Wednesday, September 25, 2013


My name is Megan, and I am a control freak.  Whew!  Glad to get that one off my chest!  I know many of you are clutching your hearts in absolute shock and awe right now, but it's true.

After we got pregnant, I received a lot of recommendations regarding BabyWise.  The idea of BabyWise is so intriguing.  Getting your baby to sleep through the night by 8 weeks?  Seriously?  That sounded absolutely amazing!  It still sounds amazing, although we have passed the 8 week mark without making it 8 hours yet.  After implementing its principles since Henry was born, I have come to both love and hate BabyWise.  I have not disavowed BabyWise; in fact, I'm still following most of its recommendations; however, I am not treating it as the be-all-end-all for Henry's life.

BabyWise IS:

1.  A great resource to help shape your goals and approach to parenting

2.  A great compromise between attachment parenting and strict scheduling

3.  A guide to implementing a routine

4.  A well researched book with lots of data to back up its claims.

BabyWise IS NOT:

1.  A manual or how-to for every scenario that will come up.

2.  A perfect equation where input always results in the desired output.

3.  The only good source on sleep habits.

4.  Necessarily for every child

I began questioning the role of BabyWise in our lives when my husband pointed out that I was very grouchy at Henry's middle of the night feeding.  (I mean, who wouldn't be grumpy?!)  Around 3-4 in the morning, I would hear Henry cry, throw back the covers and give an overly exaggerated sigh of frustration after looking at the clock and seeing that it did not read 7 AM.  Where did this frustration come from?

I also may or may not have consulted my digital copy of BabyWise at 3 in the morning wondering, "Where is the answer for this problem?!"  "How can BabyWise not address this issue?!"  BabyWise was officially on a pedestal that needed a little more gravitational pull.

It is an absolute joy to feed Henry.  I try to cherish these moments because they won't last forever, and it's a special bonding time between just me and him.  Also, I know many women who struggle or just can't produce the milk required to breast feed despite the desire to do so.  Yet it's something that is easy to take for granted.  It's so easy to zone out during that time and not engage with Henry.  Whether it's watching tv or perusing Pinterest, anything that steals my attention away from my precious boy is robbing both of us of one of the great joys of motherhood.  After all, how long will I be able to hold my son's undivided attention?

These past few weeks have been challenging.  I love being needed, but it's not so fun when your child "needs" to fall asleep in your arms every. single. time.  It's not so fun when your child wakes up from his nap after 10 minutes because you are not holding him every. single. time.  I have recently tried really hard to put Henry down at the FIRST sign of sleepiness.  It really does make a world of difference in his fussiness level.  But it also leaves me with less time with him, because he is only awake about 30-45 minutes after his feedings.  Bummer.  I want more play time.

We have also had to "tweak" our schedule a little.  Although I read that a "full" feeding takes 10-15 minutes per breast, if Henry eats that much at each feeding, he will have a projectile spit up later because he has GERD.  Not pretty.

The lesson I have learned in all of this is that my baby does not fit in a box.  I'm sure you think this is a monumental revelation.  I realized that I was putting pressure on my child to meet certain markers because a book told me he should be meeting them.  Dumb.  Really dumb.  Henry is growing well, eating well, sleeping well, progressing well, and meeting all of his developmental milestones.  WHO CARES if it takes him an extra couple of weeks to start "sleeping through the night?"

And he's in the 15% of babies who doesn't sleep 8 hours through the night by 8 weeks...I'm teaching him early not to follow the crowd, right?

The big lesson in all of this is that I desperately want to be a parent that provides an environment for my child to flourish and develop into the unique individual that he is.  I don't want projections of who I think he SHOULD be to overpower the person he was created to be.  I don't want to set him up for a lifetime of feeling like he has to sacrifice himself to please me.  As a do-or-die people pleaser, I know how hard it can be to spend your life in a perpetual merry-go-round, constantly chasing after the unattainable prize of exceeding everyone's expectations.  That is NOT what I want for my child.

So I'm temporarily shelving my copy of BabyWise.  Oh, I'm sure I will still consult it from time to time, but from here on out, I am giving my child the freedom to be his beautiful self.

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