I am the baby of the family and never really had much experience babysitting really little ones or even being around them too much. So…when I was expecting my first wee one, I really didn’t think I knew the logistics of life with a baby. Thankfully, there were a few baby classes, millions of books and the advice of friends and family to glean from. Unfortunately, I was introduced to Baby Wise/”Growing Kids God’s Way (GKGW)” first. Being type A, loving a good list and order, I hopped on the GKGW train! And I hopped on it hard! I was driving it. And I hadn’t even had my baby yet(You would have thought I learned my lesson). Can you say red flag!
If you aren’t familiar with GKGW, it is basically Baby Wise, but with scripture to “back it up”. That way you feel real guilty if you don’t do it, because hey, God even endorses it. It’s based on a sleep/wake/eat cycle in hopes to get your baby to sleep, most at 8 weeks but all by 12. “What? Your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet…and he’s over 12 weeks old! Do you even know Jesus?”
Also, to protect your family from the dreaded “child run home”. Because we all know that if a mother rocks and feeds her baby to sleep he will grow up and think the whole world should be his foot stool.
Now, I want to say that I was and am very thankful for the hearts of the people who taught us about this book. They opened their homes to us every week, and their time, day or night, if we had questions. They wanted new parents to feel prepared and took time out of their busy schedules to foster to our needs. That is very sweet. I just wish it was a different method/book being taught.
So here are my major problems with the GKGW philosophy. First of all, if you are a new parent thinking about raising your baby using this method, I want to encourage you that if you choose to use a different method, you are still growing your kid God’s way!
1) A+B=C….NOT! My first baby took to the GKGW like a champ. He was sleeping through the night at 12 weeks, maybe even sooner. I did exactly what the book said and it worked! Then baby number 2 came. It did not work! At. ALL! I did the same things and it was just not working. I cried so many times. “What am I doing wrong!” I thought I must be doing something wrong and I had to let him cry himself to sleep…so I tried…and let him cry for two hours…at 9 weeks…It hurts my heart still. Why did it work for one and not the other. Oh…maybe because they are different kids. Light Bulb. PS. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months and now he is my best sleeper!
2) “You poor thing, you have to cuddle your baby” – I didn’t have to rock, sing, cuddle, tip toe. Nope. Just swaddle and lay him down. I thought “Poor moms who have to spend so much time with their baby to get them to sleep.” Who cares how one mothers vs another. Oh that’s right GKGW does. The book will outline the other methods and then reiterate (with scripture) how lofty it is to use the sleep/wake/eat cycle. Just to drive home the point and make you feel guilty/embarrassed if you do it any other way. By baby number three I had tossed the book out the window and decided to cherish the sweet baby cuddles. If it took an extra bit to nurse her to sleep..gasp…I would. And the only person I feel sorry for is me, and the sweet moments I missed with my first two.
3) Mothering Instincts…Not in crazy town – When a soon-to-be first time mom asks me for tips, my first one is to take all the baby books back. God designed women to have babies. He will give you what you need to do it, give yourself a chance. I suppressed any mothering instincts I may have had because I believed to raise a child “God’s way”, I had to follow the principles outlined in a crazy book When something came up and I got frustrated, I didn’t turn to God and pray, I flipped open a book (not the Good one). God also loves community, use yours! Instead of soaking up the wisdom from the wise mothering veterans around me, I shrugged them off like a stuck up punk and thought I had it handled. Believe me…baby number 2 had me crawling back!
Now the book probably does say something like, “these are just principles not hard fast rules…blah blah blah” but in the hands of a type A, control freak, first time mom, it can be dangerous. Save yourself from making my mistakes (you can read more here) and give yourself a break. No matter what method you choose for your family. Babies cry, even at night, sometimes for years, you’re still a good mom!
PS…don’t even get me started about the toddler years books!