Attachment Parenting vs. Babywise

[deleted account] ( 57 moms have responded )

Not all parenting styles are alike. What individuals do as parents depends somewhat on how they were raised as a child, what they observed in other families, and what they have been taught. Two very different styles have emerged: Attachment Parenting and Babywise Parenting. One's own developed style of parenting will probably fall somewhere between the two.



Theory



Attachment Parenting is a style of parenting that develops an infant or child's need for trust, empathy, and affection in order to create a secure, peaceful, and enduring relationship. This style requires a consistent, loving, and responsive caregiver, ideally a parent, especially during the child's critical first 3–5 years of life.



Babywise Parenting claims that parents can establish a routine in their baby's life from day one and stick to it no matter what. Parent-Directed Feeding (PDF) is an infant-management strategy designed to meet the nutritional, physical, and emotional needs of the baby as well as the needs of the whole family. Two related dangers threaten successful parenting: not understanding the significance of the husband-wife relationship in the parenting process and the hazard of child-centered parenting.



Emotional Responsiveness



(AP)Being emotionally responsive to your baby's emotional needs is the cornerstone to Attachment Parenting. Read and respond sensitively to your baby's cues and signals. Remember that crying is your baby's way of telling you s/he is distressed. Listen to those cries and try to respond before your baby has a need to cry. Connect with your baby early on. Connecting is more than just caring for the baby's physical needs; it also involves spending enjoyable time interacting with your baby or child.



(BW)Babies become not only conditioned to being picked up at a whimper but also abnormally dependent on being picked up.

PDF is made up of three basic activities that are repeated in a rhythmical cycle throughout the day: feeding time, waketime, and naptime. These cycles are both routine and predictable.



Feeding



(AP)Breastfeeding your baby is an easy way to meet your baby's need for food, liquids, and physical contact. Breastfeeding has so many benefits to the baby, mother, and our society and is the most natural way to meet so many of your baby's physical needs.



(BW)If your baby does not eat at a scheduled feeding, s/he must wait until the next one. Feedings are at 2 1/2- to 3-hour intervals. Your baby's routine is to serve you; you are not to serve your baby's routine.



Sleep



(AP)In many cultures, it is considered normal and expected for parents to sleep with their children. Only recently has research shown the benefits for babies (e.g., a reduced risk of SIDS). Attachment Parenting advocates safe bed sharing in which the parents are not using drugs or alcohol and have a safe, firm mattress. Although some parents may not be comfortable with the idea of bed sharing, the key is merely being responsive to the child's nighttime needs. (Dr. William Sears a well-known pediatrician and author of many parenting books, defines co-sleeping as sleeping within arm's reach of the baby, though many may assume that co-sleeping means that parents and baby share the same bed.)



(BW)Naps are not an option based on your baby's wants. When naptime comes, the baby goes down in the crib. Crying for 15–20 or even 30 minutes is not going to hurt your baby, physically or emotionally.

The three most common negative sleep props are 1) intentionally nursing a baby to sleep, 2) rocking a baby to sleep, and 3) sleeping with the baby.



Separation



(AP)Avoid frequent and prolonged separations from your baby. Secure attachments can be damaged by lengthy separations between the parent and young child. Keep separations down to a bare minimum when your baby is young and be responsive to your baby's need for your physical presence. Long separations can cause your child to go through the stages of grief and can affect your child's attachment to you. If separations are inevitable, then help your child to gradually work toward them. The ideal situation is continuity of care and having a consistent, loving caregiver.



(BW)The nature of the PDF program fosters relational security. That is, a baby's security depends on her developing relationship, not on proximity to the baby's mother. In contrast, mothers who are constantly attentive by the way of baby slings, shared sleep, and demand feeding, all in hopes of fostering security, too often accomplish the opposite.



Discipline



(AP)Set limits for your baby or young child in a warm, loving manner. Teach empathy through positive, nonviolent methods of discipline. (Ideally, the loving connection and responsiveness established during infancy should continue throughout childhood. Attachment Parenting International's book list contains excellent materials for group discussion on parenting the older child as well as an infant.)



(BW)The authors of On Becoming Babywise assume the reader is family-centered, not child-centered. Parents regard their baby as a welcome member of the family, though not the center of the family universe. No evidence proves that an immediate response to every cry teaches a baby anything about love, just as no evidence proves that a little crying fosters feelings of insecurity.





What parenting style is most suited to you? What are the pros and cons of each method?



Please be respectful of others parenting styles even if they differ from your own!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Charlie - posted on 06/07/2010

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I lean towards Attachment parenting but am not strict AP .

Personally i despise babywise , I dont trust a person who claims to know how to parent and yet his own kids have disowned him , is discredited by the AAP , his methods have been associated with numerous dangerous low weight babies and FTT , as a pastor he was ostracised from his own religious group (christian) from his teachings ,Gary Ezzo has no background or expertise in child development, psychology, breastfeeding, or pediatric medicine, and holds neither an associate's nor a bachelor's degree from any college.

I think this man is dangerous , how any one could trust a man who has failed in his own parenting , faith and is discredited and has several warnings out about his methods from the AAP is beyond me , i wouldnt use his books as toilet paper .

I believe babies are new to this world , they need nurturing , comfort and a safe place that includes having their mother , father or trusted carer available to them when they need , i dont think a baby ca be spoiled , i have found in my experience it has built a very confident , independent son , i think we have created a strong circle of security through AP methods used in his first year of life , its worked for us so thats what im going to stick to .

Dont get me wrong , i dont think not doing AP is bad or harmful it works for some and not others but i have serious doubts about the baby wise method itself and not different parenting per say .

