Baby Books
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Baby Wise Book Review

On Becoming Baby Wise Baby Wise
On Becoming Baby Wise

Baby Wise Book Review by Carmen

On Becoming Baby Wise: The Classic Sleep Reference Guide Used by Over 1,000,000 Parents Worldwide
By:Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam
2001, Parent-Wise Solutions

The back cover of 'On Becoming Baby Wise' states that it is an "exciting infant management plan that successfully and naturally trains children to sleep through the night before the age of eight weeks."  Now what parent wouldn't want their baby to sleep through the night from the age of eight weeks? 

When I began reading 'On Becoming Baby Wise' I have to be honest and say I was a complete sceptic. The approach I had used with my baby had been more closely linked to 'attachment parenting' and this book spends far too much time, in my opinion, trying to point out the reasons why 'attachment parenting' is NOT the approach to follow. 

The authors of the Baby Wise book state that their approach falls somewhere between hyper scheduling and attachment parenting.  It starts with a chapter titled 'Your Baby Needs a Family' and while of course I do agree with this, the comment "marriage represents a special bond between two people that is matched by no other relationship (p. 20)" might not sit well with everyone.  However it is not hard to agree with the conclusion that a strong relationship between the parents of the child is the starting point for successful parenting.

'On Becoming Baby Wise ', like many other sleep approaches, links feeding and sleeping closely together.  The authors state that an approach to feeding which is more user friendly than say 'attachment parenting' is parent directed feeding (PDF).  With this approach a mother feeds her baby when he is hungry yet guides his hunger patterns by establishing a basic routine.

 Now I would have to say I was the classic mother who 'demand' fed her baby.  I loved demand feeding my newborn, but I know there came a time when I would have dearly loved to have some order in our lives too and so I read about PDF with interest.  We all have to decide which philosophy is going to be right for our family (which this book does point out)and PDF may or may not be the answer for you.  After reading this book I was left thinking I would like to try PDF with my next baby.

FEED, PLAY, SLEEP…..yes another book which teaches this order.  I however failed to follow this order with my son and hence to say I attribute this to the huge problems I have faced trying to get him sleep.  The Baby Wise book gives parents a step by step approach to follow to have your baby sleeping through the night. Once again advocates of attachment parenting will not be impressed as it is opposed to sleeping with your baby, using props to getting your baby to sleep, and nursing your baby to sleep. 

Baby Wise BookThis book also is pro leaving your baby to cry, but helps you to understand your baby's cry and know when to respond.  I have experienced first hand how teaching my son to sleep was successful after leaving him to cry, so I am not opposed to this at all.  But I believe that this book is encouraging mothers to leave their babies to cry when they are too young.  I did not start this until my son was over one year.  This book on the other hand is starting with babies as young as 4 weeks and in my mind this is far too young.  We all need to decide what is best for us.

Largely, the Baby Wise book, guides you in establishing your babies routine.  A chapter on multiple births has also been written by a mother of triplets, twins and two singletons.  The book ends with a chapter called 'Problem Solving and I found this section very helpful in summarising the key points of the book.

'Parenting Potpourri' is the final chapter which lists topics for new parents.  I wonder about the relevance for this chapter in the book as I felt it was largely a place for the authors to state their own opinions. I took offense at the section on circumcision.  Is this really relevant to a book on teaching sleep?  The book states that infant circumcision is not the traumatic experience that some portray because it will not stay in the memory of the baby more than the heel prick test(p195).  I wonder how the authors feel they are able to make such a claim here, as it certainly is not what I read in my child development text book and I do find this very hard to believe. 

In essence I would recommend the baby wise book to parents who are about to have a baby.   It is however more of an approach that would need to be started from birth rather than being one that parents could pick up and run with an older child. I found that much of it rang true to me and I believe that I would re-read this book before I have my next baby.   There are some good basics in here for following a firmer approach to sleeping and feeding from day one and I think that for number two baby it would be a good guide.

 Carmen Benton

This link will take you directly to where you can learn more about the Baby Wise book.
On Becoming Baby Wise: The Classic Sleep Reference Guide Used by Over 1,000,000 Parents Worldwide

Other books in the 'On Becoming...' Series

Read a response to 'The Baby Wise Book' from a mother of twins

I have twin boys and they are now 6 years old. I read this book while pregnant with them and this is my comment to all new moms.

"This book literally made my life so much easier… I now go back and see the way my kids behave and the way other kids do and I’m very happy I did what I had to do. Read more

Please share your reviews or thoughts of the Baby Wise Book with us. We would love to incude them on our site.

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