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Comments

Holly

I of course, second Moxie. You are going to get so much advice from people! UGHHH! Our son is nearly a year old now. Whenever my husband finds out someone is expecting, he tells them, "Everybody is going to give you advice. Ignore it. Just do what feels best and don't worry about what anyone else thinks." Ha! I really didn't know what caring for a baby would be like and I think that is common for many women today. It IS hard at times. So, it helped me to read good books and pick and choose things to try. I recently read some articles online by Aletha Solter, PhD. which talk about why babies cry, and what to do when your baby cries. Some of it is a little out there, but it is good and makes sense. I have not read it yet (so maybe Moxie could comment), but I thought the Science of Parenting looked interesting. The Wonder Weeks is great for understanding development. Also, we found The Baby Book by Sears really helpful after the boy was born. If not for the chapters about the"high need baby," I might of completely lost it! It really helped us open up and accept our baby's temperament which made comforting and caring for him easier. Why do we think we are a failure if our baby cries and needs to be constantly held? Thank goodness for a sling!! I can't imagine what it would have done to him and to us had we tried a sctrict schedule, etc.
Good luck and stay open to the personality and needs of your baby. He or she will be one of a kind, so why would someone else's schedule work for him or her?!

Maria

I like The Mother's Almanac. I know some of the advice is a bit old-fashioned (dated?), but I really like the overall tone of the book. It's reassuring. Perhaps it's only because it's the book that my mom used when my sister and I were little, but I appreciate Kelly's combination of brief explanations of developmental milestones and how they impact behavior, and her suggestions for age-appropriate chores and responsibilities. She's got great one-liners that really hit the nail on the head: the more a child seems unloveable due to behavior problems, the more love s/he needs; a two-year old is as funny as s/he is trying, and a two year old is very very funny.

Kate

*clapping for Moxie*

And ditto to Maria on two year old behavior. Any two year old that is angelic all the time (i.e. not testing boundaries, doing exactly as told, listening perfectly) would freak me out a little.

One thing that makes me sad about "advice" from books like Babywise is that it seems to expect babies to be like little robots--eating, sleeping, etc. at the exact same time of day like clockwork. Don't grownups have days when they like to sleep in or stay up late or turn in early? Or eat a little or a lot? Or be grumpy and need more hugs than usual? Why aren't babies afforded the same opportunity? They have plenty to "say" on these matters, even if they can't use words.

Meira

OMG. I'd never heard of the Pearls before so I had to google them and came up with the most horrifying page, talking about tempting them with something and then hitting them when they go for it to teach them not to touch. I feel like I've traveled into an alternate universe, and I'm not happy about it. WTF????

Anyway, I've found lots of good info in Burton White's books, although my kids did all the stuff months after he says they'll do it.

Rob Drimmie

I can't let a discussion of baby books pass without recommending my current obsession, What's Going On in There by Lise Eliot.

It's not really a How To Parent type book, it's just a description of how brains develop but it's the best I've ever read and the insight it can give as to what your baby is neurologically capable of doing at any particular point in development is astounding.

It's written by a neurobiologist with three kids of her own. It's possibly a little heavy on the science in parts, but that's only because Eliot outlines the different brain systems before explaining why we should actually care.

Maria #2

I love Your Baby & Child, one of Moxie's recommendations. If I can get past the title of most parenting books, they usually quickly lose me with the writing style, but I find this one entirely palatable. It's a good one to read in preparation for the birth of your baby, or before an upcoming developmental stage, rather than troubleshooting sleep problems or something. I think its sleep discussion in my experience is its main weakness, and you'd definitely want another resource on breastfeeding if you plan on that, but it generally serves to reassure you that your instincts are good. The many color photos are a great feature - my one-yr-old loves to flip through it looking at the babies.

Lisa V

It's been almost 15 years since we had our first baby. We loved Penelope Leach's Your Baby and Child. Really loved it. I still have my old copy and it's practically falling apart.

