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Book ReviewsBabywise
Question: My baby is 10 weeks old and some friends are suggests to me that I try to train him to sleep through the night according to the method in Gary Ezzo's book Babywise. I followed that plan for a few days, but now my baby seems miserable and cranky during the day and he sucks on his fist after a good feeding. What do you think?

Answer: Many young parents you will hear from are against Babywise and for Attachment Parenting, I am personally against both strict Babywise and strict AP.

This is what I did: I nursed my babies on demand, especially up until they were at least 6 months old. I don't make a ton of milk and if I had tried to stick to Ezzo's 2 1/2 to 3 hour nursing schedule and early sleeping through the night, I would have lost my supply far too soon. In fact, with my second child, I was lax about nursing her often because she didn't seem hungry, and at her 6 month check up, was shocked to learn that she had gained NO weight for the last 3 months. Frequent nursing does make a difference.

Unless you have an abundant milk supply, and a chubby baby who does not seem hungry and is gaining weight well, please nurse more often than Ezzo recommends. 

If your 10 week old is sucking his fist after nursing he is hungry!!!! I have had a thumb sucker, but she acted differently, she did not suck her fist right after eating. (And she was gaining well and nursed often.) Forget Ezzo and feed your baby.

About sleeping through the night: If you are sure your baby is not hungry (and is gaining well) and he is waking up 4 or 5 times a night, then I might try getting him down to waking up only once or twice a night, but if he is only waking up once or twice, let him. That's fine and normal. My 8 month old still wakes up once during the night. Most of mine did until they were well over a year old. At that point I did train some of them to sleep for longer periods if I felt it was a problem.

NOTE: I always looked at that middle of the night feeding as an easy way to keep from getting pregnant too soon after the last baby. It seems to me that that may be the way God intended it for most women. It doesn't work with everyone, but for me, as soon as I cut out that middle of the night feeding, I'd start my cycles up again and get pregnant. For many women, nursing on demand, and once or twice during the night, does work as birth control.

On co-sleeping: I felt best keeping my young babies (up to at least 6 months) in a bassinet or play pen right next to the side of by bed rather than in bed with me. I found it very easy to hear them when they woke at night, pick them up, nurse them, and put them right back to sleep. It was just too much to go stumbling down the hall to the baby room, so that only lasted a couple of days with my firstborn and that was it. Now I have a crib at the foot of my bed (because the air conditioner blows by the side of my bed) and I still get up once during the night with my 8 month old to feed him, then we both go right back to sleep, no big deal.

I don't object to "some" scheduling, but I just finished reading Babywise for the second time and although Ezzo says he does not advocate "hyperscheduling" that is exactly what he does, if you ask me. (And Sears goes overboard the other way.)

(c) Copyright 2007 L. Elizabeth Krueger.  All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.