Johnny - posted on 06/08/2010

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I find that there are a whole lot of misconceptions out there about what attachment parenting really is. So many seem to think that it is all about being permanently attached/glued to your child, constantly baby-wearing, bed sharing, etc. But those are just some techniques of attachment parenting. The point of being an "attached parent" and practicing "attachment parenting" is to be in tune with your child's cues, to respond to their needs sensitively and to form a close bond. You don't even need to babywear or bed share in order to be an attachment parent. Some kids don't like sleeping in their parents beds and a whole lot of kids don't like being worn.

I consider myself an attachment style parent, but I certainly don't follow it like some sort of mantra or a checklist of techniques that must be followed. When it came to sleeping, I've co-slept with my daughter beside us in a bassinet, she's been in her crib for a while, she slept with us for a while, she slept on a mattress on the floor of our room, and now she's in her own bed. I just responded to what she was needing at that time in a way that worked appropriately for our family. I generally respond to her cries right away, but I can tell when it's just a little bit of fussing/whinging that is better left alone. When she was a tiny infant, I tried wearing her, and she hated it. As she got older, and was able to sit upright, she loved it, so I wore her because it was nice and easy. I've always followed a routine (attachment parenting is NOT opposed to routine/scheduling) but I followed my daughter's cues to decide on the timing of our days. I am in no way constantly glued to my daughter, I work part-time and sometimes our neighbor comes over to babysit while I attend to the gardening and other errands.

I've read a few of the attachment parenting books, including Dr. Sears, and no where in any of them does it tell you that you need to do A, B, and C and stay glued to your children at all times. In fact, as opposed to some of the other parenting books I have read, I found attachment parenting concepts far more flexible for both the child's needs and the parent's needs. Dr. Sears Toddler book has given me some of the most helpful suggestions about how to find time for me & my husband without our daughter. I think that some zealous sanctimommies have taken the AP concept and run with it, and use it to justify all of their parenting decisions and make themselves feel superior for how they do things. These people give AP a bad name and misrepresent the ideas.

Jess - posted on 06/07/2010

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I think we need to spend less time categorising our parenting style and more time just parenting. I say do what works for you and the child you have.

Erin - posted on 06/09/2010

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Sarah Moulton
10:02 am

I know they have routines, but isn't the whole thing that it's baby led? I was just wondering when it stops being baby led, and starts being parent led. :)


I think that's just a natural progression for us, rather than a conscious decision. As I said in my PP, there are some things that are non-negotiable! I work two mornings a week, I have shopping to do, and appointments to attend etc. With these things Milla has to fit into the schedule that allows me to get these things done. But for the most part, our day is still structured in the way that suits her. For example, she is an early riser and now down to only one nap a day. I would prefer that she napped after lunch, so that she would be well-rested for the afternoon and I would have more time in the mornings to do things. But she naturally wants to go to sleep around 10.30-11, which means she can then get really tired and cranky by dinner. On the odd occasion I have stayed out longer in the morning and her nap has been pushed back, it always backfires. So it is better, and less stressful, for us both to just allow her to sleep when her body tells her to.

Now obviously there is a limit to how relaxed I can be with sleeping at night. As I've said before, she's been an excellent sleeper and generally loves her bed, so I don't really have any dramas unless she's sick or teething. Her bedtime has fluctuated between 7pm and 8.30pm over the last 6 months or so. When she was still having 2 naps a day, it was 8.30, but since she dropped to one she goes down at around 7. She has formed this routine herself, and I just apply structure to our day to allow this to happen (ie, make sure dinner and bath is done by 6.30 so she can wind down). But when she was cutting her first teeth she was waking up A LOT and wanting to play in the middle of the night. That is where I had to draw the line. If she was awake, fine, but there was no playing or talking or lights on. I still sent her the message that it was time to sleep, even if she didn't always get it lol. So I guess that is a case where the routine was being determined by me, even though it was a pretty extreme case.

I hope that explained it a bit for you Sarah... gotta run to the doctors now with a sick baby (AGAIN!!) so I was kind of rushing.

ME - posted on 06/09/2010

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Cathy, the whole quote should read: "Responding to a baby's needs means doing it as quickly as possible. I have pulled the car over and nursed Mayah in a parking lot if she was hungry...why make her wait 30 min?"
If it's not possible, then of course not...but luckily for me, that's never been an issue. Miles doesn't go to day care, and I only work part time. He's never away from me unless he's with his father or his grandparents. Mayah is also still under 6 mos. old, so I try to respond to her needs as quickly as I can! As I said, Miles is now almost 2 1/2 yrs. He understands when I ask him to be patient or to wait ten minutes, Mayah does not.

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[deleted account]

I definitely lean towards the attachment parenting side of things, though no where near 100%. I formula feed my baby on cue, I can read his signals to tell when he's hungry before he even gets fussy. I "co-sleep", by the definition of baby sleeping with in arms reach-mostly in a bassinet right next to me, and sometimes in our bed. I can actually wake up and get his bottle made before he starts crying at night-most nights, if I'm really tired, he might have to cry to get my attention. I would rather "wear" my baby rather than use a stroller for walks (even though we do use a stroller at times), and I "wear" at the store and in church. I don't use the baby carrier in my house though. He has a swing and a playpen that he loves and is perfectly ok with alone time. About crying, I will do everything in my power to help my little one to calm down when he's upset and crying. I have had to on occasion put him down when he's inconsolable to "catch my breath" so I can be able to calm him better. The frantic cry of a very upset baby makes me physically ill at times. I am waiting for my son to slip into a day time schedule, although at night you can almost set a clock to his wakenings. He is 11 weeks old, and even though a lot of people claim that babies need to be sleeping through the night at that age, I don't see if my baby wakes up hungry at 4am, why can't I feed him. The babywise theory of strict scheduling just doesn't make sense to me. If I ate breakfast at 8am, and get hungry again at 10am, but lunch isn't until 1pm, am I going to starve myself until then? Not in the least!! My baby knows when he's hungry. If I'm tired, I sleep. If I'm sad, I call a friend to help comfort me. Why should we expect more of our babies? I don't do attachment parenting all the way. I feel that with secure attachment, a child needs to learn independence and boundaries. I hold my baby as much as I can. If I'm not busy and he's awake (or sometimes asleep), either my husband or I are holding him. Physical touch and affection is so healthy for any person, especially babies.

