I know it’s a touchy subject….

…but I feel the need to talk about Babywise again. A lot of my close friends and family used this parenting technique and have sworn by it, but I honestly cannot wrap my mind around the whole concept of letting your brand new baby (who has only known your womb) cry ALONE in his/her crib for a period of time. I don’t get it. Ok, maybe older babies I can understand this a bit more, but brand new babies? And I don’t really get the scheduled feeding thing either. I get it to a point, but honestly, aren’t some babies little bellies maybe just smaller and need to eat more often than every 3 1/2 hours?

It isn’t necessarily the long distance between feedings that bother me, but the crying alone in their crib. What in the world is wrong with rocking your baby to sleep? It isn’t like you are going to be rocking a twelve year old to sleep. I understand that this is just a preference in parenting, but I honestly just don’t understand it in the least bit. Everything inside me SCREAMS to go and pick up Maisie when she cries. I am not talking a little whimper of, “Mom, I don’t like this.” Although, I have been known to more often than not pick her up when she has those cries as well. Maybe I spoil her, or maybe I am just showing her that right now her mom is going to be there for her.

I am not claiming to have all this figured out or even that MY way is the right way.

I just wish that people wouldn’t take such a strong stance on the whole thing. I wish churches would offer classes on attachment parenting as well as Babywise. I wish moms would listen to that feeling inside them (their motherly instincts…which are there for a reason by the way), I wish that Christians wouldn’t claim to have all the answers, I wish things could be a bit more natural. I guess I am more of a hippie than I thought.

I personally LOVE the way we have chosen to parent. I think back to how insecure I was in those first days, weeks, months, but Justin and I can now look back and be quite satisfied with how we have parented. Is that cocky? I don’t mean to be. I am just saying that I love being a parent and I think a big part of that came from listening to myself.

For you seasoned parents out there, next time someone asks you for advice with a newborn, simply tell them to listen to themselves. I think it would work best 99 percent of the time. I know that co-sleeping isn’t for everyone. I know that feeding on demand isn’t for everyone, I know that rocking your baby to sleep most nights isn’t for everyone. But those things are all for us and I am not ashamed of it in the least bit.

The funny this is that I read Babywise two times before I had Maisie and even skimmed through it during her first month of life. Reading it before I had her I thought that it was something that I would probably follow, but once Maisie actually came into the picture, I realized it was definitely not for us.

To all you new moms out there, LISTEN TO YOURSELF!!! You will know what to do. Shut out those outside voices and listen to your instincts. That is the best advice I was given when I had Maisie. It is actually quite empowering to know that you have what it takes to parent this child and you don’t have to learn it from a book, although they can be quite helpful at times! 🙂

Sorry to go off about that, it has just really been on my mind the last couple days.


  1. Jeremy B on May 14, 2008 at 12:35 am

    Well, I read this and feel like I have to respond. I just don’t know everything I want to say about this. We are 4 1/2 weeks away from becoming first time parents. And to some extent, I can sympathize with your feelings here. You don’t want a program to tell you how to raise a child. You want to go with your instinct, little voice inside, God’s voice, etc. You want to raise your child being the unique person and parent you are. And I am all for that.

    I know some people think we are nuts. We haven’t taken a single parenting, birth (labor and delivery), breast feeding, or any other class. We don’t have a lot of stuff like toys, cribs, furniture, outfits, etc. and all that other stuff that people get for their babies. Yet, I think when the time comes we will be ready. I want to raise my child with enough but not a lot. I want him to experience life and not need toys, gadgets, games, TV, video, and eventually, cell phones and video games. I don’t want to live my life centered on my kid but want my kid to be every part of our lives. We will continue to travel and do the things we love and impart the values that mean something to us as we want him to enjoy that ride with us as he discovers who he is. And I don’t want him to fall in love with consumerism or American culture but as best I can, teach him what really matters and how I can give him a good life even if it isn’t the “best life” as we tend to define it today. And I know that will make my job harder in the end. But it’s unique and me and my desire to live and raise my child differently. Yet, there will be times I want help and advice and then will use that along with what we think is best to make decisions.

