Our first child was born in the summer of 09, and I promptly began trying to apply the Babywise method. The book had been highly recommended by a distant relative, and promised structure and sanity amidst the exhaustion and upheaval I felt as a new mother. However, our baby did not respond the way the book promised he would if we followed the schedule. All my attempts to adhere to the book led to deep frustration, arguments with my husband (who knew better than to let a book dictate our newborn's schedule), feeling like a failure, and the worst--resentment of my infant. Why couldn't he sleep and eat like the book said he should be doing? The Ezzos presented their arguments as infallible.
Our lactation specialist warned us against the book, citing the AAP and her experience. Nursing wasn't going well. Yet, I clung to the promises in the book, despite my instincts.
At 4 months, our baby found his own sleeping and eating schedule, with my support. I can honestly say that he never followed Babywise, as much as I tried to implement it. That left just one major issue--getting him to sleep and dealing with night awakenings.
My sweet husband spent many nights rocking and singing our baby to sleep, while I stressed out about the effects this was supposed to have for the future--an inability to self soothe, a dependency, right? Every time I rocked him to sleep I felt guilty. So. We decided enough was enough and we were going to let him cry it out once and for all. Get this over and done with. Babywise and the other CIO books promise that it won't last long and won't have damaging effects. So we did it. Sat out on the back patio so we wouldn't be swayed to rush to the rescue. Two hours later, we still had an hysterically sobbing baby who had vomited. I will never forget the humbling mixture of grace, shame, forgiveness, and peace I felt at that moment. God spoke to me so clearly. He said, "Why would I lead you to follow a method that creates such pain, resentment, anger, and frustration towards your baby and yourself? I gave you your instincts for a reason. You have trusted a method that runs contrary to the wisdom I have endowed you with." I rocked my baby to sleep that night, tears of apologies running over his downy head. I rocked him to sleep every night until he was nearly two and wanted a change. And I rocked him every time he woke in the middle of the night, until we were all ready to try something else. And you know what? He's a great sleeper :).
Baby brother was born in 2011 and slept in an Arm's Reach Co Sleeper as soon as we got home from the hospital. He nursed on demand and has slept in our room until the time of this writing. He too put himself on a schedule (with my support) by 4 months. He is a great sleeper and full of energy and joy. His older brother is affectionate, tender hearted, and sensitive. He also has a slight social delay and difficulty managing his emotions. I will never know if his early experience with the Babywise method contributed to this, but it affirms my decision to take a different path. I also know that God is good and His mercy and grace unfathomable.
And when I need a book to consult, I reach for my Dr. Sears collection.