This is the thing. They are babies for such a short time. I know it seems like forever when you are going through it. But really, soon enough you will be imposing schedules and routines on them. Let them be babies for awhile. Indulge in just loving them and feeding them. Trying to be to rigid too early takes a toll on both of you.

Carla Hinkle

I differ slightly from Moxie in that while I am strongly anti-Babywise, I really did like the Baby Whisperer. With the caveat that I gave up trying to get my daughter to go to sleep without being rocked after a few tries -- not working and not worth it. But otherwise I liked her gentle, structured approach. I breast fed, too and found nothing in it to sabotage that. I also really liked, for when they get a little bigger, the Ames & Ilg series (Your One Year Old, Two Year Old, etc). A bit dated but great for developmental stuff in my opinion. (out of print but easily available used, and cheap -- check www.half.com or other sites like it)

But what I really recommend, if you are the person who likes to read books (which I was), is to read them all. Nothing like an informed decision and the vast majority of the baby "how-to" books can be skimmed in a few nursing/feeding sessions. Each has its own agenda/tips and it doesn't take long to get what each has to offer, and then make your own decision with what works best for your personality and your baby's. So I read (skimmed) Baby Wise, Baby Whisperer, Sears, What to Expect the First Year, Happiest Baby on the Block, and some others I don't even remember any more (I checked out the ones I hadn't been given as a gift from the library).

I came out liking structure in some ways, being laissez-faire in others, but feeling like I built my own system. Maybe, like Moxie says, everyone gets to that point without the books -- but at least it gave me something to do during yet another marathon nursing session and when someone asked me if I'd read X, I could say Oh yes, thanks, got that one.

I'm sure you'll figure out a great system that works for you, whether you read 10 books or none.

joline

I wanted to add that there is not a either or spectrum of either contorl your baby down to the minute or be laissez faire.
I was given a copy of Babywise by my sister when I was pregnant with my twins. I read it and was simply so appalled I cannot even begin to express. Everybdoy told me that with twins adn a toddler the only way to be sane was to follow a strict schedule.
It is simply bull.
Even with newborns and a 16 month old I still managed to get a nice gentle routine going by following my baby's cues. WE had predictable days, regular naps.
And my kids are also "particularly angelic". WIthout me ever breaking their spirits.
I LOVE the baby book. But while I never thought of it before, I can see how some people would find the first couple of chapters kind of "preachy" but having also read Ezzo and The Pearls, all I can say is that the preachiness pales in comparison to the fire and brimstone predictions these books make if you should DARE to feed your child on demand or fail to start whipping them with a switch at 5 months old.

Much More Than A Mom

I love you. Is that creepy?

You just put my thoughts into words. I think my post for tommorrow will simply consist of a link to this post.

Thanks for saving the pregos and new moms from the crazies!

Amy

Just adding my $.02 to say that I cannot say enough good things about Penelope Leach's "Your Baby and child." Its a lovely, lovely book, and her opening chapter about newborns is wonderful reading.

I also second the point made above about keeping in mind that they are only babies for a short time. It doesn't feel that way with your first -- mine was colicky and the thought that we would endure 12 weeks of his angst seemed almost too much to bear -- but in retrospect, you realize how quickly it all passes. Don't put too much pressure on yourself those first few weeks to try and develop a schedule or worry about developing bad habits. Schedules come later and bad habits cannot be created with a newborn. Take that time to get to know each other, and discover what works, and doesn't, for your individual baby.

Shandra

I have to second that there's not an either/or relationship between "totally scheduled" and "laissez faire." We have a routine that provides some structure, and my son is overall calm and generally sleeps pretty well.

That's also his personality. I do believe you can work with a child's personality to help them feel secure, etc., or against their personality. But you can't change their personality. And every personality has positives and negatives at different stages of life.

The best advice I read was in the No-Cry Sleep Solution and it was not to fix things that aren't problems.

