Intuition Silently Screaming
Everything seemed to be ok in the hospital. Although I had a difficult birth and was foggy, to say the least due to pain medication the first day, I was immediately enamored by my sweet girl. I faithfully nursed her every 3 hours like my schedule said, which was reinforced by the hospital staff and lactation nurses. We were sent home on day 2 and I felt pretty good, although exhausted, about motherhood and confident I was handling things well.
My confidence was shattered when the first night I could not for the life of me figure out why she cried all night long. Then the second night the same. I fed her and 3 hours later i expected to feed her again. Those were not her plans. Both nights my husband took her and she finally fell asleep on his chest. Not only was I experiencing the crazy hormonal shift that occurs after birth, I remember laying in bed weeping like I had never wept before in my life, literally crying out to God saying I cant do this..I cannot even comfort my baby. I am going to be a horrible mother. I had no idea all she probably needed was to nurse, and nurse a lot.
When my milk came in nights got better but I felt like I couldn't hold her too much because I didn't want to spoil her or for her to start manipulating the situation. At one month I decided she needed to learn to fall asleep in her crib on her own and I laid her in there. For 45 minutes she screamed. I couldn't figure out why she didn't fall asleep because in the book it is said to expect a short amount of crying but baby would eventually fall asleep. I sat in the rocker in her room, committed to this man's words, and let her scream while my insides were dying because my gut was telling me this was not right. I finally picked her up and laid down with her and thought "What does this man know about my baby anyways." She fell asleep almost immediately. She just needed her mommy's touch.
Although she did start seeping through the night at about 8 weeks naps were terrible (later I found out that her nap length and timing were normal..but not by "The Book"). Babyswise says that babies should sleep 1.5 hour naps 3 times a day. I would get so frustrated with her because she would be up 45 minutes after I laid her down. In the book Ezzo talked about how most babies stir after 45 minutes and if you let them cry they will go back to sleep for another 45 minutes...but she never did. I felt myself get angry with her many times because she didn't go back to sleep or do things by the book.
Because my daughter was hungry and waking again at 3 months I started her on solids. I did not know at 3 months most babies go through a growth spurt and naturally nurse more to increase moms supply. I took it as baby was hungry and ready for solids. Many of her calories that should have been filled with breastmilk were being filled with empty calories from rice cereal and she failed to gain weight. At my daughters 6 month well check visit she didn't gain enough weight. She only gained 12 oz from 4-6 months and her doctor recommended formula which I started without question. By not nursing enough during the day coupled with the fact she was not night nursing and receiving solids my supply took a major hit. We managed to make it to a year nursing part time...but I had to formula feed during the day. This was by far the most crushing blow to me.
Babywise Part 2
When I had my 2nd child I felt I could trust my gut more but still loosely followed Babywise. We had some nursing struggles and weight gain issues as well by 6 months for the same reasons as my daughter. My son started formula as well and was on formula full time by 10 months. This was devastating to me. I suffered from postpartum depression pretty severely with this baby and not reaching my goal of 1 year breastfeeding and the hormonal shift that happened when I stopped breastfeeding sent me even deeper into depression. I had to go on medication just to get myself out of it.
I cannot tell you how traumatizing this all is looking back on it now. I feel following the Babywise philosophy contributed to the postpartum depression I experienced after both of my older children. I really struggle with knowing that I didn't look into any other way. However they really demonize more natural/gentle parenting styles in the book. I was to indoctrinated by the book at the time I'm not even sure I would have been open to learning another way. I know I was trying to do the best for my babies but I was sorely misled. I feel like their trust in me was broken and it has taken years to rebuild the damage that was done by following the methods in this book. My son especially suffered with attachment issues and anxiety which we are still overcoming.
The Great Awakening
Thankfully, by the time i had my third and fourth children I was introduced to a more gentle parenting style and practiced listening to my intuition more than anything else. I learned how God has made moms and babies instincts to be perfectly in tune with each other to facilitate breastfeeding and bonding. It is striking the difference in the personalities of my younger children compared to my older children. My younger children are more relaxed, have greater attachment, were more effective nursers and are more loving. I attribute this to a gentler, more loving approach to parenting.
I tell my story as a warning that the Babywise philosophy is dangerous and detrimental to a baby's development, physically and emotionally. Please know that no author, no book, no philosophy is an expert in your child. YOU ARE THE EXPERT IN YOUR CHILD. If any advice you have been given does not feel right...IT IS NOT RIGHT FOR YOU! It is absolutely possible to understand your baby and read your baby's cues with a little instruction in their normal behavior.
In another post I will offer some advice to parents who are looking for guidance in reading their baby's cues and instruction in normal infant behavior.
What are your experiences with Babywise? Have you followed it? Did you become wise to it like I did?