk is digested in 1.5 to 2 hours. Because of the ease of digestibility of your milk, compared to formula, your baby should be fed on cue (when hungry) -- not by an arbitrary schedule, that has no sound physiological basis.

Your baby requires not only your milk while you are at work, but she must have her needs attended to. If your baby is being left to cry when she is hungry, or if she is force-fed when not hungry, and the sitter refuses to honor your requests, it is my opinion that it would be in your baby's (and family's) best interest to locate a new sitter. Best of luck with this difficult situation!

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