On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep

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3 Responses to On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep

  1. Christine Van Tassel "luxcursor" says:
    65 of 79 people found the following review helpful:
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Read it cover to cover, applied it, and sorry for it, February 1, 2009
    By 
    Christine Van Tassel “luxcursor” (Philadelphia) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    There’s already been a lot of feedback written about this book, so I will try to keep this brief. It was given to me by 2 different families who have wonderful, well-adjusted children, so I read it and very much took it to heart. I enthusastically recommended it to people even before I delivered because it sounded so wonderfully ideal for baby and parents.

    Unfortunately, after much time exercising the advice with my daughter my circumstances forced me to face that it wasn’t working for us. In fact, I believe that applying these principles greatly contributed to my difficulties nursing and my daughter’s failure to thrive. (She lost weight the first 6 weeks and it took a few months to regain to her birth weight. Interestingly enough, the author even attributes his method to resolving this same issue in a demand-fed failure-to-thrive infant in one of the chapters! That’s why I had a hard time just giving up his methods.)

    (I think the author relies on his/his wife’s experience too heavily and attempts to apply this to all mothers. The fact of the matter is, all women are different with regard to lactation and all babies are different in their skill/efficiency in stimulating lactation. I’m glad they did not have these issues. It’s emotionally taxing and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.)

    It took several months for me to completely abandon most if not all of the advice here and for our feeding and sleeping to find a healthy pattern for us. My daughter didn’t sleep “through the night” for a very long time, but my priority had to become to feed her and see her grow. In fact very early on (10 months) I discovered that she awoke at night because she had to relieve herself. Understanding this made potty training incredibly efficient and we achieved some success with it very early. Now at age 2 she will wake some nights to use the bathroom and get back into bed. I don’t mind the brief interruption to sleep. She’s never had problems wetting the bed. I wonder if I had been so focused on uninterrupted sleep if I’d have noticed this pattern and been able to take advantage of it to teach her what that “sensation” is.

    Ultimately I will admit that after fighting an uphill battle trying to apply the counsel here I reluctantly fell into a style more like that of the “demand-feeding, attachment parent” that the author criticizes continually throughout the book. I’m proud of that fact now. To become what I resisted for the good of my daughter and my family just shows me how empowering motherhood is and that my priorities can be right on the mark.

    My daughter is as intelligent and well adjusted as the children I hoped/tried to model when I eagerly awaited the opportunity to apply the advice in this book. I guess there are several ways to be a good parent and this book is not necessarily a “silver bullet” for all readers. I’m glad it worked for them, but I respectfully disagree that this is the one and only way to be “Baby Wise”.

    I’m pregnant again and due in 3 weeks. This time I’m doing things very differently. Just for starters…I threw this book away.

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  2. Susan B. Kohanek "cook123" says:
    89 of 101 people found the following review helpful:
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Somewhat Helpful But Too Controlling, June 5, 2008
    By 
    Susan B. Kohanek “cook123” (Georgia) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep (Paperback)

    I am a first-time mom of a now 6 month old baby, and I have read SEVERAL books including the No-Cry Sleep Solution, Baby Wise, The Happiest Baby on the Block, a wonderful little book called N.A.P.S., and parts of Ferber’s book. Baby Wise was recommended to me by 3 very good friends. I read the book before my child was born and was ready to put him on a schedule at 3 weeks of age. That was my first mistake. I have come to realize over the past few months that it’s easy to say that every baby is different, but the truth of the matter is that no one program could possibly work for every child. If it could, then there wouldn’t be so many books and theories out there.

    Baby Wise did not work for me. And yet without it, my son slept through the night at 2 months of age. I think I’m just lucky. I don’t believe it’s necessarily because of anything special that my husband and I did. I do think it might have had something to do with The Happiest Baby on the Block because that book led us to swaddle our baby which lengthened his nighttime sleep and naps dramatically. And yet we dropped swaddling at night at 2 months of age.

    Here’s my main issue with Baby Wise. It states ideas like “Mom, not baby, decides when the nap begins and when the nap ends.” There’s also a similar statement about Mom deciding how much comes out of the bottle, not the baby. At the time I didn’t think much of it. Now when I think about those statements, it makes it sound like a power struggle between a parent and a baby. An infant does not have an agenda. He or she is not trying to manipulate the parents. That comes later. :-)

    I was talking to a friend whose baby is due in 2 months. I told her that what I had truly learned in the past 6 months is that no one technique works for every baby and that what works for my baby one day may not work for him the next. I also told her that it is easier for me to adapt to my son than for him to adapt to me. And that part is tough because he doesn’t nap well. And I’ve left him to cry, thinking I would try that idea that Mom decides when the nap ends. Whatever. I don’t want my son sleeping from exhaustion due to screaming his head off for an hour or more. That’s not Baby Kind.