For me, for example, the fact that my 1 yo gets up once in the night is not a problem, unless he's staying up for 2 hours or something. I don't believe he'll have bad sleep habits forever (even if he did happen to get up once a night Forever After) and it relaxes me not to be trying to desperately get him to comform to an arbitrary idea that he should sleep 11 or 12 hours straight. If it were three times a night, I'd start to change my mind.

So my recommendation is read books if you like, but *use* them only if you have a problem and are trying to address it.

Lisa

I second "Your Baby and Child." My copy is 13 years old, and I still smile when I see that baby eating pudding on the cover.

What I liked the best about it is she didn't push ANY one thing over another. If you are breastfeeding, great! Here's some hints and helps. If you are bottle feeding, great! Here's some hints and helps YOU might need.

Plus she gave the best how-to's on things you thing you think would already know, like giving a bath (topping and tailing!), changing a diaper, swaddling, etc.

londoner

I absolutely second all this. And above all the best thing I read was Naomi Stadlen's What Mothers Do - nothign about what you should do, but tons of good insights about why you feel the way you do/might, and what works for real mothers in making sense of it all.

Kate

Just a comment on breastfeeding and some of these parenting books.

I noticed that The Baby Whisperer and What to Expect were both operating under the assumption that babies would be weaned to cow's milk at 12 months. There are certainly valid reasons to wean at this point, but there are equally valid reasons NOT to--so take heed to this as soon as you start thinking about your baby's solid food vs breastmilk intake.

Kellymom.com has a fabulous article on this; it changed my thinking about solids and has made for happy extended nursing.

Christine

I kept Sears and WTE on my shelf and used them like reference books - when I had a specific question I looked it up, but I never read through them.

Happiest Baby is my favorite. That and a good swaddling blanket will probably help a lot in the first few months.

I was actually just thinking about some of the baby books yesterday. Max had fallen asleep in my arms (rare for him now) and even though I had things to do I sat and rocked him. Sleeping babies are delicious things. Don't let anyone tell you not to enjoy some of the really, really great moments out of fear that the child will never learn to sleep.

Oh, and I read the No Cry Sleep Solution, which was okay. We had already instituted most of the suggestions, but I thought it was worth a skim at least. It helped us with naps.

joline

I really dont like "what to expect the first year" either. I perused a copy of it at my mil's house while visiting a couple ofyears back, she was using it as her "bible" for my niece who was living wiht her at the time.
Every chapter I read after 6 months started with the reasons to wean at that time. Also there was just so much INCORRECT information. FOr example, the book kept repeating that it is ok to start giving baby small amounts of whole milk anytime after 6 months with the goal be to be weaned to it at 12 months.
Now I dont know if I had an old copy, but that sounded like information from the seventies at best!
And their "reasons for weaning" and many other things were presented as if they are facts, but almost everythign in the book was just the opinion of the author and very little factual information. And a lot of it contradicted current medical knowledge.
I would read these books very warily.

Kate

I strongly second (third?) the recommendation to read several books. I do think that it is worthwhile to read the books -- it was important to me to know what the "experts" recommend and why, especially the why because that helped me decide if I wanted to follow their advice or not. At the same time, if you don't read more than one book you might not realize that the experts don't agree with one another -- that what Dr. Sears says you must do on pain of emotionally crippling your child, Dr. Cohen says will doom that same child to a life of sleepless nights. So I agree that it's best to skim a few, to look up the answers to your questions in more than one, and to Ask Moxie for the really important things! Some books I read that haven't been mentioned yet are The Portable Pediatrician by Laura Nathanson Walther, the American Academy of Pediatrician's book and The New Basics by Michel Cohen. I mention these not because I agree with all or even half of what they have to say but because I was able to pluck bits of useful advice from all of them. I like Dr. Nathanson's book because she has given a lot of thought to the emotional development of toddlers. And she was also the one who suggested taking a photograph of my son's inguinal hernia, which I did, which really impressed his surgeon, so there's that. Re: Dr. Cohen, sometimes his laissez-faire attitude towards just about everything was just the tonic I needed. And the bonus is that when he thinks something merits a doctor's attention, you can be 100% sure it does!