Lyndsay - posted on 06/13/2010

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I'm huge on the attachment theory, but I'm not exclusive to that parenting style. I work in group homes with kids in care, who have been taken away from their parents or given up. Day in and day out, there are so many behaviours and issues that come up as a result of insecure attachment with primary caregivers in early life. Kids who don't have a secure attachment grow up to be untrusting, anxious, and sometimes paranoid.

That being said, I do think its important to teach your child to be independent. You don't want them to become too attached, or they will never let go (which also creates huge problems later in life). My son was fed on a schedule, never on-demand, so I guess that falls under the other method. He was born prematurely and didn't have the sucking reflex, so I had to teach him how to eat. In the hospital they told me to make sure he had 2oz every 2hrs, and when I left I just continued on that way until it eventually became 3oz/3hrs, 4oz/4hrs, and then however many oz he wanted, every 4 hours. I don't know how one would go about scheduling nap time, when my son was a baby he'd fall asleep whenever he pleased. Eventually it became a routine and would be at the same times every day, but he ultimately decided when that would be.

C. - posted on 06/11/2010

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"If you've already explained it, Mary, then I apologize. I have not had a chance to read every single post. I was just asking about certain things that caught my eye while skimming posts, so I'm sorry if I have offended you in some way."



Ok, Mary.. But never once did I say that you came off as if I had offended you, but there are some women that won't let you know, so I was apologizing just in case. And I didn't say you were bragging. I was just saying that every child I've known at that age do the same things. Maybe the other children you know are slower learners than most (nothing against them, every child develops differently), I just don't personally know any, nor have ever known any, that age that haven't been able to do certain things themselves and have a large vocabulary.



Not sure why you are saying I was confused by any of it. I understood perfectly.

ME - posted on 06/11/2010

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Really? Christina...I wasn't offended...this getting silly...I was re-explaining something I'd already said. I wasn't trying to brag about my child or anything, I was saying he CAN UNDERSTAND when I ask him to be patient for a few minutes. I was saying that if it's something simple he wants from me, he can typically get it himself. I don't think there's ANYTHING confusing about what I said.

C. - posted on 06/11/2010

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Thanks, Cathy!! I am also looking into Instant Immersion, which is what my sisters are using, but I would love to check that out as well!! Thanks again!

C. - posted on 06/10/2010

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Please don't call me ChristinE (This goes for anybody). I can take Chris, Chrissy, whatever.. But NOT Christine. It's always been a pet-peeve of mine.

If you've already explained it, Mary, then I apologize. I have not had a chance to read every single post. I was just asking about certain things that caught my eye while skimming posts, so I'm sorry if I have offended you in some way. I can't say that I know what you mean, though.. All of the young children that I know (my son, niece and nephews included) are advanced for their ages.. By age 2, they have had a huge vocabulary and they are already learning second and third languages (my son will be starting other languages as soon as I can find a decent program to help me out.. Though I've known bits and pieces of several languages for quite some time, I have since forgotten the building blocks of them). And they've all been able to do many things by themselves.. I've yet to meet a child at that age who hasn't.

ME - posted on 06/10/2010

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Christine...I already explained once that I respond immediately to Mayah WHEN POSSIBLE...of course there are times in life when immediate response is NOT POSSIBLE. Mayah is 3 months old, and Miles is a VERY advanced 2 1/2. He's got a huge vocabulary and he understands more than any two year old I've ever met! He also is able to do MANY things for himself, and has an amazing memory (better than mine most of the time). Even still, NO, I don't always push him to the side in favor of Mayah. I love both of my children, and I try to respond to Miles' needs as quickly as possible as well. I do want them to get along with one another, so making Miles jealous and resentful of her in order to fulfill some strange obsession with a particular parenting style would be silly. I have also already said that I didn't know what either of these styles were before coming to CoM, so I don't obsessively follow anything anyway. I said that this is what naturally works for me and my family.
I HAVE occasionally explained to him that "Mommy can't get him a snack right now because I am feeding baby Mayah", but that if he waits a few minutes, I will help him. He says "OOOOHHHH", (like it's the most interesting thing he's ever heard) and waits for me...One nice thing about my husband having no job for the last 6 months is that neither of my kids usually has to wait for anything or go without attention at any time when they are awake (tho, I really would prefer if he would find a job ;)...

Charlie - posted on 06/10/2010

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I think for most of us its a case of doing what our instincts told us to do , then somewhere along the line we discovered " oh shit , it has a name "

Thats why those who say they lean towards a certain parenting style only say so because it is what is closer to what they did naturally , i know i certainly didnt know what i was doing was something similar to AP until i joined COM and discovered it , i like its method and have continued to learn although i realize not everything about AP fits into my lifestyle or has been possible physically so i stay flexible by try to stay true to the core of it , to parent in a positive , secure and attentive environment.

