I’m actually a little nervous about reviewing this book. This highly debated approach to parenting is typically either loved or hated. Baby Wise uses an eat-play-sleep cycle and parent directed feeding. Eat-play-sleep is simply have your child eat, have your child be stimulated for a time (length depending on age), and then have your child sleep until it is time to feed again. Baby Wise makes the claim that most babies are sleep deprived, and it is important to get a regular feeding and sleeping schedule for your child. Baby Wise also states that babies will sleep through the night at 8 weeks time if you use its method. Although the book states that parent direct feeding is not a clock feeding or a demand feeding approach, you soon understand through more reading that it is basically a clock feeding approach with a little wiggle room.
Pros: There is a lot of good parenting advice, and it has been helpful for me to read Baby Wise. I try to use an eat-play-sleep cycle (not like Baby Wise does, see the Cons). Baby Wise is strict on teaching babies to fall asleep on their own. I don’t nurse my child to sleep, and I personally think that it is healthy for babies to learn how to fall asleep without the aid of others. When my little one was first born, I used a demand feeding approach. I now use more of a clock feeding approach because I’ve learned how often she needs to eat, and it’s nice to have a schedule. This transition was slow and a learning process for me.
One other thing that I appreciate about Baby Wise is its caution on instinctively feeding your child when he or she is crying. If my little one is crying and she’s not likely to be hungry, feeding her may end up being worse for her. It could be gas or colic or something else. It also could just mask the real reason for her fussiness. I personally don’t initially feed her when she is fussy. I want to find the root cause.
Cons: I think the reason this book is either loved or hated is because of the rigidity to its approach. If you are unsuccessful at its method after weeks or months or trying, many people become bitter and believe it’s all hogwash.
First off, I will say that my baby sleeps through the night marvelously; she’s done this since 7 weeks. (I know I’m blessed.) This is not due to Baby Wise. I hadn’t even read the book then. I do like the eat-play-sleep cycle. My baby eats, then plays, and then sleeps, but does not sleep until her next feeding. I have tried and tried to get my little one to take naps that are longer than 45 minutes long. She won’t. She eats, plays, sleeps, plays, sleeps (sometimes), then eats.
My child is not a napper. She is not meeting the “expectations” of the Baby Wise method. At first that made me feel like a failure because I heard all the stories from parents who were raving about how great the book’s methods are.
Baby Wise doesn’t leave room for a baby’s individual differences in personality or habits. Yep, I certainly believe that babies are different even when they’re this young. Not all children fit into the Baby Wise mold. That is my biggest critique after reading the book and trying its methods. My other caution is using the parent directed feeding (basically clock feeding) approach. Until you know your child I wouldn’t recommend clock feeding. And really always be flexible with your schedule based on your child’s needs.
Price: You can find this book for $15 or less. Kindle version is around $10. Used can be cheaper.
I could go into a lot more about this book, its critiques, and its praises, but if you’re that interested, read it for yourself. I think you will find it helpful. If your child doesn’t fit into the Baby Wise mold, don’t sweat it. Certainly DO NOT base the ability of your parenting on this book. It is, however, worth a read.