    We don’t have all this planned. We aren’t signed up for babywise or a parenting class or some other structured method. We will wing it. I don’t know if this is right or wrong, naive or foolish, wise thinking or stupid reasoning. But it’s what I have for now. And I feel like we will figure out the rest along the way. Sorry for the long comment but being a month away, this kind of stuff is on my mind a lot.

  2. Lori on May 14, 2008 at 4:40 am

    Jen… Ditto! Thanks for saying it! And Jeremy… that’s exactly what we did (no classes, no books… just winged it) and we have a healthy, happy 9 month old baby!

  3. Alyssa on May 14, 2008 at 8:08 am

    Yay! You know I’m totally with you on this one. 🙂 Things got so much easier for me and Tim too when we finally decided to just ignore all the books and do what was best for our own kids! And I think our babies were much happier with that too. And I still rock my two and a half year old every night and it’s one of our favorite times of the day! She doesn’t fall asleep anymore with it, but I love having that cuddly time with her at bedtime.
    So thanks for sharing! You and Justin are such great parents. Love you!

  4. Jen Powell on May 14, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Jeremy- I really respect your wanting to not stop your life for your child and instead, bringing him along with you. We have tried to do that with Maisie, but have at times fallen into the stupid consumerism thing. Shut MUST have an exersaucer! Things like that! I did find our birthing classes SUPER helpful as I had no idea what to expect, but I also see how you will probably naturally know what to do as well. The most helpful information I read was on breast feeding, but you can always get help after the fact if things aren’t working the way you thought. Plus, I am sure there are LOTS of people that would be willing to answer a few questions! Are you having your child in a hospital, or home birth? Hey, we are in Sac, and would love to see you guys if you can fit us in before the birth! It would be fun to talk about this in person!!

    Lori and Alyssa- Thanks for the support! I am sure a lot of people don’t necessarily agree with me and I am totally fine with that! I mostly just wanted to let parents know they don’t HAVE to follow that and if they choose not to, they are still good parents and not going against God’s plan for parenting. BLAH!

  5. ericka espe on May 14, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    yes and AMEN!!! I totally agree with you. I have a 12 year old daughter, with whom I “used” the babywise “technique”, if you will, and later had so much guilt about not being able to hold, cuddle, pick up when crying, feed on demand, and sleep with, that I really struggled with feelings of insecurity in my mothering. I finally, after 6 weeks of guilt, threw the book away. And, I’m so grateful to report that she is a very secure, loving 12 year old, who sleeps through the night!! I’m disappointed that there are books out there that use God’s name to promote a “way” of parenting. What new Christian parent wouldn’t want to do something “God’s way”?
    Thankfully, there was a very wise women at my church who lovingly discipled me and encouraged me, through grace to do what my heart was telling me to do. I think so often we will turn to tangible answers in a book, or someone’s philosophy on a topic, before we really turn to God through prayer. Asking Him for wisdom on all things, through His Word, is always best.

  6. Leslie Boxell on May 14, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    You are so right about listening to your own instincts. I have struggled and still struggle with the whole listening to everyone else and what they think is right to do with a child who at 2 years old still didn’t sleep through the night. (Let her cry it out, time her and then get her, etc.) It has caused a lot of anxiety and so, Scott and I decided to go with what we felt was best for Jada, knowing the type of child she is… She is now sleeping through the night at 2 1/2 yrs. old. FINALLY!!

  7. Jen Powell on May 14, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Ericka- I’m glad that you had people to encourage you to listen to yourself.

    Leslie- Thanks for the comment! 🙂 I am happy you guys figured out what is best for you and Jada! That is the MOST important thing!!! I have also found that when more people speak into our parenting, the more insecure I get. I just have to toughen up and have faith in how God has prepared us for parenthood. That’s not to say that I stopped listening to people. That’s important too. But I think it is okay to trust our instincts. Anyways, sorry to go off on that again!!! I hope we can hang out when we come back to Portland!!! Maybe the zoo again?