Please dont take that as saying other methods are not those things i only speak for what i follow :D

Amie - posted on 06/10/2010

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No one style should be implemented all the time. We do lean more to attachment parenting than Baby wise though according to the OP. Baby wise is a bunch of crap! Though if it wasn't so extreme I could understand the concept. Having said that though I have never read any books on parenting other than one potty training book for our difficult son, which turned out to be a bunch of crap anyway! Pfftt!

I BF on demand, we co-slept, all of my babies were by my side 24/7 for the first months of their life. Around 6 months of age we slowly transitioned them to independence. It started with sleeping on their own. We did use CIO and it is so not what people think it is. I was so firmly in the anti CIO camp that I didn't realize (until talking to other sane parents who did use CIO responsibly) that CIO was what I was doing with my own children! HAHA! Our babies all had a routine, their own routine that we followed as a family. Like sleep schedules. They fell into our pattern not because we forced them too. It did take a few months but with our alarms going off every morning, the noise we make through out the day, etc. our babies just figured out which times worked best for them. The BF on demand was easy, well, because it's BFing! LOL! Food supply is right there, I just had to sit while they ate. Then we'd continue on with what we were doing before that. Discipline is fairly easy because our children know what to expect. They know what to expect because we started very early.

I still to this day lean more towards attachment/hover parenting with ALL of my children. The older they get the more it becomes our routine and schedule. Our older ones know that if the younger ones need me, they can wait a minute. If I'm with an older one, I'll pick up the younger ones so they're not hollering in my ear. We balance it out, all of my children get the attention they need. It's a lot of juggling but we manage. Lord knows how, though it is my excuse for the white hairs I've found the last couple of years. LOL!

Sarah - posted on 06/10/2010

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@Erin, sounds a lot like the way I've done things!
As I've said before, I'm not really a babywise person at all, or an AP. I think you can draw from both theories.

I guess I would say that I've been AP while they were teeny babies, and then have leaned more towards Babywise (though nowhere near as extreme!) as they've gotten older.
It's the AP style in a child's toddler/school years where I struggle with the concept. Not to say that I've become less responsive, but as they grow and another baby has come along, I think they need more structure and routine and life needs to more parent led in the day to day things.

If any of that makes sense! lol They had me up early this morning! :)

C. - posted on 06/09/2010

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@Mary Elizabeth



"she cannot wait to be fed if she is hungry; she gets hysterical. Sometimes she is hungry after 1.5 hours, I would NEVER make her wait another 1.5 hours to eat! She started sleeping "through" at 8 weeks; I just assumed she needed to eat more often during the day because she goes 6-8 hours without eating at night"



I have to admit, I'm a little confused.. So, if your son had a doctors appointment or something, you would risk being late and giving up his spot at the doctor to pull over and feed your child when you can feed her WHILE he's at his appointment??? Or perhaps if you're in a store and your son runs off by himself and you would love to go after him, but your daughter is screaming and you can't at that exact moment b/c your daughter needs to eat.. (Ok, so this last analogy was a bit exaggerated, but I hope you can see my point) I think there are times when making a baby wait just a little while isn't going to hurt them. Personally, I think pulling over in a parking lot, unless traveling long distances (like hours and not minutes worth), to feed your baby is a bit extreme.. But whatever. I think that also teaches your oldest that he has to always wait b/c the baby ALWAYS comes first.. Kind of puts him on the back-burner, IMO. Don't get me wrong, I think there are definitely going to be circumstances where one child HAS to be put before the other, but I don't think it should happen all the time. I just don't get it, to be honest.

[deleted account]

Mary Elizabeth "I have pulled the car over and nursed Mayah in a parking lot if she was hungry...why make her wait 30 min?"

Would you have done that if you were already late to pick Miles up from somewhere?
My eldest has autism and it would have caused him extreme distress if I would have been late collecting him from school.

If the baby was crying, despite having been fed and changed, and I was in the middle of a bedtime story for the other one, I'm going to finish the story.

I won't neglect one child for another regardless of age or considered "need". 10 minutes won't hurt.

Sarah - posted on 06/09/2010

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I know they have routines, but isn't the whole thing that it's baby led? I was just wondering when it stops being baby led, and starts being parent led. :)

ME - posted on 06/09/2010

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AP parents have already said here that they DO have routines...You cannot parent a baby/toddler without one. I did not set Miles routine based on what some "expert" said would make him happy tho...I based it on what ACTUALLY made him happy. Like I said, I haven't read any of these books, so I don't know anything about babywise other than what it says in the OP. But...here's my example...Miles was not really a snuggler, and I had back problems, so babywearing wasn't possible for us. He hated his bassinet tho, and he slept with us until he was 9 mos old. Then he started going down to sleep in his crib, but at around 2:30 every morning, he would scream and cry and refuse to sleep in there anymore...so, he came to our bed, and finished the night with us. He did this until 18 mos, then started sleeping through in his own bed. He loved his bath, and it's one of the only things that calms him down, so he gets one every night before bed and has since he was about 3 weeks old. He also gets a bottle and several stories... he loves to read, and it also calms him down. He still takes one nap each day...but nap time is not exactly the same every day. He goes to bed when he's tired, usually sometime between 11:30 am and 1 pm. He sleeps for two hours, and then we wake him up. Bed time is around 7:30 pm, but it's not strict; he can stay up later if he is still behaving or if something special is going on.

