When I run into an issue in life, my first move is usually to consult a book. So in the first few weeks of A.'s life, when everything seemed so confusing, I figured books would probably help me get things on track. A. was roughly 6 or 7 weeks old when I checked out what The Baby Whisperer had to say...
Her basic idea is that you should put your baby on the "E.A.S.Y." routine. The acronym stands for Eat, Activity, Sleep and You. The baby eats when he wakes up, then he plays, and then he sleeps. The You part is supposed to happen while the baby sleeps. Well, let me tell you, this method is great if your child is an "easy" baby. Those kids are probably on or close to that routine naturally, and then, the parents can congratulate themselves for putting their kid on the routine, when really, they just lucked out and had a quiet, adaptable baby in the first place. Do you think A. followed the E.A.S.Y routine?
Here are my main problems with this method:
The routine is supposed to run on a three or four hour cycle, which includes an hour and a half to two hour nap during each cycle. Well that's just fine and dandy except that A would only sleep ....40 minutes at a time! So here goes the rhythm.
Eat, then Play
Another one of her things is that you should prevent your baby from falling asleep while feeding, and she suggests talking to the child while he/she nurses. She obviously didn't have to nurse A. The minute I started talking, he would stop eating. I couldn't nurse him in a noisy environment, because he would want to look around instead of eating. So quite frankly, it was just better if he DID fall asleep. By the way, isn't it a natural thing to fall asleep after you eat? Why do we take naps after lunch exactly?
The "Dream Feed"
That's another one of her wonderful ideas that turned out to be a disaster for me. It's called the dream feed because you are supposed to take the baby out of the crib and give it a breast or bottle and then put them back to sleep without really ever waking them up. You're supposed to do that around 11pm to help your baby sleep through the night. In our case, there was no way to do this and not wake him up, plus it actually made things worse, A. woke up more the nights that I tried this out.
My last beef is with what she calls "accidental parenting". She claims you should put your child on the routine from Day 1 and that if you don't, you will fall into the "accidental parenting" trap. Oh, and she loves to repeat "start as you mean to go on", which quite frankly, makes you feel like you screwed up if you didn't do what she said.
Moms know how chaotic everything feels at the beginning, and no one should make you feel bad for not implementing some silly little routine with a newborn when you are just trying to figure out EVERYTHING! On another note, other authors, who are actual doctors (unlike my friend the Baby Whisperer), will tell you that the things you do in the first three months do not truly impact what happens after that, as far as routines go.
Let me say that I am not opposed to routines, I think they actually help a great deal to put some order in the chaos of parenthood, and give some structure to your child. But I do think that you need to find the routine that will work for you, and for your baby, and it doesn't have to start straight out of the womb.
Finally nobody should make you feel bad about not "training" you newborn. As far as I know, I did not give birth to a circus monkey, so once again, I think working with his personality was more important than following some premade routine that may work for some, but not for all.
That's my take, did you try to follow the Baby Whisperer? Did you like it? I would love to see your comments.