    The irony here is that I am very much a control freak. And this book is too controlling for me. It’s too much, and I think it expects too much out of an innocent, helpless baby who has no agenda or the ability to manipulate. And guess what? He’s a really happy baby, laughing and talking and still sleeping 11 hours at night. I hope every night that it lasts, but I imagine that one night soon, he might wake up. And I’ll go to him because I’ll know he needs me.

    All of this said, I only have the one child. A routine and schedule is more than likely more necessary if you have more than one child. So I can see why friends recommended it. But to expect this rigid routine from a baby whose nervous system is still maturing is just expecting too much. Let your baby be a baby, and enjoy him or her through every stage, no matter how trying.

    Bottom line…this book expects too much of a baby. There is a lesser-known book called N.A.P.S. that got me through a trying period of short naps, and like I said earlier, The Happiest Baby on the Block got me through the early weeks due to the swaddling. I also really love the theory that Karp promotes of the 1st 3 months of life basically being the 4th trimester. I think that’s what he calls it anyway.

    So you see, 2 books helped me along the way,and I’m sure I’ll read more as the need arises. Just be realistic if you buy this book and expect your baby to be a baby, not a miniature adult.

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  3. New mom says:
    276 of 318 people found the following review helpful:
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Didn’t work for us, September 18, 2007
    By 
    New mom

    This review is from: On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep (Paperback)

    I would like to respond to the reviewers that suggest those of us who disliked babywise didn’t read it, or didn’t apply its principles properly. I read, re-read and highlighted the book after a friend of mine recommended it. And for a solid month I faithfully attempted to place my newborn on the babywise schedule, but it just did not work for my son. For example, my son often awoke earlier from his nap than the schedule would allow. Sometimes he would wake crying, sometimes happy. If he was crying, I would allow him to cry because the book suggests if your baby awakes crying he did not get enough sleep. But, he never fell back asleep. So then I would feed him only to find he was starving. But how was I to know he was hungry…babwise never once discusses reading your baby’s cues, only “mom, not baby, decides when nap begins, and mom, not baby, decides when nap ends.” If he woke happy, then I really was in a bind. He would play awake in his crib (even if I didn’t go to him) so now he was having activity before eating (a babywise no-no). But if I fed him, he would be fed before 2 ½ hours (another babywise no-no). I tried putting him to bed for naps earlier, because the book states that if your child awakes early he probably was overtired and needed less activity, but my son would still awake after 45-60 minutes. I was constantly stressed out.

    After one month on babywise, my son was still not back to his birth weight. I quit using the system and my son started rapidly gaining weight. We both became happier. I can’t say I disagree with the overall concepts of the book…promoting full feedings instead of snacking, frequent daytime feedings to help baby distinguish day from night, teaching a baby to fall asleep on his/her own, and the importance of sleep to both a baby and his/her parents. I just disagree with the presentation. Babywise assumes all babies fit into its schedule, and in truth, they just don’t.

    This is obviously a very controversial book. I do not think you have to have an MD/PhD after your name to know something about raising a baby, but the fact that the author has absolutely no medical/childcare background concerns me, especially when the concepts are so radically different from what most pediatricians/child psychologists recommend. Just because something works (i.e. gets you baby to sleep through the night), doesn’t make it the best thing for your child.

    As a side note, I never co-slept or wore my baby in a sling all day long (though I feel if this works for you and your baby then great…this just isn’t my style of parenting). I definitely feel babies need parental guidance, but I think parents must take their baby’s temperaments into account. Once I started reading other books, I learned how to better read my babies cues, and I no longer had to fight him to sleep, eat or stay awake. I used a combination of several other books (No Cry Sleep Solution, Sleep Lady’s Gentle Guide and Baby Whisperer) and am happy to report I have a 9 month old who sleeps 11 hours per night and takes 2 good naps a day…oh and has been sleeping 10 hrs/night since 3 months of age. He is an absolute joy and everywhere I take him people comment on how happy and content he is…in church, restaurants and shopping. It can be done without babywise!

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