  8. Diane on May 14, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    I totally agree with you all! It’s not always easy being as parent and I have asked for advice before only to regret asking. LOL! I was told to let my first baby cry himself to sleep. I tried it and cried right along with him. We never did that again.
    I’m opening a can of worms here, I’m sure but………I have issues with the ways some believe in spanking. I was never spanked a a child. I just don’t think it’s the way to go. My kids are good and don’t need to be spanked either. I can find other ways to disapline.

  9. Jeremy B on May 15, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Jen, it helps that my wife is a physical therapist and her mom and aunt were nurses. So she feels comfortable with things even though I have no clue what is going on. For me, I am making a conscious effort now to not do the consumerism thing. I have other vices that I will need to work through but having stuff and spoiling my kid is not something I want. I joke that I will give my kid a tennis ball to play with and ask that he take turns and share it with the dog. 🙂 And yes, we are having our baby in a hospital. And I will try to make it on Sunday although Kristen is going to relax and take it easy this weekend. She has a busy weekend and 36 weeks is not the easiest time for her.

    Diane, I have to disagree on spanking. There is nothing wrong with it. I was spanked and numerous kids I knew growing up were spanked. There is a line between punishment and abuse. The state chooses to investigate and punish those who spank their kids and actually care about their lives and ignore parents who don’t even care what their kids are doing. But that is a debate for another time. I respect those that don’t wish to spank. However, there are times spanking can be good and works. It’s each parent’s choice but it’s hard to find fault with when it is done the right way.

  10. Amy Ginther on May 15, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Oh, Jen, how I love thee! I love the little girl you rock to sleep at night too! You are doing an amazing job, and I am sorry that you have had insecurities along the way…I’m just glad you keep doing what is right for your family! Luckily, I was the first in my circle of friends to have a baby. I was spared the advice and gifting of “parenting books.” I was finishing college classes and didn’t have time to take labor/delivery/breastfeeding classes (I kept telling myself the nurses were there with me on “that” day for a reason). I have never fixated what I think should happen, or how I want this or that to go, or what I will do when certain situations arise…I just take each day as it comes. Live in the moment! You keep running to her when she cries, and enjoy it! Cause someday she’s gonna throw a full blown fit or force the tears to get her way (it’s hard to believe, I know), and you will be able to smile about it.

    Gotta go now…Eliza wants to see “Maisieeeeee!” and she is getting impatient 🙂 I love you guys!!!

  11. Jocelyn on May 15, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Hey guys,
    Jenn, I totally hear what you’re saying and I agree that there needs to be a variety of ways to raise your children so that people don’t feel bogged down to “only one way”. At the same time though, I did use babywise with both of my boys and they are AMAZING! They both slept 12 hourse at night by 4 months old. I think what I don’t like about babywise is that too many people use it to the extreme rather than use the idea to help teach your children. I know I’m the only one commenting on your blog that is for it. . but I don’t ever promote it unless asked what I did with our kiddos. Anyway, I’m a very scheduled person and I found babywise was wonderful~ did I still snuggle my kids? Absolutely! Did they fall asleep in my arms? Absolutely! Did I let them cry themselves to sleep? At times~ I’d make sure they weren’t hurting or in danger. I wanted to teach them that they’ll be fine sleeping without mommy. Anyway, I think as long as we all promote what is best for each of us, then God is happy. I’m so thankful there isn’t just one way to parent. What a great blog topic!!!
    Love ya and miss ya,
    Jocelyn (use to be Kennedy)

  12. TulipGirl on May 15, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    I’m with you. . .

    And yet. . . I used Babywise. It’s sometimes hard for us (now with experience) to remember what it is like to be the new parent, wanting to do everything “just right.” I didn’t look to Babywise (and it’s religious incarnation, Preparation for Parenting) because I was looking for a “method” or a parenting guru. Like most people that follow the Babywise ideas, I had SO many people sing the praises of Babywise that I thought that it MUST be good, and the information in it solid.

