Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Parents' Perspectives: On Becoming Babywise

A recent reader commented:

I've been reading "On Becoming Babywise"--if your blog sometime would like to give a review of it I would appreciate that--and I thought it made the great point that attachment theory is often confused with "attachment parenting."

I haven’t read the book myself and as I am traveling around to graduate schools around the country right now I just don’t have enough time. I did however get a variety of opinions from people who have read the book.

Interview with Dr. Holmes, PhD, School of Family Life at BYU

Q: What is your opinion of the book On Becoming Babywise? What do you agree with in it? What do you not agree with? Would you have any concerns that you would voice to new parents about it?


A: I have friends who like the book.  However, I only got through the first few pages of it.  In the first few pages, I felt the author(s) misrepresented attachment theory principles, oversimplified the tasks of caring well for a newborn along with caring well for one’s relationship with his/her partner, and I could tell that I wasn’t going to get as much out of the book as some of my other friends did.   
I suppose I’ve learned from reading parenting books that many provide the reader with useful information, but you have to find the author with a personality similar enough to your own that you can apply the principles you read about to your life.  It’s easier to apply principles that match your general philosophies and already established routines than it is to apply principles that are grounded on assumptions that don’t seem to match your own.


Statements by Other Readers

Nicole, New Mother, Therapeutic Recreation Major at BYU
1- I thought "On Becoming Babywise" was a good book. I started using the cry it out (CIO) method they recommend with my daughter around age 2 1/2 months, and it worked like a charm. Since then she has been on a good schedule, slept at least 12 hours a night since she was 3 months, and goes down for naps and bedtime without any fight or fussing. I also found it helpful as a new mom, because I didn't know what I was doing, and it was a good guide to questions I had. I also felt like getting her on a good schedule from the beginning has helped me in keeping my sanity as a stay at home mom.

2- I agree with most of the book, it promotes a lot of good things- breastfeeding, put the baby on a good schedule, have them learn how to self soothe.

3- It has been awhile since I read the book, but I think I remember reading that they recommend letting them start to cry it out (CIO)/ self soothe right away, which seems crazy to me. I don't think I could let a helpless tiny newborn CIO so soon. My daughter did great and picked up on it in just a day or 2, and we waited until she was 10-11ish weeks, and I don't plan on starting any earlier with my next child.

Rachel, Mother of Two, BA in Modern Dance
1. I think the book "On Becoming Babywise" definitely can get heated arguments going. Some swear by it, others hate it with a passion--I don't completely hate it, but I definitely don't agree with the majority of the teachings in the book.

2. Pretty much the only thing I agree with is having your baby on a cycle. Not a SCHEDULE, but a cycle. I agree with the cycle of: eating, awake time, sleep time, eating, awake time, etc. I have many friends that work full time and this book has been very helpful for them to manage working full time and having a hard set routine for their infant to make their life less stressful. Every parent is different and every child is different. I know that for some parents this method works well for them.

3. I personally do not agree with setting up my baby to be on a schedule--I think babies start to naturally start to set their own schedule. Feeding on demand is important to me. Babies go through different growth spurts and might need to be fed more frequently than every 3 hours some of the time, and possible less at times they are not in a growth spurt--and I believe that is OK. After learning your babies' cues for hunger, it can be easy to read when your baby is hungry or when he/she is tired. I believe that by feeding on demand you create a bond and trust with your child--your child knows that when he/she is hungry you will feed him/her. I think life as a parent is more peaceful to not use the Babywise Program.

Alicia, Mother, BS in Special Education from BYU

As a Teacher by profession, it was drilled into my head "routine, routine, routine" and "kids thrive on routine." So, when I read this book, it just made sense to me. If school-age kids to adults thrive on routine, why not babies? Here is the thing, though- routines have to change to meet the kid and parent. Accommodations have to be made. As your baby grows and changes, so should your routines. The basics should stay put, but tweaking them to work for you and your baby I think is important. I am a Special ED teacher and that is how I approach education and parenting. My daughter has thrived on routines because she knows what to expect and that takes away some of the anxiety of her day. I recommend it to any Mom wanting advice- as long as they take it as guidelines and make it work for their situation.

Tara, Mother of Two

I read the book the week after my first child was born. I asked for the book since I saw my sister followed it, loved it, and recommended it. I was immediately hooked. I loved the concept right away. Having a schedule and a trained sleeping baby was my idea of heaven. As I read through the book, I found that I agreed with all of the "rules". It made sense that a baby would start relying on the breast or rocking in order for him/her to fall asleep. So in order to break that habit, you could train your baby to fall asleep on their own. I admit it was a little hard at first having to hear your baby cry and not comfort him/her right away. But after two kids and two success stories, not including all my friends/families success stories, I will continue to implement the feed, wake, sleep theory with all of my future kids and continue to recommend the book as well.

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