by Brenda WeatherlyWhen my 3-month-old baby was one week old, my best friend gave me the book "Babywise" at my baby shower. I was so eager and excited to read this book that had done such wonders for her and her 2-year-old. She also had a newborn baby who was 3 weeks old. When I came home and read the book, I cried. I thought, "So this is what she did to make her son sleep through the night?"
At the time I honestly thought there was an easy way out. My two-year-old daughter didn't sleep through the night until she was 10 months old. I had her in bed with my husband and me and I nursed her every time she woke up. I had never heard of attachment parenting then, and I really thought that there was something wrong with me and my daughter. I would get the weirdest looks from people when they would hear that she was still waking up at night. Of course I got the comments, "She's manipulating you," "You're spoiling her," and "You just need to let her cry it out for a few nights." I couldn't bear to hear her cries, so I accepted the fact that I was a failure as a parent.
But after reading this book with my second child, a few things started to "click." I began searching the internet for sites about the "Babywise" book. I learned about a term called attachment parenting. I had been following so many of the attachment parenting philosophies with my first daughter, but was ridiculed for it. I held her all the time, carried her in a sling, nursed her on demand, and kept her in my bed. I also learned on the internet just how controversial the Ezzo philosophy was. I gained a lot of confidence in myself and my way of parening. What's so wrong with listening to your God-given instincts?
It's so sad for me to think about all of the babies out there being subjected to the Ezzo philosophy of child-rearing. Babies deserve the loving arms of their mother to hold them. Babies deserve the warmth of their mother's breast to nurture them. Babies deserve to be cuddled and kept warm at night. Babies deserve to have their cries answered, just as I would like my cries for help answered. We need to treat babies as we would like to be treated.
Gary Ezzo is a Christian, but he so conveniently overlooks the Bible verse, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I don't think any adult likes to be neglected, but that is exactly what is happening to thousands of Ezzo babies every day and night. They are neglected when they are hungry, when they are tired, and when they are scared.
I'm sure it would be nice to have a good night sleep every night, but at what cost? It's not worth it to me if it means my baby will lose trust in me and no longer cry out for me. Some people think that my baby is spoiled because she cries when she's held by someone else besides me, but I know the truth. She cries because she knows that her mommy is there to answer her cries. In the Babywise book, it says that if you follow their guidelines, your baby will not cry if other people hold them. The only way that's going to happen is if the baby is never held by mom at home, and therefore is just thankful to be held by ANYONE.
I still get weird looks when people at my church see my baby in a sling, or hear that she's still waking at night, but I no longer live with the shame I once had. I remember that I have the most important job in the world. God gave me my babies for a reason, and I'm going to raise them in the most loving, nurturing environment possible. Lord knows they will experience independence soon enough. Lord knows they will experience all the harshness and atrocities this world has to offer soon enough. But while they are home, I will give them what they need: the warmth, love, and acceptance they deserve.
copyright by Brenda Weatherly
Copyright 1997-2015 by Gentle Christian Mothers™
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.