Sunday, March 20, 2011

More on Babywise.

Since I'm FB free for Lent, would y'all click on over and comment here, instead of leaving your comments on the auto-post on Facebook? Pretty please?

I want to start off by thanking all of you for commenting on my last post about Babywise. It did my heart good to see a bunch of women, who may or may not all have the same opinion of this highly controversial book, all voicing those opinions with grace, composure and politeness. I'll tell you what, there's not enough of that on the internet today, that's for sure.

Secondly, I want to point out that I know the children of a majority of the women who are commenting and all of them, while sinners like all of us, are for the most part agreeable, pleasant, obedient, intelligent and well-adjusted. They are not whiny, clingy, needy and over-sensitive; nor are they cold, joyless and insecure. Therefore, I have to conclude that the issue that we're all discussing is What Worked For Me, and not What Is Right, in any moral sense. I strongly disagree with Mr Ezzo's claim that a particular feeding pattern produces more sinful children in any way.

So, having said that, I have to say also, Babywise is not working for us. I tell you, I was definitely at the point of trying anything to get James sleeping through the night. He was nursing about every two hours during the day-- except when we were out and about, when he'd easily wait up to four hours without falling apart. His nap schedule at the time consisted of three fairly predictable naps-- one or two hours each-- for which he went into bed happily, awake and freshly fed, and fell asleep with no crying at all. Same at bedtime. He would then sleep solidly from 7:00 or 7:30 till after midnight. Between midnight and 7:00 am he'd wake three or four times. Maybe only two, but usually more. This got to be a drag. Literally, a drag. As in, drag my hiney around the house all day with my eyelids propped up on toothpicks.

So with all the strong recommendations, I decided to give Babywise the ol' college try. The main difference between Ezzo'z plan and what we were already doing was the eat-play-nap thing and a four-hour nursing schedule. So I made it my goal to work on those two things.

As an aside, one thing I dislike about the book (which has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the method) is that Mr Ezzo virtually guarantees that if you follow his method, your child WILL sleep through the night. No ifs, ands or buts. This claim seems a little disingenuous to me.

We jumped in and began to make some changes. I put him down for naps without nursing, I offered the breast when he woke each time. And all hell broke loose. Well, I mean that in a metaphorical sense. What has actually happened is that over the course of our experiment, Jamie has gradually quit nursing during the day pretty much altogether. At the worst (which was about two days ago) he only had ONE feeding in the entire day that lasted longer than a minute. He was just too interested in things going on around him, and since we weren't even trying to nurse when he was calm and sleepy (right before bed), he just wasn't interested in nursing at all.

Now, James is a twenty-pound chunk-of-a-monkey, so you might imagine what happened to counter-balance this hunger strike. Why yes! How did you guess? He simply ate at night. His early night-time five or six hour chunk of sleep is now broken up into two more feedings, which brings the night's grand total to FIVE. Yes. He goes to sleep at 7 or 7:30 and now wakes to nurse FIVE or SIX times before morning. He didn't nurse this much at night as a newborn.

Lauren, I thought of you. Didn't Chloe do this to you for a while?

Yesterday, in tears over another half day of no nursing, I threw in the towel. I began offering the breast before and after naps. Today went a little better. He got three or four good feeds in. He's in bed now, going on two hours and my fingers are crossed...

So. While I have no doubt that manymany women implement the strategies in Babywise and have great success, it was a consummate failure for us.

I do still plan to address some of the other things about the book itself (not the method) that rubbed me the wrong way... maybe in a day or two.

Update: James just woke up- two hours to the minute since going down, but I was able to replace the binky, pat him a little and he went back to sleep.


Becky said...

I've never read anything by Ezzo but I know my parent's did an Entire Bible study with some families from church on his book Growing Kids God's Way. I like to think we turned out well and my family still holds solid on the fact that principles from his book played a drastic role in how we were raised - and for the better. Some of our favorite families from church (speaking specifically to their children) raised their kids on his principles.

I say this not because I am bothered it isn't working for you - everyone must choose their own methods - but because the parents we know that read that book by Ezzo ended up with some of the most mature and healthy kids we know. At the same time, they were not reading his book about infants. They were focused on the child phase. Your situation certainly sounds miserable!

I guess I am saying this because while you may abandon his thoughts on raising and infant, he might suit your needs in regards to raising kids. Just a thought. (I know I am being awfully opinionated for someone who doesn't have kids but I have spent countless hours with children as a babysitter so I have developed opinions based on that.) :)

Good luck with getting back to a good night's sleep!

Herb of Grace said...

Ah, Becky, glad you brought this up. I should clarify that, as I mentioned in my first post, I do actually agree with much of his theory on families and child-rearing, just not his specific feeding and scheduling recommendations. So, when I say "Babywise does not work for us", I mean, his methods for getting your child to sleep through the night don't work for us :)

jennbrooke said...

Had a huge comment typed out and then it got lost. Maybe that's God's way of saying it was too long. LOL

My gist is we each have to use our God-given instincts. Apart from the Bible, no one "expert" has THE answer for all kids. Anyone claiming to is usually trying to sell books. I think I agree with Elisa when she says that the problem with Ezzo is not the advice, but the claims that are attached. That this is the (meaning only) godly, Biblical way to raise confident, godly children, and that it will work for all kids. It's just not true.

We tried Ezzo with our first, and it just flat out didn't work. At my husband's urging we ditched it, and did co-sleeping (for the first 7-9 months) and nursing on demand. That is what worked with our kids. For others, a strict 3 hour schedule may work beautifully, but it's NOT because it's THE godly way to raise a baby. It's because it worked for that particular child's temperament and sleep patterns.

