Re: Pediatrician telling me to nurse less...reflux
Welcome to the forum!
I think your pediatrician gave you terrible advice. On-demand feeding is the gold standard for breastfed babies, including those with reflux.
First, there's nothing wrong with your baby "using you as a pacifier". The breast is the original pacifier- warm, non-toxic, attractive, and designed by nature to sponsor the development of normal dental alignment- and when a baby uses a paci what he's really doing is using a piece of silicone as a stand-in for the breast. Anyone who thinks a baby should use a silicone paci rather than nursing has things completely backwards!
Second, nursing for comfort is a positive, not a negative. Comfort nursing provides calories, keeps esophagus and stomach contents moving downwards (which is great for babies with reflux), and may help the baby regulate his heartbeat, breathing, and stress levels. All good!
Third, you cannot overfeed a breastfed baby at there at because you are not in charge of the feeding. The baby decides how much milk to take in and learns to "read" his own satiation cues, stopping the feeding when he is full. Allowing a baby to discover how to manage his own feeding may be why breastfed infants tend to have a lifetime lower risk for obesity than formula-fed, bottlefed ones.
Fourth, the normal eating pattern for a breastfed infant is one where the baby takes frequent small meals (a.k.a. snacks) and feeds at irregular intervals. A breastfed baby- particularly a young breastfed baby- will normally have spurts of cluster feeding during which he feeds very frequently.
Fifth, babies are demanding because they are babies, not because you are a responsive parent. When you respond to your baby's attempts to communicate, e.g. feeding your baby or picking him up when he cries, you are teaching him that he can trust you to meet his needs when he has them. Refusing to do this doesn't teach your baby "another way to soothe"- rather, it teaches him that he should lie quietly and conserve his calories because there is no point in trying to get his needs met.
Sixth and finally, I have never heard that reflux can be worsened by frequent feeding. Quite the contrary- small, frequent "snacks" are often better for reflux-y babies than large, infrequent "meals", as a small feeding is less likely to come back up than a large one.
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