Thursday, June 18, 2009

baby literature


what to expect the first year: excellent book. it is not so much about parenting theories as it is answering common parent questions like "why are my baby's eyes crossed??" i highly recommend it to all new parents.

happiest baby on the block: also a wonderful text. i love how this book focuses on the 5 S's of calming a fussy baby (which all parents can use at some point in time). Karp's 5 S's:
1. swaddle tightly
2. side or stomach position
3. shush loudly (i had no idea that louder = better)
4. swing or bounce
5. suck on pacifier or something
this book also talks about extending the womb environment into a baby's 1st 3 months of life (which makes good common sense to me, although babywise disagrees). babies love being close to their mothers whether in a sling during the day or in bed during the night.

the baby book: haven't read it yet, but it sitting on my desk ready to go. i have heard many positive reviews about sears.

the baby whisperer solves all your problems: this is in my library on deck after the baby book, but i'm a little hesitant to read it because babywise moms often reference it. hopefully it will be more enjoyable than anticipated.

healthy sleep habits, happy child: another recommendation from a friend. 3rd on the upcoming agenda.

babywise: oh where do i start. first, for everyone who enjoys and follows babywise principles, i am glad they work for you. second, this book begins by making several valid points like the importance of the marriage relationship and outside relationships with friends. however, my biggest qualm about this book is the way it presents the babywise theory in a brainwashing, condescending tone. take for example:

(paraphrasing) "chelsea's parents follow babywise. chelsea is a perfect angel. she constantly gets praised for being such an ideal baby."
"marisa's parents are not pdf parents. chelsea is a fussy, unmanageable baby."

"because of babywise, chelsea's parents have a perfect marriage."
"marisa's parents' marriage sucks."

"because of babywise, chelsea's parents have tons of friends and love life."
"marisa's parents not only don't have friends, but they are extremely lonely causing deep postpartum depression. because of their stress and depression, they are much more likely to hurt their baby. non-babywise parents = abusive parents = high likelihood of shaken baby syndrome."

"rarely, chelsea does cry (growth spurt! 45-minute intruder! growth spurt! growth spurt! growth spurt! of course not because of babywise) but...the training she is receiving right now will make life so much easier in the future."
"marissa might have some lucky days now, but this only means she is going to be a TERRIBLE, UNDISCLIPLINED, PEOPLE-HATING toddler in a couple years."

you get the idea.

there are also all kinds of contradictions in the book. at one point it says babywise babies are less fussy and cry less often than non-babywise babies. then in chapter 8 ('when your baby cries'), ezzo admits that AP babies "do cry very little...however, this is not a result of love and an abiding sense of security." well, ezzo, what the heck to you think makes these babies cry less than babywise babies? AP babies are NOT loved so they cry less? hmm thanks for clarifying that one.

unjustified statements like this permeate all chapters of babywise. also in chapter 8, ezzo quotes the AAP saying, "newborns routinely cry a total of one to four hours a day." is this a goal of babywise parents, having babies cry 1-4 hours a day? ridiculous. ezzo claims "attempts to minimize crying increase stress because emotional tears actually eliminate chemically activated stress hormones from the body." let's think about this one, ezzo. do babies cry to express emotions or because they are hungry, poppy and want to be held?? have fun with your infant crying for 4 hours a day.

i could pick apart every chapter of this book, but the pool is calling our name. i would never recommend this book to any friend having a baby. when i hear moms say this is the only book they are reading to prepare for newborn care, i wince and hope that they read other books to open their eyes. although this book has some good points (again, see the importance of devoting time to your spouse sans baby), it guilts moms who don't follow babywise into thinking they are subpar parents. i encourage everyone to avoid falling prey to the book's untrue realities.

9 comments:

Nicole said...

Silvy,
I look forward to hearing what you think of these books. Do you have them all currently? If not a great suggestion is to try your local library and review a book before you buy it. That way your not putting down money on a book that will only sit and collect dust. Also do you guys have half price book stores down there? Another great place to find baby books once you do find those books you really like no need to pay full price for a book.

Krista said...

I have been awaiting your remarks on these books with much anticipation. I do have to say that I have not read all of the books on the list, but have heard many good things from several of them as well. While I am a Babywise reader and follower to a certain degree, I totally understand what you mean about the way the book was written. Interestingly, I think personality has a lot to do with the overall perspective received from a book like Babywise. I know for a fact that my sister-in-law completely shunned the idea and I'm not sure if she even read the book. She is more into just going with the flow, no schedule, just nursing whenever the baby cries etc... I read the book before Aidan was born and decided that I would give it a try. Although I disagree with the way in the which a lot of the material is presented, I thought there were some good principles to follow. I had also had experience with other moms that used Babywise generally and it worked great for them. So, I gave it a go. And, you know, it was a good starting point and helped get an extremely fussy and irritable newborn into some kind of routine that made life more enjoyable for all parties considered. When it comes to recommending this book to friends, I tell them that they shouldn't take it too seriously. Also, a lot of it has to be changed and adapted to your baby and if you don't know how to be flexible, this can turn out to be a disaster for some. I'm definitely glad that you are looking at a lot of different books and such. Parker seems like such a wonderful baby and such a joy. I hope you don't mind me putting in my two cents from the other side of things. I definitely am not a Babywise pusher, but I will say that the idea has helped my little one develop the habit of sleeping 11 1/2-12 1/2 hours a night since 2 months. Now that I can be a fan of!