Ann D

First of all, I'm honored that I made your list of picks for The Mother of All Baby Books. Thank you.

I wanted to chime in with two book recommendations two -- books that totally mesh with my philosophy as a mom/writer (do your research, talk to your friends, trust your instincts and make the decision that feels right to you).

Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Nancy Mohrbacher and Kathleen Kendall-Tackett: This book makes so much sense! It talks about "right brain" and "left brain" thinking and how that can get in the way of breastfeeding. It also has tons of practical tips on troubleshooting common breastfeeding problems in a really supportive way.

Adventures in Gentle Discipline by Hilary Flower: This book is really empowering and inspiring, taking a very grassroots approach to gentle discipline by showing how real parents are doing it -- and not doing it. (The stories of parents falling short of their own expectations of themselves and learning to forgive themselves for being imperfect is the best part of the book, IMHO.)

Ann D

For the slightly less illiterate and typo-ridden versions of those mini-reviews, zip over to Amazon.com and read the extended play versions of my reviews of both these books. :-) SERIOUSLY, I'm never more illiterate than when I post in other people's blogs. :-)

bec 36

I read several books including Dr. Karp's and everything by Vicki Iovine (if it doesn't help, at least it will make you laugh). I think it was already said, but read whatever you want to read and take from each book what you need. I read Babywise, or at least parts of it, and while I would never follow it to the letter or even close, I *did* get something helpful out of it: the notion that unless you get some sleep, you really can't be a good parent. So, your child needs you to get sleep. But there are many ways to achieve this and you have to find what works for the whole family.
P.S. Toddler books might be even more important ;)
bec :D

Carla Hinkle

PS for the strictly medical, what is that rash? or how high is a fever? type questions, I like the American Academy of Pediatrics book (AAP).

Tina

My husband and I stopped by our local Starbucks-in-a-Bookstore when our babe was about 1 month or so old... and the girl behind the counter said "oh, you *so* need to get the Babywise book... it's all about how a baby fits into your lifestyle/schedule and not the other way around". Gadzooks! That alone made me cringe... if I didn't expect my lifestyle/schedule to change at all then I shouldn't have had a baby. ;)

Needless to say, I didn't grab myself a copy... i've really enjoyed the Sears books myself and plan on grabbing a few more from your list here Moxie, thanks a bunch!

Kris

Great recommendations, as usual.

One time, in my 2nd trimester with my third baby, I had some disconcerting pelvic pressure. I looked it up in "What to Expect" and it said GO TO THE HOSPITAL NOW!!! Of course, I called the midwife and was reassured that it was just the baby settling into my pelvis. Yeah, that book can be a bit alarmist. :)

I wish I had discovered Happiest Baby on the Block with my first baby, not my third. It's approach saved her (and me) a lot of crying. I liked the DVD best.

Shelley

I read a bunch of baby books and almost drove myself insane because the advice is so contradictory. No matter what I read I wound up feeling like I was doing things "wrong." Eventually I put them on the shelf and started trusting my own instincts...and found out I was actually not half bad at this mothering gig, and didn't need "experts" most of the time. I still pull out the books when I have a specific question, but now I use them as a resource rather than an instruction manual.

Anon

I haven't had my baby yet, but have been reading a few books.
I'm an Australian - I've read both "Up the Duff" and "Kidwrangling" by Kaz Cooke - and both are fabulous. They are focussed on Australian references, but I believe an American version is out called "Bun in the Oven", and a UK version called "The Rough Guide to Pregnancy". "Up the Duff" has useful information in a weekly format and it's funny too. http://www.kazcooke.com/books/bkfrm.html
"What to Expect" was a little overwhelming for me - just too much information to read, but I think it might be a useful reference book.

