BabyWise stole many precious weeks from me in the beginning of my son's life. I wish I could have just loved on him without all the fear that Ezzo put into me about creating a spoiled baby.
When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I sought the advice out of women that I knew and respected who had children. My own mom died when I was 19, and I felt truly lost as I searched for the "right" way to be a mom.
One of the friends I turned to was a college friend who had four children at the time. She recommended BabyWise, so I read it and it sounded like such a logical plan.
I grew up in an Evangelical home and attended an Evangelical college, and Ezzo's admonitions against being "humanistic" in our parenting practices really resonated with me. When he contrasted the [false] paradigms of doing it his way, which would lead to a respectful, God-fearing, obedient child OR doing as those indulgent, undisciplined people who nursed their babies on demand and rocked them to sleep, which would lead to a fussy, clingy, spoiled baby who would think the world revolved around him/her, OF COURSE I said to myself, "I don't want to have the second baby! I want the first one."
I remember taking a breastfeeding class at the hospital where I was going to deliver and even thinking, as they talked to use about feeding on demand, "Oh, Ezzo said that lactation consultants would tell us things like this that simply aren't true...I need to just ignore this advice."
After we brought my beautiful, precious newborn son home from the hospital, I was so petrified that he would stop breathing in his sleep that I simply could not sleep, even though I was exhausted.
My husband, who is Haitian, immediately put our son in our bed to sleep and I freaked out and refused. He said, "But where else is a little baby supposed to sleep? How are we going to know if he's warm enough or if he needs us? Babies are supposed to sleep right next to their parents!"
I said I was too scared, and that we had to put him in the bassinet next to our bed. I had a lot of trouble getting him to nurse once my milk came on that first night home, and I had two lactation consultants come and visit in the following weeks, and I STILL remember thinking, when they gently suggested laying in bed to nurse him and feeding him on demand, that these were exactly the type of people Ezzo had warned me against.
We discovered my son had acid reflux and couldn't eat a lot at one feeding; he needed to eat smaller bits more frequently. He woke up every 90 minutes and because I was so convinced that co-sleeping was the worst thing I could do, I would nurse him, and then hold him until he fell asleep (he wouldn't fall asleep on his own, so I figured maybe holding him was the best thing to try, because Ezzo seemed to say that nursing a baby to sleep was the absolute worst thing to do.)
I remember calling one of my mom's best friends in hysterical tears one night as I sat in my rocking chair rocking him to sleep, because I was afraid I was creating a terrible habit. This dear woman told me to throw all those ridiculous book away and just rock that sweet baby to sleep, because that's what moms do for their babies, that it was normal, natural, and beautiful for me to do that. I wanted to believe her but I was still wracked with guilt that I was doing it wrong.
Those first 6 weeks are a blur of tears of frustration and anger because I could NOT get my baby on any sort of schedule, and he refused to do anything that Ezzo said he should or would. I remember distinctly one morning yelling at him (he must have been maybe 6-8 weeks old?) because he woke up 90 minutes after eating and wanted to nurse again.
Based on Ezzo's logic about being in control of naptimes, I should have just left him there to cry, because it wasn't time for him to eat again -- it was still naptime. So I tried it. I put him in his bassinet and let him cry....and thought I was going to throw up.
Praise God, my husband came home from work in the middle of all of it and said "What on earth are you doing? This is ridiculous. We are his parents. We're both right here, what does he have parents for if we're not going to go and get him when he cries?" and he pushed past me, and went and grabbed my sweet baby boy and rocked him until he was calm and gave him to me.
After that, I gave up on Babywise and just accepted that I was a failure of a mom and obviously just didn't have it in me to be a disciplined person who could get a baby on a schedule. I blamed myself for my son's sleeping and eating habits, but I knew I couldn't keep following the "schedule" Ezzo had told me would work.
Then, one night (and I really have to believe this was the Holy Spirit's prompting) I googled, "Baby sleep issues" and Dr. Sears website came up. I read and read and realized "hey! What my son is doing is not that out of the norm AT ALL."
I saw someone mention that he was a Christian in another website, and then I found Ezzo.info.....and it was literally like the scales fell from my eyes. Sitting at the kitchen table, reading all of this information about BabyWise, I had a moment of pure relief and joy. My son woke up and, for the first time in his short precious life, I didn't feel guilty about going to nurse him. I felt empowered, I felt like I was free to do what had been tugging at my heart this whole time...I could lavish him with love and cuddles and snuggle and nurse him to my heart's content and I wouldn't ruin him???
Truly, being set free from BabyWise was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. I no longer felt like a failure who just couldn't get with the program. Sleeping, mostly due to my son's acid reflux, was still tricky for us, but I stopped berating myself for it. I started wearing him in a wrap during the day and going out for walks and not worrying at all if he fell asleep in there. We started co-sleeping (he's 21 months now) and still do.
I lay down with him to go to sleep at night and he tries out all his words while falling asleep, but "mama" is his favorite. That's how my precious little toddler falls asleep: with me by his side rubbing his tummy, and saying my name. If I had listened to Ezzo, I would be missing out on all of this.
BabyWise stole many precious weeks from me in the beginning of my son's life. I wish I could have just loved on him without all the fear that Ezzo put into me about creating a spoiled baby. I am so grateful that I found out the truth about biology and how God created babies to eat and for moms and dads to nurture them; I just wish someone had warned me about BabyWise, or I had been educated enough to see it for what it was, before I had my son.