When I was pregnant, I heard tons from other people about Babywise — for and against. I read the book and thought, “This sounds like a breeze!” I was eager to meet my baby, who would eat every three hours and sleep one-and-a-half hour naps all day. (And would, of course, be sleeping through the night by eight weeks.)
Everything was on schedule (he even slept through the night at five weeks!) until Jones was three months old. He started teething, and following the Babywise suggestions became almost impossible. I found myself constantly in tears, fearful that I would “ruin him” by taking him off of the schedule, frustrated and angry that he wasn’t napping like the book said he should, tired by all his cries (because he wasn’t “supposed” to be crying), not knowing what he needed and feeling trapped about feeding him when I wasn’t even sure if he was hungry. I tried to make him drop feedings, because the book said he should be eating X times per day, and he was eating more. My milk supply dropped, and let’s just say that at that point, we were both very, very unhappy. Sure, he slept through the night before he was two months, but now he had a mama who was silently brooding most of the time.
All in all, I decided that no parenting method was worth my sanity and my desire to love and parent my child. We didn’t sit down and say we were going to do things differently, but I just started telling myself that it didn’t matter — it was just a nap/feeding/cry — and they were not going to make or break his life. I realized that the main issue I was battling was the thought that his spiritual training started right now, so if I didn’t have my act together at every moment of every day, he would be disobedient and whiny when he was 5, rebellious as a teenager, and walking away from the Church when he was in his twenties. Let’s talk about weight. I felt an unholy amount of weight on my shoulders — why did it take me so long to realize that it was just a freaking nap?
There is some truth to the thought that, as parents, we must be mindful of the small things in our children’s lives, for they will some day turn into the issues they will struggle with. However, it is not my job to make sure my child is sinless and his behavior is perfect — is this what God requires of us? The truly important thing is that my child observe and understand how I react to sin — my own and others — and I pray that, in that, I would have a repentant and humble heart.
So these are my thoughts of late. I’m not so sure what I think anymore. I like the Eat/Awake/Sleep routine idea of Babywise (also from “The Baby Whisperer”), and I like the idea of sleeping through the night — but I think I must also not allow the book’s view of Attachment Parenting to make me think that people who do not do Babywise let their kids run all over them, eating/playing/sleeping whenever the heck they want to. This is just silly.
(I’m all over the place with this one, eh?)
Anyway, I welcome thoughts/opinions/frustrations. And just know that I’m not finished thinking through this yet.
8 thoughts on “Current "Babywise" Thoughts”
Jamie, Thanks for your thoughts on this one. It was so good and I can totally imagine your train of thoughts from birth to leaving the church at 20.
It’s good to hear what you are learning. I wish I had mother advice to give you but since that isn’t the case now, thanks for letting me learn from you. 🙂
When I was a young mother I read many parenting books. In my inexperience, I believed they knew what they were talking about. Several books said I should do crafts with my children. Well, when I tried to do crafts with my children I felt like screaming at them, hated the mess, and was completely stressed. Thus, I learned this lesson. Read some books, take what makes sense to you and throw out the rest. Each child is different, each mother is different. The one book you can use without hesitation is the Bible and its child rearing admonitions. The Bible coupled with your good sense will go the distance in raising your children.
Jamie, I too have something of the same experience. There would be weeks when Caleb wasn’t sleeping well and all I could do was nurse him to sleep. I thought, “Oh no, the book specifically talks about the eat, wake, sleep pattern.” I have a feeling that when Caleb starts teething, I’m going to need to come to you and get advice. You are a strong woman if you can survive raising a 5 month old with teeth! Also, I love Carol’s advice. I’m not sure if I know her or not, but she sounds like a very wise, godly woman!
God bless you, my dear Jamie! I love it that you expressed your thoughts so clearly here. And I agree with you 100%. I’ve only recently discovered all this pent-up Mommy Guilt that I allow to hang over my head. Enough with all the weight and guilt… None of us is perfect; we are just here to guide our children to the One who is.
Oh girl! I have felt much of the same. I have read the books and they worked beautifully the first three months. although the sleeping through the night hasn’t come as easily for me, and for about two weeks I dealt with a lot of angst as I felt I was doing something wrong. I have learned from many mommy friends that the books are good for direction, but you have to learn what works for you and your baby. …and it isn’t always magic.
now I find myself doing things I said I never would do (ie nursing her to sleep when she is having a meltdown from being overtired…I feel it is my fault for letting her get to that point, and if she needs help falling asleep, why not help her? especially since most of the time she is able to fall asleep without much help). I think as long as they do not become the norm, it’s fine. the books sometimes make those things sound SO horrible, even to do it on occasion.
I too like the eat/wake/sleep routine, but since she has become a snapper, sometimes it is more like eat/wake/sleep/wake/eat/sleep/wake/sleep/eat and so on.
I think the worst thing about the books are they tend to cause moms to place expectations on their babies. at least that was the case for me, and i am learning to let go of such high expectations for tabitha…and RELAX!
thanks for sharing your mommy experiences and thoughts.
Double amen to all that! Again felt like I was reading my own thoughts. I agree that there are some helpful points, but I have a 13-month-old and she has NO trouble falling asleep and staying asleep (at night :)) and I nursed her to sleep almost every night b/c she was so dang exhausted! One day, she didn’t fall asleep in my arms…no prob- she went to sleep herself, just like at naptime…anyway, I had a sweet friend who said that you have to fight the battle eventually- if you nurse ’em to sleep as babies, you’ll just deal with it later as toddlers. I totally agree and it’s not as big a deal as it may seem.
Very eloquent. I have tried so hard to explain to people that Babywise gets into parents’ heads in a different way — a much more guilt-inducing way — than most other parenting books. You’ve expressed it so well.
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