Brooke

I found The Happiest Baby to be a bit racist (those primitive people in Africa actually KNOW someting) and, yeah, totally not enough info for a whole damn book. That said, his techniques help lots of people.

I don't really like the Wonder Weeks book. It seems to think that my 6 month old should have mastered crawling and be moving on to walking. Um...no. It's fine with the groupings of skills and cool to check in with to really see what she's learned. But it is a little bit judgemental about what the mother must be doing to get the kid on track, not that this is unusual.

We like "Becoming the Parent You Want to Be," although it is focused more on older kids. Of course, it's really hard to find baby books that aren't full of gender stereotypes, and next to impossible to find ones which expect that some kids have two moms or dads. Dr. Spock is pretty good with that.

Steph

I just had to laugh when I read that you recommended Your Baby & Child. I don't have kids yet, but my MIL was giving us some books, and this was one she highly recommended-I have the 1978 version. I think she's hoping I'll need to use it soon...we'll see...She also gave us the 1972 edition of The Joys of Sex. What a family I married into!

marjorie

carla posts for me! parents i respect (with good kids!) have also recommended The Baby Whisperer..tho all of them had reservations. as others here have said, it's great to read several books and cherry-pick the advice that works for you. for me, the AAP book plus Sears were the way to go.

i'd take issue with one of Moxie's comments about Babywise (which i agree is HORRID, HORRID, HORRID) "making tons of extra work for the parents" -- no. i think the reason it IS so successful is because it *does* make less work for the parents. (and indeed, Moxie says a couple of sentences later "of course people who 'do Babywise' have these calm, placid babies.") we're on the same page about WHY these babies are so easy: because their will has been broken. it's a method that makes parenting easier at the expense a child's emotional (and sometimes physical) health. and who'd want that?

with my second child, i was much more confident in my instincts. which was the best thing that old expert Dr Spock said back when dinosaurs roamed the earth -- "trust yourself; you know more than you think you do." with #2, i was much quicker to dismiss elements of attachment parenting that didn't work for me, but also much more aware of how short babyhood is..so nursing in the middle of the night often became something i cherished, knowing how soon this baby would go all "MOOOM! STOP KISSING ME!"

in any case: good luck to ALL the parents.

Gwen

I am so glad that you have the Mother of All Baby Books by Ann Douglas on your list. Ann has a whole series and I have found them to be a wonderful resource. I also loved Your Pregnancy Week by Week and Your Baby's First Year Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis. The weekly format was easy to read and it was a good resource. I liked the easily readable chunks and the index was helpful when I had any specific questions.

One book that I really do not recommend is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. The result of trying this book just made things in our house 10 times worse than they had to be. When we gave up his advice our son and his parents were much happier and we figured out the sleep thing on our own. This book was a complete waste of money and only made me feel much worse about myself and my parenting skills.

Thanks for your recomendations!

Dana

I'll second the opinion about Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For lesbian and gay parents, The Complete Lesbian and Gay Parenting Guide is useful, as is The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians for the very early stages. Families Like Mine is less a how-to and more a collection of stories by children of lesbian and gay families, but has plenty of good advice for parents, especially those with older children.

TulipGirl

Well said about Babywise.

wookie

My two favourites were "Mother of all..." series and the Penelope Leach one. God... I think the latter has been in publication for several decades, and revised periodically.

Ezzo is the scariest book I ever read. It appeals to desperate people who want some measure of control back in their lives (and we can all relate to that in thos first hazy weeks) unfortunately, it seems to come most frequently at the expense of the baby.

molly

I enjoy Baby 411, actually, by Denise and Alan Fields and Ari Brown - they summarize information from other books occasionally (especially regarding baby sleep). It's pretty funny in places and very no-nonsense.

hedra

The Wonder Weeks is one of the books I regularly give new moms. Anything that can help you figure out how to drop guilt and fear and instead focus on just helping your baby cope is a good starting place! I'm SO glad you feel the same!

