Pardon any typo's, I enjoyed perhaps one too many glasses of wine this evening :)
As a Newborn Care Specialist I come in contact with many child rearing techniques, philosophies, styles, troubles and successes. Undeniably there are those I like, those I dis like, and the ones I don't understand. Nevertheless, it is my job to understand, respect, and be able to work with all of the different techniques out there, so I like to review and post and get your comments on them as often as possible!
Since we posted on Attachment Parenting recently I thought we should look at the other popular schools of thought on parenting today. We will look at Ferberizing, EASY, and BabyWise.
FERBERIZING, by Dr Richard Ferber
This would be the opposite approach to Attachment Parenting, both being the extreme. This is also known by many as the "cry it out" or "CIO" method. It is the approach most exaggerated in negative light probably by misunderstanding and misuse that lead to some sad expereinces. Admittedly, I am turned off by anything called after the guy who came up with it, and since when do we mommies want to learn parenting from a man anyways?!! No offense but parenting seems more like a woman/mother's domain to me. Most effective households I am familiar with are run by women and the dads follow her advice and lead.
Despite all theses inital negative reactions, this method is quite sensible and certainly works when taken as a guide rather than doing it exactly by the book. It is very important that any extreme method be adapted to each family and child, and is best employed with help from a professional out side of the family. A professional can help adapt the method to the family and baby, and has an easier time carrying out the less emotional more methodical approaches. As a new mother and Newborn Care professional, the Ferber method is much easier with other people's children than your own!
According to BabyCenter
Why is Ferber's approach so controversial?
Not all parents and parenting experts believe it's okay to leave a small child alone to cry, even for a few minutes. "No cry" advocates consider Ferber's approach harmful to children, and argue that it could undermine a child's sense of security in the world.
Some of the controversy surrounding the Ferber method also springs from widespread misunderstanding about what his method actually involves.
The new edition is a more flexible approach. Ferber's tone in the updated volume is a little warmer and more relaxed than it was two decades ago. Years of working with families have taught him that a wide range of approaches to sleep can work, and in the new book he encourages parents to adapt his program to the needs of their particular child and family culture.
Rumor: Ferber says you should let your child cry it out alone in his crib until he falls asleep.....
Baby Center goes on to ditinguish the facts from the rumors
Dr. Ferber himself addresses the hard questions from the good and bad experienes parents have had with his approach and what his true intentions are....
BABY WISE, by Dr. Gary Ezzo
"On Becoming Babywise is more than an infant-management concept; it is a mind-set for responsible parenthood."
~from the ParentWise site by Co-Authors of On Becoming BabyWise
I personally couldn't get through this book because of the condescending tone of the author(s), but the general method is pretty close to what I do with my baby, and recommended by my very caring middle of the road pediatrician.
A great critique from an Attachment Parenting mom out there:
"Babywise Is Anything But Wise": (click underlined title to follow link)
Gary Ezzo reduces parenting to lists of do’s and don’ts. This would work if babies were machines. But they are not. His feeding schedules are considered medically dangerous, producing a fair number of malnourished
babies. His methods of ignoring a babies cry are known to lead to depression and attachment disorder. He teaches parents to ignore their basic parenting instincts and stick to his schedule instead. He claims that parenting instincts don’t exist. Well, I have three sons, and I can tell you that my parenting instincts are alive and well, and helping me each and every day to be the best parent I can be. According to Dr. William Sears, Dr. Jack Newman and Dr James Dobson (all of whom have verifiable credentials and have published excellent books on the same topics covered in Babywise) parenting instincts are an extremely important aid in child rearing... Babywise completely misses and undermines all the most rewarding and exciting parts of parenting."
EASY, by Tracy Hogg, The Baby Whisperer
As a parent I chose to take the E.A.S.Y. route by Baby Whisperer Tracy Hogg. Tracy teaches that a human's natural rythm is to eat, be active, then sleep, rather than to eat and go right to sleep. Like me, Tracy believes in teaching and preparing babies for real life in our culture by respecting them as capable individuals (to an age appropriate extent). She debunks attachement philosophies that encourage parents to cater to babies as completely dependant and insecure little beings. In the company of the late Magda Gerber, Ms Hogg advocates respecting children and babies to learn and accomplish and resolve things on their own with our support but without our unnecessary interferences. Throughout her Baby Whisperer series Tracy teaches nearly the exact same tenants as Magda did with her RIE method that I have loved and incorporated into my life for the past 5 years.
No Matter Which Approach you decide to try, if you are having trouble knowing what to do consider consulting a professional who can come in with an outside objective perspective. Professionals have experience with all these methods and many different babies/families, and can more easily select the best and discard the worst of each method to fit your family.