Now that we have Mayah, we ask Miles to be patient with us and with her needs for short periods of time. If I am bf with her, then he may have to wait ten minutes to get his needs met, but as a 2.3 year old, he can understand and do that, she cannot wait to be fed if she is hungry; she gets hysterical. Sometimes she is hungry after 1.5 hours, I would NEVER make her wait another 1.5 hours to eat! She started sleeping "through" at 8 weeks; I just assumed she needed to eat more often during the day because she goes 6-8 hours without eating at night...She DOESN'T like to sleep with us that much tho, so, most of the time she stays all night in her bassinet next to the bed. If she's not feeling well, then she might sleep with us, but if she doesn't want to, I am not going to force her! Responding to a baby's needs means doing it as quickly as possible. I have pulled the car over and nursed Mayah in a parking lot if she was hungry...why make her wait 30 min?

Sarah - posted on 06/09/2010

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I can totally understand being baby led in routines for the first few weeks/months of their lives. Surely though there comes a point when babies/toddlers HAVE to learn to fit in with a "normal" routine?

Does AP continue letting the child decide what happens and when indefinitely? What if their natural pattern is to be awake from 2am til 5am every night? Just genuinely curious.
They're going to have to fit in to routines eventually. Especially once they start nursery or school.

Like I said, I can see how it works with babies......but how does it pan out with older kids. When do you stop being led by the child and start imposing routines? :)

Shelley - posted on 06/09/2010

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Erin,
You asses the situation can you distract the baby if not feed the baby then start your 3hrly routine again.
Susanne is right if it doesn't fit in baby waits.
Different parents will take it to different levels.

[deleted account]

If the baby is hungry you feed it but obviously if your driving down the road and have ten minutes to get the kids to school then baby has to wait ten minutes. Mind that can easily be avoided by feeding baby just before you leave the house anyway then baby normally sleeps through the hecticness of the school run, thank god for infant carrier car seats (even if it does mean by the time baby is 6 months old our arms are four inches longer lol)

Erin - posted on 06/09/2010

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So Michelle what happens if the parent recognises the hunger cue before those 3 hours are up?

Shelley - posted on 06/09/2010

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Forcing is such a harsh word it's not like that.we encourage moving to 3 hrly feeds it happens gently not harshly.
Parent directed feeding is
PDF= Clock+Hunger Cue+ Parent Assesment = FEEDTIME

Erin - posted on 06/09/2010

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To me, there is a difference between a new baby adapting to the necessities of daily life (eg, school runs, errands, shopping etc) versus trying to enforce a specific routine because that's what some expert suggests. Again, I am not anti-routine, I just think that a new baby should have the chance to develop their own patterns where possible. There are obviously some times that are non-negotiable... school runs being one of them!

[deleted account]

With very little effort a baby fits in with older childrens routines, when my three year old was born the only thing i did differently to before i had him was wake up ten minutes early to make sure he was fed and dressed before i took the oldest two to school. I think putting him to bed the same time as the older kids and waking him up the same time in the morning as the others established a good routine that he soon got into. I plan on doing the same with the baby im expecting now as i now have three kids to get to school.

[deleted account]

Quoting Erin.
Who wants to watch the clock all day while trying to force a baby into a routine that doesn't suit them??

When you have another child with a school time routine, a baby needs to learn to fit. You have no choice to watch the clock. Turning up 2 hours late to pick a child up because the baby was sleeping isn't an option!

Sarah - posted on 06/09/2010

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If being AP is being in tune with, and attentive to your baby, then I would say that the vast majority of Mum's would be classed as AP.
I don't think many mothers aren't attentive to their childs needs, they just go about meeting them in a different fashion.

That's what annoys me about the whole debate, it's like AP parents are classed as loving and attentive and in tune with their kids, and anyone following any other way, is considered to be the opposite. (by some, not all)

For example, I used CIO (although I prefer the term Whinge-it-Out! As they were NOT left screaming for hours) that was the best way to get my babies (past the 6 month mark) to get the sleep that they needed. I was attending to their needs, just in a different way to how some other people would do it.

As I said before, I think any theory taken as gospel and followed religiously is a bad idea, you have to think for yourselves and pick and choose what fits you and your family. Then, when another child is added to the mix, you have to re-evaluate all over again and fit not only their needs, but the rest of the families needs too.

Hope some of that makes sense! lol :)

Erin - posted on 06/08/2010

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I just wanted to elaborate on what Carol mentioned about AP and routines. As a predominantly AP Mumma, we have had a flexible routine since my daughter was a few months old. But it was led by her and her natural eating and sleeping rhythms, not dictated by what was going to better suit me and my day. I understand that this concept becomes more difficult when there is more than one child, but I really believe that, where possible, the baby should be allowed to form their own schedule (within reason, obviously.. I certainly wouldn't be getting up to play at 1am! lol).

And, like Carol, I see the amount of flexibility and calmness offered by the AP principles to be far superior to other theories like Babywise. Who wants to watch the clock all day while trying to force a baby into a routine that doesn't suit them?? Certainly not me! I couldn't think of anything more stressful really. By following my daughter's cues for things such as when she was ready to put herself to bed without me rocking her, or cut out naps (now only 1 a day), and even give up her bottle (a few weeks ago), these transitions have been smooth and natural. I have no doubt that if I'd tried to follow some regimented parenting philosophy, like Babywise, these changes would have brought much more chaos to our house.

Shelley - posted on 06/08/2010

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The above post is a little extreme on what the actual Babywise books and course suggest. i love my children and because of following the routines ect that are expressed in babywise my kids without any extended crying or particular issue took on these routines for themselves. They would just wake up after 3hrs ready to be fed again. They from day one would go in their cot and fall asleep with out crying or 5 minutes of fussing. They slept through the night from 8 weeks. I exclusively breastfed and had plenty even though i had an 8hr break. We actually found it a gentle way of parenting as we were in control and knew ahead what was next ect. i also have alot of friends who used it and found it to be a relaxed and calm aproach to parenting.