I also love "What's Going On In There?" for the same reason - once you know what's going on, when, and why, you can find a way to work with it, even if it is annoying at that particular moment.

I love Ann Douglas (I was one of the parents in her panel for her first pregnancy book), and particularly the sense I got from here that the reader is smart enough to figure out what to do if they just have the information they need to start with. Respect from a parenting book author is hard to come by!

Rayne of Terror

How about recomendations on toddler books? My husband and I are getting frustrated about how our perfect big baby is becoming such a whiny and mean toddler. What is up with the grabbing and the kicking and headbutting?

Anne

I got Babywise as a hand-me-donw from someone and was reading it while my son was a few weeks old. It started out so reasonable, I can see the attraction at frist, but by the time I got to the end of it I was filled with self doupt as a mother. thankfully I put that book where it belongs, in the trash!

hedra

Rayne, the 'What's Going On In There?' book covers up to age 5. Others I've liked:

*The Pocket Parent (2-5 years, quick reference for positive discipline)
*Positive Discipline for Preschoolers (like this better than the one for toddlers - more background in how they think)
*Perfect Parenting (which is more about 'good thinking and understanding so you can make good calls about what battles to fight and how' than it is about 'perfect'), or others by Eliz. Pantley

You'd also find toddler info in Adventures in Postive Discipline (I know I contributed rather a lot of toddler-handling comments, and I suspect most other moms did, too - I haven't got my copy yet, though.)

Ones people I trust have recommended:
*Dr. Karp's Happiest Toddler on the Block
*Ann Douglas' Mother of All Toddler Books

As for what's up with the grabbing and kicking and head-butting... a) they don't yet know how to handle their feelings, b) they do know how to get you to react, c) they're more about power and results than 'approved methods', at that age. (Tip: They're not mean, they're just oblivious to consequences to others. It looks the same, but most parents IME react differently if we interpret it differently.)

Julian

Hey Moxie et al ...
I've got a running list of my favorite Parenting (and Sleep and Attachment and Adoption and Development ...) Books up on our adoption and pediatrics website, at http://www.adoptmed.org/parenting-books/

Some books on my fave lists I haven't seen here are:
Playful Parenting
Parenting from the Inside Out
Kids are Worth It ...
The Patty Wipfler booklets
The Scientist in the Crib (great complement to What's Going on in There ... if you want an advanced degree in "what's going on in there", read The Developing Mind)

By the way ... what gives with the high-anxiety book titles, even on books I otherwise really like (Perfect Parenting, Happiest Cherub on the Block, etc ...). I'm fixing to write "How to Have the Most Perfectest Attachment Without Any Crying Ever" ... Or "Sleep Like This So Your Child Doesn't Winding Up Huffing Paint Behind the Gas Station after Dropping Out of Community College God Forbid".

