And now for a word (ALMOST) in favor of (SOMETIMES) baby-training
I’m pretty deep into the natural birthing world. Most women in that world highly favor “attachment parenting”: baby-wearing, nursing on demand, never letting a baby “cry it out”, never trying to schedule the baby, co-sleeping, nursing for longer than a year, etc.
I will freely admit that, with each baby — I have had five — I grew closer to the “standards” of attachment parenting. However, I didn’t start that way. I know a fair number of bitter ex-schedulers who are wracked with guilt and a powerful distaste — even hatred — for baby scheduling. Yet, I don’t speak with vitriol against those who raise their babies with the “Ezzo” methods — Babywise, Growing Kids God’s Way, etc. Again, the longer I have been a mother, the more I find that I disagree with the basic stance of the Ezzos, and have found much more freedom and joy in mothering an infant, the further I “stray” from the Ezzo methods.
It has been my experience and observation that a nurturing, attentive heart is really “God’s way” and training, especially when “crying it out” is involved, goes against the God-given tug of a woman’s heart to shelter and provide for her baby.
But… here’s a comment I made on the Facebook page of an AP-proponent who was soliciting for some “balanced” reviews on a free Kindle version of a book that espouses baby-training, as all the reviews at the time of the request were four- and five-star, in favor of the book and the method. (By the way “FTT” refers to “failure to thrive”, which is one of the charges/risks leveled against scheduled babies — I have never read any hard science on that, to know if FTT is a true risk for scheduling or not — if you have some, I’d love to read it!):
One little comment (well, long comment) in almost-favor of sleep-training…
When my first was born, lo these many years ago (15), I had really ZERO support. My husband was awesome, but I had no… community, really. I was fairly new to our church (had married into it), my mother worked full-time, my MIL lived out of town, my sister was out of town, and even though I was 24, almost none of my friends had babies yet, etc. I thought my maternal instincts would kick in and I would magically know what to do and I would be able to provide that for my baby. WOW. Motherhood, instead, was completely humbling to the point of breaking my heart. I had pretty much zero maternal instincts. I could not decipher my baby’s cries. I couldn’t figure him out. On top of that, I was very ill (with what was undiagnosed celiac disease — was dx’ed about five years after my firstborn) and a tendency to depression. I had to figure out SOMETHING or I was going to lose my mind, and I’m not kidding. I ended up doing a Babywise schedule, recommended by the one mother I knew who was supportive of me and available to me. She had an infant almost exactly one year older than mine. She was (and still is) a gloriously wonderful, compassionate, kind-hearted, amazing mother and still an absolute model of beautiful motherhood to me. My idea was, “If it worked for her…” So, I did it. I honestly believe that having a schedule saved my literal sanity and helped me LEARN about my son.
THAT SAID…. I have now five children total, and with each child have gotten further and further from Babywise, et al, and can see the wisdom and blessing in attachment parenting. I’m **WAY** more AP than I was — wore my fifth, co-slept, nursed for nearly two years, only very roughly scheduled — mostly nursed on-demand, etc.
HOWEVER, I still remember how desperate I felt with the undecipherable cries of my firstborn, and how Babywise turned out to be what I needed — at the time, and given my situation. And for that reason, I will never speak out completely against it. Some moms/families need it. Moms like me, who feel very lost and alone in new motherhood, and who lack a community of help, and who desperately need some sort of framework to help them manage that first year.
And… by the way, that baby was not FTT or anywhere close to it. He was 8 lbs 13 oz at birth and was consistently in the 95th – 97th percentile for weight for his whole first year and beyond. He was **CHUBBY** with rolls on the back of his legs and dimpled hands, etc. He’s now 5’9″ and 135 lbs — skinny! And about a year ago, I actually apologized to him for his infancy… for being so stressed out and letting him CIO and training him to sleep, instead of giving him the comfort of my touch and nursing on demand. He forgave me, blessing that he is. And, honestly, HE UNDERSTOOD. Crazy. That was a weight off of my conscience!!
So, what I’m suggesting is that while I believe that CIO/scheduling should not be the GOAL, there are times/women/families who could benefit from it. On occasion.