He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young
. {Isaiah 40:11}

10 May 2010

Why We BabyWise

On Becoming Baby Wise
Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam

The mere utterance of the word(s) "BabyWise" can be enough to get people to pass harsh judgements, ruin friendships and arouse some serious prejudice {and that goes for whether you are a proponent of or an advocate against it}.

I happen to be a "BabyWiser" and though I'd like to say I am shameless about it, I still avoid bringing it up around people unless they ask and when they do I'm fairly vague in my response. To be honest, I'm tired of feeling like I have to explain myself. Admittedly, I emotionally have to fight getting caught up in the battle between those who treat BW as gospel and those who believe it is neglectful and selfish parenting.

I will say now, Dear Hubby and I land on neither side of the aisle. We believe in raising our children according to the standards of the Bible and where the Bible is silent, it is a parent's choice.

With that said, I have no intention of preaching on why you must BW and that if you don't you're a bad parent and I'm not recommending that it is for everyone. I simply want to share our experience and maybe dispel some myths about the way of life that BW has created for our family and millions of others. (Also... I must say that this is, as are all things in this blog, my humble opinion and not law.)

First and foremost, in my opinion, there are different levels of BW followers.
1. The Extremists: Those who not only read and love the BabyWise series but have gotten caught up in the structure of it that add their own rules and regulations to an already rather structured program to the point of ruining relationships with others who don't adhere to rules that govern their own family. {I'm not even going to discuss this... it's like the outspoken Christians who make the world dislike all of us... adding your own rules to the truth rarely ends well!}
2. The Ezzoites: Those who adhere strictly to what Ezzo and Bucknam guidelines.
3. The Little-Bits: Those who pick and chose which parts will work for their family and their persosality types but who won't "throw the baby out with the bathwater".

Dear Hubby and I have been "Little-Bits" since CJ was 7 weeks old. Oddly, I heard about BW from a friend who didn't seem like a proponent of the whole BW program. She told me of a friend of hers who had a routine and a structure for her child and how it didn't really seem like a good fit for her lifestyle. I, however, am a structured person who was struggling with my newborn and the idea of a routine sounded fantastic! I was struggling with my 7 week old who didn't sleep well, had no predictable routine and Dear Hubby and I were having a hard time deciphering what CJ needed. To top it off, our inability to figure out what CJ needed was causing resentment. Dear Hubby wasn't sure that more than one child would be an option, at least not for a LONG time and I was losing faith in my ability to be a good mom. I thought "clearly I couldn't figure out my own child and if I could manage one then why bother with more". {That may sound extreme but sleep deprivation can cause you to think some crazy things!} I immediately looked into BabyWise, ordered the book on amazon.com, read it and was hooked! After only a few weeks, CJ was an easy baby. It was Dear Hubby's and my shortcoming and misunderstanding that make CJ seem difficult. It was like a totally different kid. He slept well, took consistently good naps, started sleeping longer through the night, was happy when he was awake, ate better and more regularly and best of all, we could decipher his cries! Finally our family understood the guiding principle of BabyWise which is embarrassingly simple

...your child is to be a part of your family and not the center of it...

otherwise your family unit won't survive or your marriage will suffer at best. That was it! The light bulb went on for us! Making CJ a part of our family instead of rushing to make him the center or our attention was exactly what we were doing. He cried, we rushed to make it stop. He wasn't happy with what he was doing, we stopped our conversations to make it better. It's not like we fed him only sweets because that's what he wanted or let him stay up all hours of the night but we put our focus on the wrong thing. Our marriage was on the back burner and we weren't who we used to be. When CJ cried int he middle of the night, we blamed one another. When we were both exhausted and had nothing left we took it out on one another. CJ and his desires were working against our marriage which, in the end, were going to be worse for him.

{By the way, If you're wondering why I've even bothered to bring up such a controversial topic on here, then here it is... Looking at Proverbs 31, much is said about the marriage unit and little to nothing is said about children. Our spouse and our relationship with our spouse is the most important part of the picture. Without a successful relationship with your spouse you risk losing it all when your kids grow up and move on to families of their own. If they are the glue that holds you two together you will fall apart when your child grows up and moves on {or worse, your child won't grow up and won't move on!}}

What we do...

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