karla

I am surprised that I am the only mom to have actually liked Babywise. I would say, like with all books, you cannot follow Ezzo's schedule exactly, nor do I think he expects the reader to. My summary of the book is this: Babies (and adults) like routine. They like to know what to expect. People thrive in the routine of daily life. So, as adults, it is our responsibility to give such routine to our child. Secondly, a happy baby is one that routinely has all of his/her needs met. In giving the baby routine, these needs (feeding, playing/attention, sleeping) are given on a regular and consistent basis. Ezzo does say to feed your baby every 2-3 hours, to play with, and then put your baby down for a nap. He does NOT say to refuse food to your baby if he/she is hungry before that 2-3 hours is up. He simply offers an adjustable time table to work from. He does not say "do not play with your baby unless it is right after he has eaten and right before he will nap." He simply says that babies thrive in routine. Of course, there are the fanatics that take Ezzo's schedule too seriously, and follow it rigidly, despite the fact that their baby is not at all happy or content. These are the babies that are failure to thrive....not because of Ezzo, but because they are fanatic parents. Ezzo would not promote this type of behavior. Any book offers the possibility of someone going a little (or alot) further than the actual author intended.
Ezzo DOES say to steer away from the habit of feeding/rocking your baby to sleep. I would agree with this. We (my husband and I) STILL try not to have too many "I need this" and "I need thats" to fall asleep. We haven't fully escaped this trap: We have a white noise machine, and I always think to myself, "What will happen if this thing breaks?"
We would have a shitty night.
I think Ezzo's point was just that kids are happier if they can learn to fall asleep by themselves. What happens when you want to wean your child? Now, the kid cannot go to sleep because he doesn't have your breast in his mouth? And Babywise kids? Well, they learned to get to sleep by themselves a long time ago:)....sorry for the sarcasm here. I just think the comments above have been somewhat unfair to those of us who HAVE read Babywise and whose kids are happy and well-adjusted (i do not believe their spirits have been broken OR that they passively waited for me to decide what happened next....). I am not angry, I hope I don't sound it, I AM, however, a little put off by the many comments that ripped on Ezzo simply because they chose to read something else that worked better for them and their families.

hedra

Couple of responses to Karla:

1) I think I can be totally reliable without being sequence-driven. We'll play when you're ready to play. That's reliable, too.

2) Many of us here probably read the earlier editions of Ezzo's work. After a few lawsuits, some children with attachment disorders and failure to thrive, and being dropped by the publisher, he made some changes. Part of the 'how come you're all so pissed at him?' may be from us reading the earlier editions. The later edition is not at all as harsh, I agree, and even notes that you may need to be flexible (though there's still a lot of leaving the most research-based option for the last one to consider, like their advice with breastfeeding problems - supplement, wean, or oh, yeah, you could call a lactation consultant, too).

There remains some subtle issues in there that I'll note following:

3) There's still a load of guilt laid on women who do anything but what's laid out in the book. And it works! You're a smart mama, you're NOT into doing everything exactly by the book, but you still note your discomfort using something that WORKS for your child and your family? (the white noise machine) Yes, any time something changes, you may have a bad night. Yep, we all know that! But that doesn't mean that using the tools that work should make you worry that you're setting yourself up for a fall! My tip? Don't stress about the white noise machine. My son used one when he was little, too. He's 8, and can sleep in noisy, quiet, and in-between situations, as needed. He GREW UP. They're no more tied to that machine than they're tied to nursing to sleep. Which brings me to the next point that many of my Ezzo-preferring peers seem stumped by:

4) All my kids went to bed just fine when they weaned - even the one who was weaned cold-turkey for health reasons. Whoa. Shocker! *ANY* book that says it will keep you from having those horrible 'other' things happen is suspect. What 'other'? Who 'other'? You shouldn't feel any more superior over the imagined misery of my suddenly boobie-deprived sleepless child than I should over your attachment-disordered empathy-impaired child. As noted by Julian, FEAR SELLS. And with the fear (my child won't be perfect, I won't be perfect), comes shame (my child is like those HORRIBLE 'other' children! I'm a bad mom!), as well as smugness (At least I don't have to worry about those sleepless post-weaning nights, MY child already knows how to sleep on his own! or At least I won't have to worry that my child will be prone to depression and will be unable to commit to a loving relationship as an adult!). And often the books promote BOTH (as our kids go through normal cycles of doing what we want them to, and then not, and then yes, and then not again). The whole picture is a bad one. (and one that shows up in many 'one-book' parenting approaches.)

The more books you read, the more you realize that everyone thinks their way is best, and nobody has a lock on the one way that will work for all families and all kids. I prefer the ways that are grounded in evidence-based research. Ezzo has managed to suck in a few evidence-based parts (the wake-before-the-expected-next-waking, then put back to sleep approach is actually evidence-based, and worthwhile for use in children over 6 months of age - not sure which book of his that's in, but he snagged it from real research. Not HIS research, but valid research.), but there's plenty of assertions and implications in there that just don't hold water. This isn't to say that he's the only one who does that, either.