Lea - posted on 06/08/2010

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ok i cant go an hour without a sip of water and this dude wants kids to go over 2 hours. what an ass.

[deleted account]

It just dawned on me that I don't know any families that don't do AP to some extent. I think it goes with our homeschooling lifestyle.
We do routines, but they don't follow the clock by any means.

Jocelyn - posted on 06/08/2010

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I am pretty much AP. I breastfeed on demand, co-sleep, baby wear (well I did, my little one is way too heavy now lol) and I never let them cry longer than 5 minutes. But we do have a bit of a schedule and they normally have their naps around the same time everyday (one is 3 years and one is 8 months) and they both fall asleep/wake up at the same time every night/day.
Personally I think (extreme) Babywise is a bunch of crap and parents are crazy for using those methods, but then again those Babywise parents must think I'm cracked in the head for doing AP lol. So it evens out :P

Hannah - posted on 06/08/2010

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I think I am a combination of both. I hadn't ever heard of either of these styles of parenting though. Both are a little extreme to me.

I sleep with my son only because he got sick when he was younger and I let him sleep with me. Since then, I haven't been able to get him out of our room. :) My daughter's crib is also in our room but she will be in her own room once she hits 1.

I let both of my kids CIO to an extent. Most of the time I make sure that they are ok and comfort them until they stop crying. IF they cry when I put them to bed, I will let them CIO until they fall asleep. To be honest, they haven't cried when put to bed in a long time.

Babywise seems a little more harsh and AP seems a little too mushy.

Lindsay - posted on 06/08/2010

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I'm a mixture of both and like many, had never heard of these theories or styles of parenting prior to CoMs. Of course, never before CoM had it even entered my head that I somehow love my children less because I pushed them in a stroller instead of wearing them either.

From the time Madeline was born, we tried to establish some sort of schedule. It was by no means the be all and end all of things but having some structure helped. Coming home from the hospital, she ate about every 2 hours and then as she grew it eventually went to every 4 hours and has now progressed to eating when we do. She slept in her crib from night 1. I did not rock or feed my babies to sleep but I also didn't put them in their cribs to scream and cry. I knew when they were sleepy and nearly there and would lay them down then. Yes sometimes they would whine for a few minutes, but it was never that they were left screaming and crying in their crib.

One thing I don't understand is how anyone would think that one mold would work for all babies. I know that just between my 2, while some of the basics were done the same way, they were different children with different personalities. Something that may have worked for one absolutely did not work for the other. Madeline was not one that liked to be held unless she was eating. She loved her tummy time and just exploring the world from the living room floor. Cooper was much more the child that wanted that closeness, so that's what he got. He very much liked being in my arms or the swing.

My theory...focus less on reading books. You cannot learn to be a mother from books. It's a trial and error hands on system to figure out what works best for you, your child, and your lifestyle.

Rosie - posted on 06/08/2010

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i don't like either method exclusively either. i think there is a happy medium for us. i don't co-cleep, i don't feel feeding on a schedule is necessary (maybe nice to have, but not necessary), if my child is hungry i'm going to feed him no matter what schedule says.
i think attachment parenting goes to far and produces over attached children, and babywise parenting goes to far and doesn't nurture the child enough.
my kids will sleep over at their grandparents house every now and then no matter what age they are (ends up being after they have slept throught the night so my parents aren't bothered too much), i don't hover, my kids will go outside by themselves to play. i just do what i think is best for my kids whatever the situation may be.
if anything though i don't do much attachment parenting at all, but i don't do much of babywise either. i think both are extreme.

Sarah - posted on 06/08/2010

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@Cathy, interesting you should mention AP and having two kids, I was wondering about that today!
Once you've got 2, you have to balance things between them, so surely one will have to wait while you deal with the other.

Also, like I said in my post, if one of the kids is school age, then there is a certain routine needed.

How do AP parents get around all those things?
I'm sure it must be possible, but is it a lot harder than when you have just one baby I wonder?

ME - posted on 06/08/2010

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I never read any books, but it turns out that I'm pretty much an AP parent. Both of our children have been/are co-sleepers to an extent. Miles was bf til 18 mos. I did baby-wear with him a lot...but then discovered that I have degenerative disc disease...so had to stop, and cannot do it with Mayah...NEVER used anything remotely like CIO, and still don't, not even with Miles (who is 2). Miles is the MOST independent 2 year old I've ever met...sometimes dangerously so...He will talk to anyone, anywhere; and doesn't seem to be afraid of anything. He's NEVER stayed with a sitter other than family, and only stayed overnight at Grandma and Grandpa's after he quit bf at 18 mos. Mayah is still under 6 mos...so, according to what it says in the OP, we are exclusively AP with her as well...Miles is developmentally advanced, healthy, and happy...I don't know why I would change a thing!

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I never read any baby books other than the free one you get from the NHS.

I definatly favour attachment parenting in the first few weeks after birth. Regimented routines to a newborn born baby with no concept of the world seems a little ridiculous to me. Any sort of introduction to routine needs to be very gradual.

My problem with attachment parent theory is that I don't have attachment babies. My breastmilk was no good for meeting their feeding needs. They hating being in a sling or baby carrier. They screamed if I attempted to rock them to sleep, prefering gentle crying in a cot till the drifted if any crying at all.

Also once you have a second child, AP to the book comes at the expense of an older child. I wasn't prepared to neglect his needs to go running to a baby at every whimper. When you have a second child you have to become family centered rather than child centered. Older children have routines such as school and a baby has to fit in with that. My son has to be at school by a certain time and picked up by a certain time. I can't just ignore that because the baby skipped his last feed or refused to nap till late. They will be forced to wait for a feed(although 2-3 hours is ridiculous when your baby is hungry), or have their nap cut short which only results in a grumpy baby. I'm not too strict with nap times but if my youngest hasn't shown any signs of wanting to sleep by 11am he gets put down for a nap regardless. Any later and he's still sleeping past 2:30 pm when I need to leave.

