The Babywise Parent Directed Feeding Concept

The Babywise Parent Directed Feeding Concept


Baby’s do not come with owner manuals. That is what we learned when we brought our first daughter, Madison, home from the hospital. Some friends from church introduced us to On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep as a how to guide for our firstborn.

In Eph. 6:4 Paul commands fathers to bring their child up “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”.Taking the passage serious made me realize that we had to have a plan to raise our daughter and that meant starting from here first days. It is the father’s responsibility to set the tone of his house.

This book helped us to build a foundation to instruct Madison in the ways of the Lord.

I will admit I am not a doctor and only have our first daughter as proof that the Babywise Parent Directed Feeding Concept worked for her. If you are like us and are looking for a way to create a schedule to get your child to eat and sleep, well this post will help you out.

I suggest you get the book On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam MD. It has been a great help to our family with our first daughter and we are in the process of applying it to our second daughter Bailey.

In this post all we aim to do is find out what the Babywise Parent Directed Feeding Concept is and  how to implement it. Easy right?

Babywise Parent Directed Feeding

“Parent Directed Feeding or PDF is an infant-management strategy that helps mothers to connect with their babies and babies to connect with everyone in the family.”  On Becoming Babywise

The purpose and goal of PDF is optimal sleep. Your child can not gain optimal sleep without good naps and established nighttime sleep. To get this result one must supply the baby with consistent feedings. So consistent feedings and naps equals nighttime sleep for your baby. Does that make sense to you?

PDF simple means that the parent directs the feeding times. You will use your own judgement and a schedule to feed your child. Sound easy so far?

How to Apply the Babywise PDF Concept

There are two basic feeding concepts: Child-Led Feeding and Clock Feeding. With the Babywise PDF concept you combine the two and use your best judgement to implement it. Let’s first look at both concepts quickly and then merge them together so you get the idea. Ok?

Child-Led Feeding

Child-Led Feeding means exactly what it sounds like. Your child tells you when it is time to eat. Therefore your child is in control. Hunger cues, such as sucking sounds, hands moving to the mouth, and slight whimpering or crying, will let you know the child needs to eat.

There is no constant here. A feeding cycle could be 1 hour, then 20 min. later, followed by 4 hours and then another 30 min. In this concept you submit to the hunger cues which can be very inconsistent. Do you want to start your relationship with your child in submission to him or her?

Clock Feeding 

The other concept is Clock Feeding. In Clock Feeding the clock determines when and your baby is fed. In this theory feeding times are very predictable and consistent. The clock will think for you and for your baby. Here you are submissive to the clock. Do you want to always live submissive to a clock with no true understanding of your child?

Babywise PDF Concept

In the PDF approach you feed your baby when he or she is hungry, but you also use a schedule so that you are not feeding your baby to often, like every hour, or to little, like every 4-5 hours. Do you see the idea?

Your baby’s hunger cues and the constant of the clock will direct you at each feeding. You use both systems and your judgement to feed your child! Here you are in control at all times. With this concept you ensure your baby gets fed sufficiently and you use the constant of the schedule.

You use both systems as companions to each other not against each other.

Hunger Cue + Clock (Schedule) + Your Judgement = Feeding Your Baby

On Becoming Babywise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep  suggest you feed your baby every 2 1/2 to 3 hours but if you see signs of hunger cues before the next 3 hours is up go ahead and feed him or her.

 In Conclusion

To raise a child up in the ways of the Lord, means to live intentional lives. It means as parents you and I must have discipline and instructions for our children. On Becoming Babywise will help you set the tone in the first days of your child’s life.

In this post we looked at what Babywise Parent Directed Feeding is and how it marries both the child-led feeding and clock feeding theories together. This trains you to assess  and meet your baby’s needs. I pray that you get a clear understanding of what the Babywise Parent Directed Feeding concept is.




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  • TulipGirl

    I know you really love your little ones and want to raise them in a home that is filled with love and reflects the truth of the Gospel as revealed in the Bible.

    I’m relieved that BW has been a good “fit” for your daughters. Please be very careful, however. Especially be discerning with the materials published for Christian audiences and older children. There are some serious Biblical and theological concerns. Go slowly, with an open Bible.

    (If you are unfamiliar with the concerns, please read — with an open Bible — here: )

    Grace and peace,

    • Britt

      Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your concern. We applied the principles of Babywise with Madison and it worked just fine. I do not endorse books that I do not read and use myself so you will not find any of their other material here.

      We can not go anywhere without some one saying how good Madison is.

      As far as training my children in the Lord I will use the bible for that and not a book. I have read Babywise and am starting Toddlerwise. I find no contradiction between them and scripture so far.

      This post will be in a series of post that use the basic principles of Babywise that my wife and I have found to work and if they help other parents out praise the Lord.

    • Britt

      By the way there is an issue with your homepage. You might want to check that. This is the error.

      Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_IF in /home/tulip/public_html/index.php on line 21

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