Karla, I hope that helps explain the fairly strong reaction to Ezzo's books.

In general, I'm with Moxie on this one: Don't tell parents what TO or NOT TO do. Explain how babies work, what functions are natural, what systems feed into what else, and then let the parents figure out how to manage those systems and behaviors. Maybe toss in a variety of ideas for them to work from, in case they're totally clueless, but make it clear that there's not 'ONE good way' and 'ONE bad way' but just a lot of ways, and only by observing your family and your child will you know which one works for them. (Heck, out of four kids, I've got one who would have done well with later Ezzo, one who has a borderline attachment disorder even with a very Sears-like approach, one who neither Ezzo nor Sears would suit if taken 'straight', and one who would likely be fine no matter what we did!)

Sarah V.

Have to add my all-time favourite recommendation: "How Not To Be A Perfect Mother", by Libby Purves. Marvellously readable, funny, and helpful in a non-dictatorial way.

Alemap

I was gonna confess my love, too...but someone beat me to it.

Can I share my ultimate SAHM flexible schedule? I divide the day into "Thematic Thirds." The first is Adventure for errands, fun and mom's exercise. The second is Learning focused for baby play (tummy time, etc) and light chores. The final is Family/Social. We took cues from Our Boy on his eating/sleeping schedule, with the themes giving form to his alert times. We cosleep, and I slot my reading into his nap times for mom's mental break...or daydreams.

I'm a "P" on the Myers-Briggs test, so rigid schedules make me nuts. But my "Thematic Thirds" help give me creative freedom yet keep some structure for Our Boy, too. FWIW.

rachel

wow.
thanks.
glad i found your bloggy thing.
hmm.
i love my son and love him being a baby.

tired.
but worth it.
again, mahalo.

halloweenlover

I saw the one review about Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and was wondering if anyone else liked it? I ordered it on a neighbor's recommendation, but now I am worried! Should I return it asap or is it helpful?

I'm 6 months pregnant and just starting to read a few of these. I already have The Wonder Weeks on order!

Tracey

I really liked Touchpoints by T. Berry Brazelton. His insights have helped me along the way.

And I too am very afraid of the Babywise thing. Yikes.

Stephanie from A

Some of these comments crack me up. Babywise is the devil.... I dont think so. The proof is in the pudding. I highly doubt that your friends kids that are well behaved have broken spirits. Thats ridiculous. I know that babywise followers have been known to follow it so closely that their babys havent recieved enough nutrition, but thats just silly parents. Of course you cannot say that a baby can only eat every 3 hours all the time. but, generally thats about right, according to many qualified doctors. Of course this will very, for instance my baby eats about every 3 hours, plays with me, as happy as can be becasue he is well rested and full, then after about 20 min. he yawns or makes a fuss, or just starts to look away from me, I swaddle him and rock him, and then put him to bed. This is my method, its worked well with both my children. I figured out this method after reading a plethra of books, and taking bits and pieces from each, including babywise. I dont agree with everything he says, but there are some general commonsense ideas, thats why so many babys that have babywise following moms are content.

justanothermom

if you've met other babywised children, i'm sure you'll find, as i did, that they are normal, happy, well loved children. for anyone to say that their spirits have been broken by the way the parents chose to put them on a schedule is ridiculous and maddening. how can you say that? what makes you able to make such a bold and negative statement? scientific proof? just because it doesn't jive with your sensibilities, don't make such harsh comments about the parents and children who follow the words. it's not evil like you make it out to be. it's just different. readers, follow what feels right for you. if it is schedule and the work to enforce it to keep sane in the long run, that's fine. if it's just let the baby lead, cause you really believe baby's instincts know best, then follow that. both are fine.

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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