I really feel sad when I think of how many parents may try to force the issue, thinking they're failing their child or their marriage if they don't do it that way. I'm thankful every day for a husband that urged me to follow my instincts, and figure out what worked for our kids, especially when the second one had heart issues early on that required her to feed round the clock.

With anything take all advice (even mine) with a grain of salt, pray, talk with your spouse, and then follow your God-given instincts.

Jordana said...

I almost always nurse my babies to sleep until they stop needing/demanding it, and eventually they always do. When I get desperate to get them sleeping longer at night, as I always eventually do, I tend to have to move them where they aren't sleeping in my room any more and then let them cry a bit. Not crying for hours or anything, but also not rushing in when they start crying.

It is by no means a perfect method nor am I an expert on getting kids to sleep well, but they all eventually seem to.

Good luck.

Herb of Grace said...

Jordana, you've pretty much described our exact routine :) Only this time I got desperate and there was no other room into which to move the baby. Hence the sleepless angst.

jennbrooke, thanks for that comment. I agree with pretty much everything you said. Glad you brought up the importance of listening to your husband's leading on the issue, too.

Mandy said...

Hello all,

I just have to respond to these posts and comments. Personally, my husband and I never fully read through Babywise. The best book that we found on sleep habits for infants was Dr. Weissbluth's "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." I have friends who swear by Babywise. However, I also have a dear friend who is also our pediatric nurse. She said that pediatricians have discussed having the book withdrawn from shelves, because they have seen too many infants fail to thrive due to parents following the strategies too exactly. Like all books on parenting, there are good things and bad things, but the reader needs to discern what it most appropriate for their situation.

Mom to 17-month-old b/g twins

Seth and Karen's blog said...

Again, I just want to send my sympathy your way. Lack of sleep and (even worse) broken up sleep really takes a toll on your body and emotions! I am always amazed at how I feel after an uninterrupted night's sleep even if it was not as long. I really, really hope and pray Jamie eases into a better sleeping pattern for both your sakes.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts on Babywise and must say that I see an underlying theme in everyone's outlook, which I heartily appreciate. I think we all realize different methods work for different families and even different children within the family. We all advocate listening to our intuitions, husband's advice and God's leading. It's such a refreshing blessing to see so many mothers not be dogmatic about what has worked for them, but graciously give advice and leave it in your very capable hands what to do best.

I wanted to share that it was much more difficult trying to get a baby who is not used to the Babywise scheduling into it, than it is starting out with a newborn. I tried with Shiona at 9 months - utter failure, but then again, I am such a wimp at letting babies cry it out and since she was old enough to realize this was not the way things were "supposed" to go, it was an awful and I went a different route. I started Michael out as a newborn and he was a dream, but he also has a very happy, easy-going personality, so he may have been an excellent sleeper anyway. In truth, nothing changed in my parenting or even nursing philosophy, except implementing the wake-eat-play-nap instead of my normal wake-eat-play-eat-nap. (yes, I'd offer both before and after naps.) I didn't follow the hour schedule too much and just used it as a guideline and followed baby's cues. I truly think the key to Babywise working is not allowing your baby to nurse before sleeptime. That way baby learns to fall asleep with no assistance. Usually, depending on their age, stage, personality, they will need something to help them whether it's white noise, pacifier, swaddling, etc. Once a baby learns to fall asleep by themselves, the next step would be letting them learn to go back to sleep by themselves. I usually try to eliminate one waking at a time rather than the whole slew of them. Sometimes when there are multiple wakings and you begin to let them put themselves back to sleep, they eliminate a couple by themselves. (I've had one baby consistantly get up 5 times during the night and it wasn't fun.)

I also wonder if there is something safe you can take that might get to him through your breastmilk that might aid in his sleeping. I don't know if something like melatonin or valerian is ok or safe, but you might want to research and see if it helps. Just a thought.

I feel like there isnt anything I can say that would help, so I just want to encourage you that I will keep you in my prayers and I know this will get all ironed out eventually. God bless and hugs your way. :)


Herb of Grace said...

Thank you, Karen and Mandy, for joining in :)

Mandy, we LOVED Dr Weissbluth! We've had such success with his recommendations with Sofi and Judah both.

Karen, thanks for the sympathy and, as you can see in my update post, we have begun to have some success eliminating a couple of those early night feedings. Please God the rest will follow soon! :)

Jenny said...

Honey, I am so sorry you're going through this - and having the other 2 kids just makes it a bit unfathomable to me! Evie was a great sleeper - from 10-2am and from 9-2pm. (with another stretch in the afternoon sometime). We didn't get back to church for 3 months after she was born! BUT...she was a fabulous sleeper - very scheduled, just not the RIGHT schedule. It wasn't great, but it was OK because I didn't have any other kids. I don't know what I would have done if I had! When she hit about 3 mths, she started sleeping through the nights just great. Then my folks visited and mom just had to check on the baby all the time and I ended up having to move her back into the bassinet in our room which just messed her all up again. It took me probably another 2 months to get her back on schedule and sleeping through the nights. She was always a comfort nurser (not a hearty sucker) and I had supply issues like crazy (not sure if that was because of her lack of suction, or just my problem, as even with a pump I never got a lot). SO, the schedule was maintained with her falling asleep on the breast most of the time and then nursing pretty much anytime she wanted - at least every 3-4 hours. Here, in the hospital, they have lac consultants and they are FABULOUS! They totally push the nursing on demand thing and I totally agree. Again, if I had other kids, I might feel differently, but with one it worked great! Just meant I slept on the couch most nights with her, but hey, whatever!

Guess I'm not much help, but sometimes ya just gotta do what the baby demands. You can't spoil a kid who is too young to understand that he's getting more than he deserves;)