[deleted account]

Oh yeah, I forgot to comment on Babywise. I don't think the book would ever work for me, but I think some parents might find it a useful resource providing they don't slavishly follow it while ignoring advice from other sources. I pretty much think that about all parenting books though.

[deleted account]

I don't know why parents feel the need to exclusively subscribe to one model over all others.

In my opinion baby led nursing and baby wearing is good, non CIO is also good, but I don't understand the need to constantly be glued to the child and never let them fuss for even 20 seconds. Even a young baby can happily entertain themselves in a bouncy chair without being on mom's hip. And while I'm fine with co-sleeping and did it myself at times, it should NEVER come at the expense of the marriage relationship.

Separation is not going to kill a child either. I let my parents watch my baby for hours in the early weeks while I went to college. I was still able to exclusively breastfeed by using a pump and It didn't affect our ability to bond at all.

While I mostly favour AP for babies, I think that toddlers need to learn as early as possible that they're not the center of the universe, they are a member of a family and part of a wider community. I lean to the theory that it takes a village to raise a child rather than the child centered approach when the baby is no longer a newborn.

[deleted account]

I never read any books before having my kids the way i parent is what ive learnt from my own mistakes. One thing i have learnt that is important is routine, naps at certain times, a bedtime routine etc. The only feed i did on routine though was the last before bed the rest were on demand. I tend to kind of go with the flow with everything else do whatever seems right at the time. I co slept because i found i was a horrible mother if i didnt get some sleep and with my oldest it was the only way to get some. CIO im not a fan i dont mind a baby whimpering itself to sleep but full out screaming i couldnt cope with that and the only time i ever tried it on my oldest at my health visiters insistence it felt so wrong. Poor dab was sick everywhere he screamed so much. I think i lean more towards the AP style.

Erin - posted on 06/07/2010

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I completely agree with Loureen. I HATE BABYWISE!! I would consider myself a moderate AP Mumma in that I don't do EC or plan to homeschool or anything quite that extreme. But I believe it is my role as a mother to respond swiftly to my daughter's cries (I am not talking about whinging or whining here, I mean actual crying). My daughter has never been made to CIO and naturally progressed to going to sleep on her own (no rocking or cuddling) at around 10 months.

The feeding schedules for newborns and disregard for a baby's natural feeding and sleeping rhythms are a big part of why I have no respect for the Babywise theory. Nobody will convince me that the needs of newborn baby shouldn't come first! It's utterly ridiculous. I don't believe you can ever hold a baby too much, unless they spend so little time on the floor that they are not meeting their milestones.

I did baby-wearing and loved it. My daughter was still rolling at 6 weeks and sitting up at 4 months. I rocked my daughter to sleep for the better part of her first year, and she made the transition to going into her cot and going off to sleep by herself when she was ready (at 10 months). AP has worked for us. She is now 16 months old and very independent and talks to everyone. She is is no way clingy or shy, which I think is a common misconception about AP techniques.

C. - posted on 06/07/2010

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Um, just want to say something about the CIO method..



I use it to an extent. If I've tried comforting my son and he is still throwing a tantrum, you're darn right I'm not going to respond to that. So I set him in the crib for a bit and usually after about 5 or 10 minutes, he is completely calmed down. If he's scared or hurting/not feeling well, then I won't use the CIO. But if I know he's just throwing a tantrum b/c A) he just wants to or B) he's too tired and does not want to calm down, then I will use it. I also use the occasional spanking if it's needed.



What I do with my son is the same thing my mom used to do with us and my grandparents used to do with my parents.. And all of us are VERY independent (except for the occasional depression..) So, I think it doesn't depend on whether you don't use CIO at all or not that affects independence, I think it's the extent to which you use it.

Nikki - posted on 06/07/2010

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I am more an AP mom but not strictly

I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE CIO
I feed on demand
I don't always babywear. I have a really bad back and being 5 feet and 120lbs w EE's and carrying around a 25 pound baby kills my back. I was on bed rest for almost my entire last trimester.
He doesnt sleep in our bed but in our room. For two reasons; one being my husband and I move around excessively while he sleep and very early on he learned how to climb out of the bed and its very high and dangerous, and he knows how to open the door so while we are sleeping he has full run of the house.....thats insane

My son was bottlefed not by choice

I rarely ever have left my son with a sitter. I am currently a SAHM and love it that way, unfortunately I do need to go back to work very soon and this will all change

I believe as a mom it is my job to comfort my baby and make him feel loved and reassured when needed. I am always there for him and personally feel that a baby should never be left to CIO, i feel as if id be abandoning my abby to fend for themselves, and showing them Im not reliable to be there for them. Many studies show in the long run the babies who were not left to CIO were actually the most independant later on and more confident about themselves. Babies are only young once soon enough they will grow up and not need us anymore. I want to cherish every minute I get

Shelley - posted on 06/07/2010

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I use the babywise method with both my children. my husband and i have also been involved in facilitating the associated parenting courses.
This style of parenting really suits my husband and i.

C. - posted on 06/07/2010

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I think there needs to be a perfect balance. I don't believe in leaving your child to go hungry if they didn't eat the scheduled meal.. They will eat when they are hungry, we can't tell them when to eat, only they know when they are hungry. If they're not hungry, they're just not going to eat! I do believe that disallowing a snack for your child if they didn't eat their last meal is just plain cruel.



