On Becoming Baby Wise - Summary


Baby Wise describes an infant management plan built around feed/play/sleep cycles. The authors term their approach to feeding "parent-directed feeding", or PDF:

"Our conviction is that a baby should be fed when he or she signals readiness. With PDF, a mother feeds her baby when the baby is hungry, but she takes advantage of the first few weeks of life to guide the baby’s hunger patterns by a basic routine. This is cooperative parenting."

The book includes instructions for the care of babies from birth through six months. It primarily covers infant sleep and feeding practices, and emphasizes parental control of infant training. The infant is presented not as the defining center of the household but as a "welcome addition", subject to larger household order. The material presented in Baby Wise is not radical or new, it is simply a re-articulation of various practical methods which are reminiscent of parenting styles advocated by other Evangelical child-rearing advisors.

Ezzo and Bucknam describe their stance as a middle ground between feeding the baby on demand (when the baby indicates hunger) and feeding based on a strict clock schedule. In contrast to advice given by popular pediatrician William "Dr. Bill" Sears, the Baby Wise authors do not condone co-sleeping; Ezzo wrote, "The most serious sleep problems we've encountered are associated with parents who sleep with their babies."

The sleep advice given by Baby Wise is similar to Richard Ferber's advice given in his popular book Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. The Ferber method of getting a baby to sleep includes putting the baby to bed when awake; the same as Baby Wise. The baby is expected to learn how to fall asleep alone. Both methods warn the parents against using aids such as a pacifier to ease the baby into sleep, and both methods describe putting the infant to sleep without prior rocking, cuddling or nursing applied for the sole purpose of calming the child into sleep. "Crying it out" is expected from the infant during the early training periods, until about eight weeks of age.

A foundation of the book is that "great marriages produce great parents." Ezzo and Bucknam recommend that the new parents continue to schedule dates with each other and have friends over.

Buyers of the book include mothers wearied by the demands of attachment parenting, in search of more time for their careers and pursuits. The book promises that following its plan "will not leave mom ragged at the end of the day nor in bondage to her child. Nor will Dad be excluded from his duties."

Read more about this topic:  On Becoming Baby Wise

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