There are very few books I want to burn. As a general rule I love books. But "Babywise" is one that I would very much like to set aflame. I saw an ad on a blog, that pretty much captures it for me.
Babywise is basically a book on how to get your baby to sleep through the night and get on a schedule - "BIBLICALLY". It sounds inocuous enough. But I take issue...
1) My babies never read the book. They didn't know they were only supposed to be hungry every 4 hours and sleep through the night at 12 weeks. They got hungry when they were hungry, which was almost always around 2.5-3 hours.
Any book that makes a mom feel guilty about feeding her hungry baby is DUMB! Mom's are supposed to feed there babies when they're hungry, they're supposed to watch for cues, and get in tune with the needs of their child. It's in the definintion of motherhood somewhere, I'm sure of it.
2) Making a little baby cry herself to sleep goes against a mom's instincts and is totally impractical. Baby's are supposed to learn how to self soothe. Some are ready to learn at an earlier age than others. Crying hysterically until one is too exhausted to keep his eyes open is NOT self-soothing. In fact, (according to my crunchy sister) studies are showing that babies fall asleep to prevent BRAIN DAMAGE. Being left alone to cry is traumatic to a baby. Plus, if you've got more than one kid then the baby keeps the whole house awake. This makes for very grumpy mammas and toddlers.
3) Ezzo (the author) suggests in American Culture we need to teach our babies to be independent. Hello? They are babies. They are dependent, by nature, and by design. First, we need to know our world is safe, and secure. We need to be taught that when we cry some one will help us. Secure attachment (basically believing the world is safe, and people can be trusted) makes kids feel better about taking risks. There is a time for risk taking (and it is not infancy). But I doubt seriously, if there is every a time for independence. We are a people designed for relationship, for intamacy. That should first be modeled in the family. Independence is an American ideal, not a Biblical one.
4)Babywise also suggests babies should be kept awake to play after a feeding. Chemically speaking, that's just DUMB too! Breastmilk has tryptophan (sp) the stuff in turkey that makes us sleepy after Thanksgiving. Tryptophan is the precursor to Seretonin, the neurotransmitter that gives us a feeling of well being. I don't know about you, but if I was warm and snuggly, and my tummy was full, if my system was flooded with a chemical that made me feel good and sleepy, I'd be ready for a nap.
When my breastfed babies were very small Eddie always feet sort of helpless when I left them with him. Oh, he's a rockstar calibar dad, but he doesn't have boobs (thank the good Lord). And to a small baby, nursing brings comfort. Eddie knew this intuitively, and I think that is how God made it.
Of all the books on the planet that have been damaging to me as a mother this one tops the list. I was a youngish mom, totally insecure in my ability to parent, this book gave me a "method" to follow, and when it didn't work I felt like a failure. Only, I wasn't. I was doing it right. I was watching my baby's cues, nurturing and loving, and feeling guilty about it the whole time.
Truth is, parenting a newborn is pretty much a roll-with-the-punches ordeal. It is far more art than science. It's intuitive and relational and exhausting and not. not. not. a formula.
Our adoption training reinforced for me how DUMB this notion of infant independence is. Babies need to be held and nurtured and fed and responded to immediately. It's how they develop a sense of self and safety. Kids who don't have that end with serious issues. Serious.
Speaking of....I have a little person who needs my attention.