And I don't believe in AP to an extent. I believe you should respond to your baby and let them know that you are there and you love them, etc.. But I don't believe in smothering them, either (as I have seen and heard some mothers do).



Just find your happy medium and there you go!

Jodi - posted on 06/07/2010

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You know, before I was on CoM, I didn't even KNOW that there were these opposing theoretical methods of parenting. I just did what I did. Even my mother said I was a natural parent (which was surprising when you consider that when I was younger I did NOT want children EVER). Now that I look at all the theoretical viewpoints, I parented during those early years with a combination of both. I guess I just followed the cues of the kids and went with my gut :) And both children are independent, well adjusted socially, generally well behaved and respectful, doing well at school, and most importantly, happy!!

[deleted account]

Just to clarify, nowhere in the first babywise book does it say to skip a feeding. It gives the flexibility of feeding anywhere between 2 and 4 hours based on baby's needs. Now there are other babywise books that go past the first six months. Maybe there is suggests to skip a meal, I don't know. But not in the first one, which is the one I read.

Also, it is not a proponent of extreme CIO. CIO for a baby to learn to self sooth, yes. But for no longer than 15 minutes. And it encourages parents to learn baby's cries and respond accordingly.

I don't expect you all to jump on board. It is a pretty extreme form of parenting. But not as extreme as people seem to think it is.

Caitlin - posted on 06/07/2010

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I refused to read any parenting books before I had kids.. I figure people have been raising kids LONG before books, and they did okay, because we aren't extinct yet. I kind of just went with the flow when I had my kids. My first one was harder, I had to learn what worked and what didn't work so well. My olderst daughter was held almost constantly in the first 6 months, I slept with her most nights and fed her on demand. As soon as she was old enough, she pushed me away, she was independant and AP wouldn't have worked. My second daughter is turning out to be somewhat the same, doesn't like being in a wrap or snuggli or anything, she likes when I hold her, but not for too long. I figure everyone has to come up with their own style, and since everybody has different priorities and cultures and upbringings, the way they will raise their children will be different. There is one right way, but there are certainly wrong ways, and my mom wasn't great at what she did.

Becky - posted on 06/07/2010

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I definitely lean more towards AP than to Babywise. While I haven't read the book, (so I guess take my comments with a grain of salt), from what I know of it, it takes the whole schedule and routine thing too far, particularly in the area of feeding. The idea of making a 4 week old baby wait 2-3 hours for the next feeding because he did not wake up right at the moment he was supposed to eat is absolutely absurd, bordering on neglectful, in my eyes. I also don't like the statement that "Your baby's routine is to serve you; you are not to serve your baby's routine.." While I don't think our lives should necessarily revolve around our babies, I think it is ridiculous to expect this tiny, new human to adapt to our very different needs and schedules. Being a parent involves making some sacrifices and concessions.
That said, I do feel some degree of flexible routine is important. I believe on feeding on demand in terms of bottle or breastfeeding, but once my kids are eating solids, they eat when we eat. (although my breastfed baby still bfs in between when he wants to.) And I do think that fairly regular nap and bedtimes are important to good sleep habits. But I also go based on when my kids are tired. If my 2 year old is falling asleep in his highchair at supper time, he'll go to bed early. If he napped until 6 because we were running late for naptime, I might push his bedtime back a bit if he's still going strong at bedtime.
We only sort of cosleep and babywear. My kids do play on their own and I do put the little guy down when I need to get something done. But I also respond to him if he's not happy about that - if he's tired and grumpy, I'll put off doing what I need to do and cuddle him, or wear him if I absolutely need to get it done.
I don't really know many people who do the full-on attachment parenting personally, so I can't comment on what their kids are like. I would say that my method of parenting is, "responsive." My life doesn't revolve completely around my children, but I also don't expect their lives to revolve around my schedule. I meet their needs when they need to be met.
I probably could use a new method in regards to sleep though, because I seriously have the worst sleepers in the world, I think!

Krista - posted on 06/07/2010

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I basically feel the same way as Sarah. I think that it is important to have general routines and schedules in place, particularly for bedtime. But there has to be flexibility there as well. And if my baby wasn't hungry at his usual lunchtime, I most certainly wouldn't make him wait until his next meal! That just seems mean!

I think the best thing is to not get pigeonholed in to one particular philosophy, becoming a slave to it. You have to be open-minded and be willing to adapt to the changing needs (and personality) of your child. I was a bit more AP when Sam was tiny, but he soon showed that he just was not into that. He HATED being worn. If I had tried to force AP on him, we would have both been miserable.

Sarah - posted on 06/07/2010

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I don't like either method really, but i guess i draw from both of them!
I don't like the regimented routine of Babywise, I think there needs to be room for changes in routine. I know people who used such a strict routine that they were a slave to it in the end. They couldn't deviate from it at all, else their babies/toddlers would go mental!!

In saying that, I DO believe in routines, sleep routines and stuff. I just feel they should be flexible at times. I don't like feeding routines for young babies, I always fed on demand. (bottle fed)

I never did co-sleeping or baby wearing. Just wasn't for us. Though the kids did sleep in our room to start with.

I think both theories have their good points and bad points. I wouldn't take either one and raise my kids by it religiously and exclusively. I think you need to get the right balance between all theories.
It also depends on what is going on in your life too, for example, with my youngest, she kind of had to fit in with our routine to an extent, my eldest had to be up and ready for school and picked up from school etc.
So I guess she had slightly more routine than my eldest did.

It also depends on the baby I guess, things like CIO work with some and not others (I used my own little version of CIO which worked wonders!) you have to go with your instincts on your own child.

The best advice I ever got was to ignore all the advice I was given and follow my gut instincts!! :)

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