Katie said...

Okay, your BabyWise paraphrasing had me doubled over laughing. It's so true! My personal favorite is the disclaimer at the beginning of the book that tells you to not take it personally when people say you are lucky for having a happy baby ... when you really, you secretly know it's all because of you training the baby, not because of the baby himself. What the heck?? Josh and I have made lots of mistakes and Caleb is still one happy kid. Maybe because he has a ... what's it called? Good personality?

:)

Caleb was put on a doctor-ordered feeding schedule when he was born because of his dangerous weight loss, and he's just kind of rolled with it ever since. He did sleep through the night at a young age (10 weeks) and I'm glad for that. I'm all about consistent routine because I think kids need consistency, and I try to make parenting decisions for Caleb that I would make for an older child, too. I wouldn't let my four year old pick his own bedtime, so I won't let Caleb "choose" his, either. But, I also wouldn't put him down when he wasn't tired! Sigh. So much stuff to process. But BabyWise did kind of make me break out in hives. I think its biggest danger is that it manipulates parents into believing that if their child is off of their routine, they will be a miserable mess. And the sad truth is, the babies usually are, because they haven't learned to be flexible. And oh my gosh, real life requires flexibility!!

As for Dr. Sears ... I haven't heard too much, but from what I've read, I don't totally agree. I'm not into co-sleeping (at night ... naps can be exception for us sometimes :)), not because I think it's evil or the baby will be squished :), but because of boundaries. Dr. Sears likens a crib to a cage and frowns on parents for putting their children in a cage with bars in a dark room. When in reality, by refraining from putting our babies in their own room, we are indirectly teaching them that their room is a scary place. And it isn't. I sure don't remember my crib!

BUT, if I've learned anything, I've learned that every baby is different and thusly, every parenting style will be different. I'm very prepared for the reality that our parenting techniques with Caleb will probably not work with our next child! And we'll learn as we go. Parker is a growing, thriving little guy, and as long as he's doing great and you're doing great, then, well, you're doing great!!

Keep up the good work. And keep writing!!

kristina said...

i totally agree with you on the condecending tone of babywise. People keep recommending the book to me and i have tried to poitley say 'thanks but no thanks' what i really want to say 'i hate that book and dont really agree with it' but like you say (in a much nicer way than i just did) to each their own.

good reviews...thanks for writing those out. interested to see what you have to say about the ones left to read.

one last thought. i love that you are a laid back mom. its one of my favouite things about you. you seem to just take it as it comes. even when we saw you when parker was just a few days old...you were so casual and relaxed. i think thats great!

Krista said...

Yeah, I do live in Overland Park. I am a little bit more north (91st and Metcalf area).
Thanks for the comment. Hopefully you don't feel like I am taking the offensive when it comes to your anti-Babywise posts. I actually really like them. We just have two very different babies that require very different parenting styles. I honestly don't have a clue what I would do without some sort of consistent routine because Aidan has a major need for it for some reason. I don't know what the second one will be like, but it is all a learning process with each new life.

Tyson and Lisa said...

for Tyson and I, Audrey was not a good sleeper on her own. she would get overtired and then not be able to fall asleep. Everything we had been told said not to let a baby cry it out until they were 4 or 5 months old and at 10 weeks we had had enough. All the books we had told us what she should be doing at each age, but she wasn't and it didn't tell us what to do about it. After many friends/family recommended it, we read Babywise in about 2 hours and started letting her cry it out that night...and oh. my. goodness. she slept 9 hours!! and also started taking consistent naps during the days. I honestly don't remember the condescending tone of the book and every time we've recommended the book to friends it was out of sheer "it solved our sleeping issues instantly!" I liked that it was "cut and dry" instead of just giving statistics about what most babies are doing or should be doing. We've learned to take bits and pieces from lots of books to help us with different situations that come up. I've been reading the blog "chronicles of a babywise mom" and don't be turned off by the title. the mom of 3 reviews a lot of baby books (babywise, happiest baby on the block, baby whisperer, etc.) and it's been a great resource to have to quick reference something. We plan on implementing the "S's" for our next baby so we don't end up with a baby that doesn't sleep well again.

I agree that each baby and each set of parents and the needs that go along with that dynamic determine what the baby's day will look like. no wonder each baby's days are all so different!

thanks for your insights!

Nicole said...

now that you have made your comments about these books I have to say your paraphrasing of babywise was hillarious. I think toddlerwise pretty much carries on with the Child A is perfect because they are on toddlerwise and Child B the parents are considering selling because they are losers who have no life. I think with any book you will find things you like and things you dislike. You just have to go through with a fine tooth comb and pick out ideas that you like and discard what you don't like.

Oh on the loud shushing I think it says something about vaccuming that can help calm a baby. Putting them in the sling to be close to you then vaccum of course you want them not to be asleep yet nor in hysterics but once you have calmed your baby enough to put in the sling then the motion of you moving and the sound of the vaccum helps them fall asleep. I think because in the womb they hear loud shushing wooshing sounds like that.

dawnvon said...

i'm glad you are sifting through the info and finding what is helpful for you and throwing out the rest. i have to tell you, when i lived with you, i never really thought about what you'd be like as a mom. from what i've read, you're doing great and are super excited to be Parker's mom. yay for you!

Q, La, and Gooner said...

I've enjoyed The Baby Whisperer. She's not always "right" when it comes to my lil gal, BUT she has proven helpful.