I definitely stand by my assertion that BabyWise is a wonderful program. But, like everything else in life, you have to use it with your mind engaged. There will be times when you deviate from the “norm” of the BabyWise routine. In fact, BabyWise explicitly states that in its pages. If you are a person who is not capable of using your brain, then I can definitely understand how you could get in trouble trying to follow ANY explicitly laid-out formula.
I believe there are basically two things you “have to do” in order to follow the BabyWise plan and the rest is negotiable. First, don’t let your baby snack all the time – make sure s/he gets a good full meal and then has a break before the next meal. Sometimes, when your baby goes through a growth spurt, the meals will be more frequent (i.e., two hours instead of three). And, guess what (?), Ezzo says that in his book. This seems to be a commonsense approach – it helps to regulate baby’s metabolism and establish healthy eating habits for later on. Plus, it allows baby to get the hind-milk which is richer in nutrients.
One more note on this – healthy babies shouldn’t be hungry less than two hours from the last feeding if they are getting “full meals.” My opinion is that moms who demand-feed tend to offer the breast a lot more frequently when their baby cries and this is often not the solution the baby needs. I feel like BabyWise has given me the confidence to stop and think about WHY my baby might be crying without simply offering the breast as a soothing device each time she starts to cry. Thus, I think that BabyWise has helped me to better meet the needs of my child. Also, it’s made Kevin and I a better “team” in problem-solving to help our baby. He has taken a proactive role in helping me to figure out what’s wrong when otherwise it would be easy for me to offer the breast each time (if I were demand-feeding) and leave him out of the loop.
The second principle of “Basic BabyWise” is to make sure your baby has an “awake time,” after each daytime feeding, before taking his/her nap. This allows baby to learn to fall asleep on his/her own without getting used to always falling asleep on the breast or being rocked to sleep. Again, I think this is commonsense. It also allows for your baby to be awake when s/he has a full belly and is more content. And, apparently, it helps baby to learn to sleep through the night when s/he is put straight to bed with no awake time. (Meredith’s sleeping five hours at night right now … still waiting for the day when it’s eight!)
That’s BabyWise in a nutshell.
As far as holding and cuddling with your baby, I just don’t understand how people can allege that Ezzo is “against” holding and cuddling with infants. Meredith and I have a lot of cuddle and play time throughout the day when she is having her “awake time.” Yes, there are many times when I rock her to sleep or even take a nap with her. But, that’s not the normal routine so that it becomes a pattern that she expects and is hard to break later on. Tracy Hogg (author of the excellent book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, which echoes many of Ezzo’s BabyWise philosophies – she calls it “E.A.S.Y.,” Eat/Awake/Sleep/You) states: “Start as you mean to go on.” It may be fun to rock your baby to sleep every time s/he takes a nap (and you should rock your baby to sleep now and then), but you won’t think it’s so fun when your baby demands that this be done in order for him/her to fall asleep and then wakes up and you’re forced to repeat the process. It’s healthier (can anyone argue with this?) for a baby to learn to fall asleep on his/her own. It also gives mom a break so she can tend to her other children and other obligations, etc.
I didn’t decide to blindly follow Ezzo’s teachings on baby routines. I read a lot before Meredith was born from both sides of the aisle. (Dr. Sears is basically polar-opposite to Ezzo, if anyone is interested in reading about the other point of view. He adheres to both demand-feeding and “family bed” ideologies.) BabyWise made sense to me. A friend of mine who is expecting her first child in February recently asked me about BabyWise. I replied: “Read it. If you decide you don’t want to use the concepts in it, that’s fine. You’re the parent and you have to make that call. But, at the very least … read it.”