So, the pediatricians recommend that babies be fed on-demand for the first several weeks. My first reaction to that: Obviously. Don't we adults also expect to be fed or rather expect to eat on-demand!
And then I realized, life's facts are never so simple. Apparently, the average baby feeds every 2-4 hours (including night and day) for a couple of months and in some cases, especially where babies are exclusively breastfed, the feed could even be every 1 to 1.5 hrs (more in periods of growth spurts).
Now comes the catch, my daughter takes on-demand to a whole new level. All these IP TV providers and other service providers need to really understand from her what is truly ON DEMAND! So, her highness, started a wonderful new routine towards the end of her first week. In the night, she would ask for a feed, sip for 2-3 mins, doze off again, and then get up in 45 minutes for the next snack. With the exhaustion of delivery still hitting hard and strong, I was going crazy with this kind of feeding.
At her next pediatrician appointment, we brought this up with the doctor and she explained to us that I need to ensure the baby is wide awake for a proper active feed. So, I should always change her diaper before feeding her so that she is woken up from her slumber. Haa! I did attend my child rearing classes, you know. I was already doing that.
Next, she told me to take off her blankets and any warm clothing. That seemed simple enough.
And then, she said, if that failed too, I should strip her to her diaper, put a cold wet cloth over her skin and then begin feeding her. The only thought that crossed my mind was, "How brutal; only these Westerners can be so harsh on the poor baby" (ouch, I didn't mean to be racist, but oh, well!). With a firm resolve not to ever do it to MY child, I left the clinic.
And then night fell again. Our Madame, started her assault. Soon, she was sipping 2-3 minutes every 30 minutes. I not only looked like a zombie but felt like one too. Removing her warm clothing, didn't do any good.
As the darkness grew, so faded my strong resolve. It was 2 degrees (C) outside (inside about 20 C) - the doc's last option suddenly didn't seem so brutal. So with a guilt ridden heart, I attempted the cruelest thing ever - After she was done with her 2 min sucking, I stripped Manya to her diaper, rubbed a cold wet cloth over her (my spine shuddered and I must have apologized to her more than a 100 times).
Lo, behold, she flung her eyes open - bright and wide. Wow, I said, it worked, and then I began feeding her. What she did after that will remain as a lesson with me forever. Manya clenched her lips so tight that nothing and no one could coax her to open her mouth for the feed. She kept awake and she did not feed. Period. She got up in another 30 minutes. Fed for 2 minutes. I tried my wet cloth only once more. She refused to feed till the next 30 minutes.
And thus, I learnt two things: One, the true meaning of on-demand. And two, when you force your way through things in desperation, nothing will work the way you want :(.
Epilogue: She settled down into a lot easier schedule, soon after - a feed every two hours. I promise you it had nothing to do with my cold treatment though. She is back to hourly feeds lately, but only because of her reflux problem, which I hope resolves soon with the medication she is taking. Till then, fingers crossed (and recommendations for good under eye cream would be highly appreciated :P).