    Boy, was I wrong. Babywise/Prep is not supported by any sound research. What is known about infant biology and physiology is contrary to Babywise. How breastfeeding actually works hormonally is contrary to Babywise. That it “works” for some families is more a result of a baby who happens to fit into the BW program combined with truly loving, actively involved parents. That, combined with the self-fulfilling prophecies BW puts on parents, Oh, so many people will say, “What a good baby! I mean, c’mon, how often do strangers walk up and say “What an awful, cranky, ugly baby!” So, it is reinforcing for the parents, and they give the glory to Babywise rather than recognizing love and time and care are what are bringing results.

    And as much as Ezzo, et al., protest it–Babywise does undermine the milk supply of so many mothers and consequently infants often don’t get sufficient calories for optimal growth and development. In extreme examples, the infant is actually diagnosed with dehydration, failure to thrive, or hospitalized.

    Ugh. That was our experience. Losing milk supply and failure to thrive. And even using the Babywise “Healthy Growth Charts” and consulting with the regional directors for the organization behind BW, and being an observant and cautious mother, FTT crept up. It was a horrifying, scary, upsetting, miserable experience.

    And yet. . . I was so deluded by my mothering peers and people of influence in my life, that I couldn’t see initially that the weight loss and milk loss was related to Babywise. Can you believe I tried Babywise AGAIN with my second? Again milk supply loss, no FTT. . . I was much too paranoid for that. It wasn’t until my third child was born that I finally ditched BW and had success in breastfeeding and no worried about weight gain. . .

    Okay. . . so I shared more than I intended. . . My main point is that Babywise moms are just like you and me, loving their kids, wanting the best. . . But somehow susceptible to the misinformation in a lousy baby book. For some of them, they won’t see any problems (at least, initially.) Others will only partially apply the ideas and thus avoid at least part of the problems. Some will have babies that “fit in” the routine. But most of them will think any good they see in their babies is a result of Babywise, and any problems are with themselves. . . Feh.

  13. eva on May 16, 2008 at 5:26 am

    I still feed Arianna on demand. It may not always be the most convenient way to go (that is an understatement!), but it is the natural way to do it. I mean- we (adults)are not always hungry on a schedule, either, are we?

    About the sleeping- I usually put Ari in her crib while she is still awake (but sleepy), but she never fusses. If she were to start crying, I’d probably rock her to sleep…

  14. Hugh on May 16, 2008 at 10:06 am

    You made many great points. CYO is not the child’s choice, co-sleeping is!

    Go to http://www.co-sleepingsurvey.com and count your self as a great Mom!

  15. Kate Fretland on May 16, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Wow! This is a great topic! I agree with so many- especially that guy Jeremy…

    I believe that parenting is a wonderful experience that requires mentorship, not book’s with formula’s. New parents should find older parents who have raised children and are not estranged from them. Women who have raised 9 year olds and teen’s. These women are the ones with the good’s! They are more apt to be humble enough to admit failed choices, and seasoned with the experiences of their success.
    The author of Growing Kid’s God’s Way is estranged from his adult children surely due to the rigid control methodology his book teaches. ( This is very similar to Baby Wise)
    Focus on the Family have come out against this literature as well as many medical group’s due to the loss of milk mother’s have had from the timed feedings. In the womb, your child is connected to an umbilical cord where he/she randomly receives food. God chose this system. To me, that suggests that a small infant should be gently acclimated to our way of life, and not times by us, but by their already set in place pattern.

    I am thankful that people speak in forum’s like this one Jen has for teaching. I am also grateful that God’s grace will cover over the million’s of mistakes we parents will make. I hope our generation can find the balance of teaching where God leads…and avoid opinionated statements that don’t teach (and have accusations) like:
    ” Oooh! You have her in your bed still? Good luck getting her out!”-
    “Oh, wow! You’re having a home birth? You’re so brave! I could never take that “risk”!-
    “You’re spanking? I hope he doesn’t learn that behavior and become violent!”-
    “Harry Potter!!! Wow…” –
    “You’re going to have an epidural, wow, I hope the baby will be okay.”
    “Oh, I would never home-school! I could never do that to my kid!” …The list goes on…..

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