Thursday, November 7, 2013

'Baby Wise' Book Review

After reading this book, I wrote a raving review and it's been floating around in my draft section for almost a year now. I think it's time I share this, because everything I wrote when Brielle was just a few months old, are truths I still believe in today. I look back at that time of my life as less stressful because I applied the principles Ezzo and Bucknam suggested. That doesn't mean that the first few months were easy, but it simply means that the work I put in to establishing a schedule were so so worth it and I'm still seeing the results of that work.
Baby Wise Book Review 

Many, many mothers recommended the book 'Baby Wise' by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam. Due to the overwhelming amount of women telling me, "You HAVE to read this!" I decided one night, after hitting my ultimate frustration level, to buy it, hoping it would give me the answers I desperately needed. I was pleasantly surprised by the practical, common sense advice the authors gave. I could actually see how the routine was easily applicable and couldn't wait to get to work - hoping it would help my poor baby sleep! She's a fighter!

Reading this book gave me the tools I needed to determine why my daughter was staying awake between 10 pm and 2-4 am. Setting up the suggested routine also helped me understand my daughters needs. Thank goodness every cry didn't mean, "FEED ME!" otherwise my breasts would've become a giant blister, cracking, bloody mess. (And you think I'm joking...) This book also helped me help my daughter sleep, which allowed me to get the doctor recommended rest after my postpartum hemorrhaging surgery, which I originally thought was impossible, being a brand new mom.

The Marriage Factor

The piece I loved most was the discussion on marriage and how it affects your children, even as a newborn.
"Marriage is more than a legal status between two people; it is a living entity that reflects a special bond between a man and a woman - it's a unique relationship, one without parallel. While marriage transcends all other relationships, it is not disconnected from parenting. Just as the human heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body, so a healthy marriage fuels all the cells that make parenting come alive. It is truly an amazing relationship! That is why couples with great marriages make great parents, and their children are the benefactors."
Isn't that beautiful? It's beautiful because it's 110% true. Marriage is a reflection of our relationship with Jesus Christ. The husband reflecting Christ, and the woman reflecting the church, and the two coming together as one flesh, keeping Christ as the focal point, makes the home a wonderful, loving, inviting environment. Just reading about the marriage factor in the first chapter made me want to keep reading this book!
"Men are not born good husbands, nor women good wives. They come that way only through self-sacrifice, patience, and a devotional commitment to the happiness and welfare of the other."
So true! A good marriage is a direct reflection of the selfless decision that a man and a woman make to make it work. It takes work. Lots of work. But it's a choice that I wouldn't take back because the friendship formed is beyond words.
"Children need to see an ongoing love relationship that includes mom and dad enjoying each other as friends and not just parents. They also need to see their parents talking, laughing, working together and resolving conflicts with a mutual respect for each other. We cannot over emphasize this point: the more parents demonstrate love for each other, the more they saturate their child's senses with confidence of a loving, safe and secure world."
 I love that. Such a wonderful reminder.
"When there is harmony in the marriage, there is an infused stability within the family. ...healthy, loving marriages create a sense of certainty for children."
 Need further reminders?
"When the marriage relationship is beautiful, what impressionable child would not desire to share in its joy? When two are beautifully one, what child would not seek the comforts of their togetherness? ... Healthy parenting flows from healthy marriages."

 Relating it to the Classroom (I can't help it!)

I'm a teacher at heart. I've learned to read, cross reference, research, ask questions, try something, try something else - just to help someone! Before it was me helping a struggling reader to read. Now it's things like sleeping, passing gas, and eating times! I've learned that there's always something to learn. Thankfully, as I read this book, I was able to relate it to classroom learning. The point they made was a concept I believe about the development of students in regards to reading and learning. Period.
"All human beings are uniquely different, yet we share developmental similarities that serve as a basis for achievement levels. A basic routine enhances learning because order and predictability are natural allies of the learning process."
Wow. The same is true for any classroom. I noticed a change in my students progress from one year to the next just because of the classroom routine. It stayed the same every. single. day. So the students knew exactly what to expect. There were minimal behavior issues and optimal learning. Why wouldn't the same concept work for my baby? Where she sleeps, why she is or is not sleeping, the time she gets up, her bedtime routine, etc. etc. are all uniquely hers. This book simply guides you in recognizing your babies needs so you can effectively set up a routine unique to your babies needs. Once your routine is set your baby will experience the power of learning - just like an effective classroom setting! Learning to eat, sleep, play and about the world around her will improve once her routine is in place.

