I’ve been composing this for a little while now. Trying to keep it from being a rant.
I didn’t realize BabyWise was so polarizing until I read some reviews of the book. People seem to either love it or hate it. It is either the best thing since sliced bread or paramount to child abuse. Most of the criticism (especially listed here) talks about dehydration and the infants failure to thrive, obviously very serious issues. My problem with that is more with the parents, not the book. It is a book, a guideline. It is not law. No one is forcing you to follow it and no baby fits a book 100%. Where’s the common sense? Where’s the maternal instinct that says ‘my baby is hungry, f** the book, I will feed her’?
I first read the book when I was pregnant. There were sections I read but that didn’t stick with me. I remember times in the first few weeks when she would cry earlier than the 2.5 - 3 hour schedule. After checking her diaper and trying to soothe her I would get ready to feed her. My husband questioned my actions but I did it anyway, my baby was hungry. After feeding her, I went back to the book and re-read the sections that described the feeding schedule for the first few weeks. Suddenly it popped out at me: “if your baby is hungry, feed her”. Over and over and over, like a refrain through the multiple chapters. “If your baby is hungry, feed her. Then figure out why she was hungry early.” They even state it twice in one paragraph in the ‘Problem Solving’ chapter.
There was also a section on jaundice that I don’t remember reading that said a jaundiced baby will need to eat more often, 2 - 2.5 hour intervals rather than 2.5 - 3 hours. Cora had jaundice and her bilirubin numbers didn’t even out until she was over one week old. It wasn’t information that stuck out to me until I needed it. After re-reading parts of the book I felt much more prepared and able to handle at least this one aspect of motherhood.
BabyWise is good advice. But it is just that, advice. Take it with a grain of salt. You don’t take the grandma at the grocery store’s advice as if it’s law (or at least you shouldn’t), don’t take this as law either. I have found it to be valuable advice, especially early on, but I also find myself moving off from it now. According to the book I should be stretching Cora’s feedings to be 4 hours apart. I’ve been trying for a few weeks now to adjust her schedule but it has been much harder. She’s more fussy and has woken up from naps early, and hungry.
I’ve tried to figure out why and the conclusion I’ve come to is that her metabolism is higher. My husband’s is, so it fits. She’s a petite baby who’s never ‘packed on the pounds’ as some babies seem to, though her growth has been consistent. So, after taking into consideration the advice in the book, I’ve made the decision as a parent to not follow the book to the letter.
One of the most helpful parenting/feeding advice came from a different book that I also recommend: Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg. She said “start as you mean to go on”. In other words don’t do anything now you don’t want to be doing when the child is 4 years old (like allowing them to sleep in your bed) and do start doing the things you want them to do when they are 4 years old (like eating at allotted meal times and taking naps). Looking at my decisions in the light of this advice has made it easier.
And yet I have only scratched the surface. I have so much more to learn.