Most everyone has heard of the Baby Wise books, right? I’ve recently had many people ask for my opinion about these books so I thought I’d share my thoughts here.
I had multiple friends recommend the book to me when I was pregnant with my first child. They all raved about it. Their babies were on schedules and eating and sleeping when they wanted them too, so I bought the book and made sure I had read it before my son was born.
At just a few days old we began to implement what we had learned from Baby Wise. I began to schedule his feedings every 2 ½ - 3 hours and began to lay him down to fall asleep on his own. This very quickly began to cause problems! I know that some won’t have problems until their babies are older, but we started having problems right away. My son did not gain weight and my very young milk supply never got to where it should be. To make a very long story short I was unable to exclusively breastfeed him despite the many, many, MANY things I tried to increase my supply. I totally sabotaged myself those first few days and I had no idea. He was supplemented with formula for 9 months, then after that I just couldn’t do both anymore. Not only was breastfeeding a struggle, but nap times and bed times were stressful.
After his birth and my desire to become a doula, I learned more about Baby Wise and the problems it caused and realized that it was probably the main culprit for us. I know that there were some other things that played a role in our struggles, but I think that this was definitely a key part of it.
It wasn’t until he was about 18 months old when I learned that the American Academy of Pediatrics actually warns against the ideas presented in Baby Wise? Many pediatricians as well as lactation consultants and other health professionals have spoken out about it as well. It was been linked to cases of Failure to Thrive, dehydration, low milk supply, low weight gain, and early weaning.
Fast forward about 2 years…I was expecting my second child and I was reading and researching and studying. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed my daughter and practice more of an attachment style of parenting. I learned more about normal newborn breastfeeding behavior and infant sleep and what I was reading was more in line with my feelings as a mother and how I wanted to parent my children.
It took some work, but I was able to exclusively breastfeed my daughter! She is now 19 months and still nursing. She’s starting to wean a little bit, but my goal is to make to 2 years. I think the keep points that led to our success was on-demand feeding, babywearing, and having her sleep in our room with us. She was in a bassinet right next to me until she was 6 months old.
So, what do I recommend? Read books like The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, The Baby Book, and The Attachment Parenting Book and just follow your mommy intuition.
Wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. A passionate birth doula and childbirth educator.