There is so much to be said in support of Baby Wise, so I thought I would zero-in on my experience as someone who has been labeled “crunchy” or “granola”. I don’t consider myself a hippie (at all!), but friends have jokingly called my husband and I hippies for several reasons… I gave birth without pain-killers and vaginally, once in a hospital, once at home in a birth tub. I breast feed. We don’t vaccinate. I make yogurt. We buy raw milk. I bake things (somebody told me I was crunchy because I make cookies. Haha!!) We let our kids run around barefoot.
We also do Baby Wise.
I am not bragging about any of our decisions, (though I do stand by them), I just want to encourage mothers who are looking into a home birth or using a midwife because you likely won’t find much support for scheduling in the natural-birth community.
Midwives (at least all the ones I know), love Attachment Parenting. Before the birth of my first daughter, a few friends recommended Baby Wise to me, and I read the book, loving the information I was reading. I felt confident about pregnancy and delivery, but caring for an infant baffled me! The book gave me a plan to follow and confidence in my own abilities. I mentioned Baby Wise to my midwife, and she told me that, “You are of course free to do what you want, but frankly, it doesn’t work. Other moms I know have tried it, and it doesn’t work. I find parts of it downright cruel.” I listened to her respectfully (she was right about so many other things), but then thought of my friends that use Baby Wise. These women are not cruel! They are loving moms, and their kids are happy, content, well-behaved, and obviously well cared for. I decided to do it anyway.
We had fantastic results. My daughter slept through the night at 8 weeks. People were amazed at my “easy baby.” The church nursery workers loved her and commented that she was the happiest baby in there. We could go on dates, knowing she would easily go to sleep when the babysitter laid her down. She rarely got sick. We took a week long trip without her at 18 months and she did fantastic for her care-givers. We have certainly had some rough patches, but she is 3 years old now, and still sleeps 11-12 hours a night.
My second daughter is now 9 months, and definitely her own little person! People like to say Baby Wise isn’t for every baby, but I think it is. I have had two very different little bundles of joy, and they have both done great with Baby Wise. And my girls are different personality-wise from the kids of other Baby Wise moms I know. They all take to Baby Wise because it uses universal principals.
Consider this: As parents, we teach our kids how to be good humans. We teach them how to say “please” and “thank you”, how to drink from a cup, how to get dressed, how to tie their shoes. No one would argue with this. Why then, do we shy away from teaching them how to sleep and eat at normal times? It’s not cruel, it’s a service to them. A gift even. And I’m a much happier mamma and productive person when I’ve had my sleep as well. That makes me a better parent in the long run. (Please know, I do not think I am a better parent than those who do not schedule! What I mean is that I know myself, and I make better parenting decisions when I an well rested versus when I’m sleep deprived.)
My heart goes out to the new mom at church, who looks tired and haggard with her 3 week-old newborn, but then still tired and haggard with her 3 month old infant. I especially feel for the crunchy mom, who has invested lots of energy into the empowering natural birth she desired. She is then told by the natural-birth community that in order to love your baby well you must sleep with him, feed on demand, wear him, and never let him cry. This is so sad to me! It’s too much pressure.
If you are a crunchy mama, and considering Baby Wise, I urge you to read the book, and I double urge you to find a friend who parents this way and pick their brain. A little support goes a long way! Of course you can love your child without scheduling them. Absolutely. But life is so much happier when you do!
I have 2 daughters, ages 3 1/2 Years and 9 Months.