December 9, 2011

Y3W: On Becoming Babywise

In case you have not read my about me page and don't know, we are a Babywise family my friends.

My mother in law's best friend's daughter (confusing enough?) follows Babywise for her triplets who were about three months old at the time that Evie was born. She told my mother-in-law about it and since my MIL is always excited to help, she went and bought us a copy of the book when Evie was about ten days old.

I gratefully accepted the book, but laid it aside; I had already been all over the interwebz and decided we would be following The Baby Whisperer approach. I wrote out a schedule, set timers on my phone and hoped for the best. I was miserable. I hated being on maternity leave, my kid screamed for literally HOURS at a time and I was struggling with post partum depression. I hoped against hope it would work. I desperately needed some semblence of normalcy back.

It didn't work.

I saw the Babywise book and ignored it. People all over the internet told me my kid would be emotionally stunted, would fail to thrive and that this was a bad parenting method. What scared me most of all was people claiming that the book advocated letting your hungry child cry until the clock said to feed the baby.

Until one day I got pretty desperate. I was exhausted and anxious and crying. I finally got Evie to sleep in her swing and picked up the book. I soon realized that I had very mistakenly believed random people on the internet over my own common sense. If you actually take the time to read the book, Ezzo (the author) stresses about 1,000 times that NOTHING takes precedence over feeding your hungry child. NOTHING. He actually advocates for the use of parental assesment AND the clock for determining and following your schedule. This means that although you use the clock as a guide, the final determinant is your assesment of your own child.

I read it from cover to cover in about an hour.

And you know what? It. Made. Sense.

It made sense in every way to me. I loved that it talked about creating a strong marriage as a firm foundation for a family and to show children stability. I loved its approach to creating attached, caring independent adults. I also loved that so much of what was in the book followed what seemed to me to be common sense. I changed my tune, right then and there. I made up a new schedule, and vowed to give this a real shot for at least two weeks.

Evie took to Babywise like a duck to water. She was a pro right off the bat. We haven't looked back since. She loves being on a schedule and we love her being on a schedule. Her eating schedule also helped me as a new mom struggling through PPD to learn her cries. I soon began to discern the difference between hungry, wet, wants to be held, sleepy etc and as a result we had a happier household. By household I mean we had a happier baby, happier mommy and happier daddy!

Some people would accuse me of being overly obsessive about it. About ninety-percent of the time I am strict about her schedule, bedtime and wake-times. That's fine. I don't mind. As her mother I am the BIGGEST advocate in her life. Right now I have to spend 100% of my time looking out for her happiness and well-being. If that means that we have to stop a conversation with family or friends, and find a quiet place for her to eat then you'd best believe it's going to happen. If I feel like we can stay out 30 minutes later then we will. The main thing is that I can gauge her moods, and I can tell if she's hungry fifteen minutes early, or if we are in the car if we can wait the extra ten minutes. If I know the extra ten minutes before a meal or the extra twenty late to bed will stress her out then I just simply put my teeny tiny little foot down and we take care of the baby.

I love that her eating is predictable and that her naps are also predictable. It allows us to plan the weekends so that we do our stuff while she sleeps and maximize family time while she is awake.

I also chose to ignore a few things in the book, based on what I felt was right for my family. We used a pacifier for Evie, we did use a swing, and I also rocked (still do when she allows it) Evie to sleep. I felt like for our family, pacifiers were ok, the swing allowed me to you know, cook and clean and rocking Evie is just my favorite thing so I'm not giving it up anytime soon!
Babywise is hands down the best approach we could have followed. Chris and I often talk about how it is one of the very best decisions we made as parents.

I don't mention it a lot here and I don't talk about it with my friends too much. I don't want to be pushy about how wonderful we think it is and since a lot of my in-real-life mommy friends are more "free-rangish" or "attachment parenting" we don't always see eye to eye. Which is fine, because unlike some sectors of the mommy blogging world, we respect each other's decisions and each other, and we know that different things work for different families.

I had one over zealous friend tell me before we started following it that she didn't want me to read the book. That the book treated raising a child as a program for managing an inconvenience not as raising a human! That person couldn't have been more incorrect and I challenge everyone who has that mentality to read the book, because it couldn't be further from the truth.

I am so glad that we are a Babywise family and I can't wait to download and read Toddlerwise after Christmas!

Come Share Your Three Words with Jenni!