Babywise Babies

These authors give you the confidence that your baby has the ability to sleep continuously through the night by 7-10 weeks of age. I didn't want to go in as a skeptical mom. If I was going to try this, I was going to go in confident. After all, I can count numerous mothers of multiple children that promise they have achieved this feat with their children. They recommended this book to me! So I was going to believe what Ezzo and Bucknam state about a babies sleeping possibilities,
"... healthy, full-term babies are born with the capacity to achieve 7-8 hours of continuous nighttime sleep between seven and ten weeks of age and 10 to 12  hours of sleep by twelve weeks of age. But these achievements require parental guidance and a basic understand of how a baby's routine impacts healthy outcomes."
I love their quote about advice from the skeptical moms,
"Well-meaning friends may have told the inexperienced first time mom that every child is different. They go on to say that some babies are born sleepers, and others are not. New mothers hope they luck-out and get a sleeper."
I read that and snorted/laughed. I heard that more times than I can count and I'm most definitely that 'inexperienced first time mom.' I just thought I didn't "luck-out." The more I began to follow the advice given in this book, along with the help of those mom's who recommended this book to me, the more success I began to notice with my daughter. AND I realized that they weren't just spouting gibberish, they backed that profound statement with statistics that would blow your socks off! Seriously, more mom's have seen success with the advice Ezzo and Bucknam give, than you can possibly imagine. They give you confidence from the get-go,
"Rest assured,  you can and should expect your baby to acquire the skill of sleeping through the night, but rarely does it happen without parental training."
So how do you do it? Well I highly recommend you buy the book! They give advice from everything like bowel movements, breastfeeding, practical routines, what to do if you have a colicky/acid reflux baby, or what to do during growth spurts, etc. etc. etc. There's so much helpful information!

I noticed that once I began a routine I knew exactly what she needed. So I thought through everything I did to help determine why she was screaming. I eventually began to narrow it down to gas. Once we figured out that she had a miserably gassy belly (I could seriously feel and hear when she got a gas bubble as she ate, and as soon as I felt/heard it, she'd throw her head back, stiffen her legs, and scream until she released it), we helped her release it by giving her tummy massages, we brought her knees to her chest, gave her Gripe Water and when those things began to help her relieve that pressure, she almost instantly calmed down and went to sleep! I've also cut out the food that causes gas (dairy, onions, peppers, caffeine, certain spices) and that has helped tremendously. Plus, I realized (thanks to the book) that at 6 weeks when she spent 4 days of the week wide awake between 10 pm and 2-4am screaming off and on, happy absolutely no where, that she was going through a growth spurt. Once that was over she literally wanted to sleep all day and all night for 2 days straight! Once that was over, we were back to the routine and she was successfully sleeping at night! Which left me feeling like I was actually recovering from my back to back surgeries! What amazed me further was that Ezzo and Bucknam said that would happen,
"An infant's feeding routine benefit mom as well. She is healthier, more rested, and less stressed. She has time and energy for other important relationships: her husband, parents, family, and friends."
 Very true.
"As life with baby becomes more predictable, Mom can confidently plan the day's activities, knowing she is meeting her baby's needs."
Also very true, because I am able to write in this blog! When I originally wrote this review, Brielle was finally into a schedule, which took approximately 4 months of hard, exhausting work. After this schedule was finally established I felt confident in writing, "In 5 minutes I know she needs to eat. We'll have a few minutes where we'll do tummy time, or read a book, or admire the ceiling fan or look in the mirrors (her favorite), and then I can put her in her stroller where she'll successfully fall asleep while I walk downtown to run a few errands. That's my plan for today and I'm relaxed, rested, and feel like a confident mom!" I still apply some of the principles of the book in my one year old's schedule, which has changed dramatically since writing this review originally. Scheduling has helped me out tremendously. If you too are a mom that needs to hash out a day in order to do this job successfully, this book will help you do that. Get the book, start a routine, and you too will find that the possibilities Ezzo and Bucknam promised are yours as well.

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