On Becoming Baby Wise

It’s hard for me to find time to read a whole book about parenting when I’m actively being a parent. When I do have time to read, I’d much rather read something fun and escapist. So, when my neighbor heard that we’re having problems getting Nora to sleep at night and lent me a copy of Baby Wise, I didn’t want to read it. I looked for an audiobook version, but there doesn’t seem to be one. What I really wanted was for someone to read the book and just tell me the important or relevant points. Well…nobody did that, and we needed to get Nora’s sleeping schedule straightened out, so I bit the bullet and read the book myself.
The tone of the book is a bit condescending, and it alternately made me feel like great parent and like a failure who was ruining her child’s life, but there are some good points. I think we’ll try some of the things we aren’t already doing and see if our situation improves. In case someone else is looking for the easy way out (like I was), I’ll list what I feel are the salient points.

  • Your job is to be a parent, guiding your child to do what will be best for him/her in the long run. The child is not your friend or peer, and doesn’t know what is best for him or herself.
  • The parent should run the home, not the child. The child should be welcomed into your existing family structure, instead of changing the family setup so everything is centered around the child.
  • Feedings should be administered when a parent assesses that they are needed, based on hunger cues from the child balanced with an eye to the clock.
  • A regular routine is comforting for your child and helps his or her body to settle in to a healthy schedule of sleeping and metabolizing food. It also promotes more successful breastfeeding. Some flexibility in the routine is fine.
  • Your child can sleep through the night. A little crying before the child falls asleep is normal. If the child wakes up cranky and crying, he or she is probably not getting enough sleep–the parents shoud let the child fall back asleep. When the child is rested, he or she should wake up cooing and happy.
  • A breastfed baby should be fed every 2 1/2 to 3 hours, with the feeding followed by wakeful time and then a 1 1/2-hour nap. An exception to this is the late evening (or midnight) feeding, when the child can be put to bed immediately after eating. The child will be awake when he or she is put in bed. As your child gets older, there will be more wakeful time and fewer naps during the day.
  • Parents must learn to interpret their child’s different cries. Not all cries should be answered with food–babies can also be comforted with cuddling, burping, a diaper change, or resettling into sleep.
  • So, there you go! If this system works for Nora, I’ll let you know.

    In which I try to bore you to death with completely insignificant details.

    For better or worse, the nursery is pretty much put together! It feels good to have that task done. The polka-dotted fabric bin on the lower shelf of the white table holds board books and tub books. You can see the Boppy pillow hanging out on the seat of Blake’s grandpa’s rocker.

    The dresser is full of baby clothes and linens that have been washed with Dreft, folded and sorted by size, and put into labeled drawers. The IKEA frog is sitting in a Bumbo baby seat next to George and Martha and a sweet little baby sock sorting thingie I found at HomeGoods. I made the print over the dresser in my letterpress class–it features my favorite quote from Peter Pan.
    The top two shelves of the bookcase are full of baby supplies, and the bottom shelf is picture books. The art is two pages from an advance copy of You Were Loved Before You Were Born, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Karen Barbour. The book is due out in January.

    Under the window you can see the gift Marci got us–the first baby item Blake and I picked out together. Above the crib are the letter hooks I talked about here. Since I took these pictures, I got some big clear totes at Target to go under the crib: one for extra diapers, one for blankets, and one for stuffed animals. We’re still waiting for our Sophie bumper and crib skirt to arrive from Pottery Barn.

    The light must have been a bit different for this photo, because the wall color here looks closer to how it looks in real life. Anyway, you can see we’ve been messing around with the toys on top of the bookcase and on the shelf above it. We swapped out the fancy (and arguably creepy-looking) dolls I had when I was younger for the Cabbage Patch Garden Fairies I adopted in college. And of course we had to dig out my Boo doll and press her belly a bunch of times. The soccer-playing Build-a-Bear was a gift to Blake from the girls he coached one year, and the other one is Olivia, who Blake gave me for our anniversary three years ago.

    TA-DA! She’d better friggin’ love it.

    Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride

    Our friends gave us this picture book when they found out we were naming our baby Eleanor Amelia:

    It’s about Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart sneaking away from a dinner at the White House for a plane ride, and it’s by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Brian Selznick. The story is so cute, and the black and white colored-pencil drawings are gorgeous.
    Our Eleanor Amelia won’t strictly be named after that Eleanor and that Amelia, but I’m hard pressed to think of two better women for her to look up to.