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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a new mom myself, and from the beginning I have practiced AP, even before I knew what AP was.

My older sister just had a baby 2 weeks ago and is having a hard time adjusting to the new life of being a parent. I think she's having some PPD, which I also struggled with, so I really want to be very sensitive to her. I held my tongue when I found out they had circumsized their son, and haven't pushed my beliefs on her yet. I have, however, provided her with links to this message board many times and with the Attached Parents community on Livejournal (which I also really enjoyed before I discovered MDC)

Anyway, today I got this e-mail from her; to summarize:

She's trying to do the Babywise program, to help facilitate sleeping through the night at 6 or 7 weeks of age. Baby isn't interested in playing after nursing (though at 2 weeks, what baby IS interested in playing?!? She feels mixed up, questioning her decision to become a parent, grieving for the "lost life" she had before, etc., finding it hard to see the positive points of being a parent.

Yikes. Now, despite my struggle with PPD, I never felt this bad. I also never even considered doing something like Babywise. I don't know that much about it, but it seems to be in poor favor here. I do understand that my sister is never going to be a fully crunchy mama, but really had hoped that I might influence her somewhat. I just have no idea how to respond to this e-mail without seeming preachy instead of supportive.

I want to be a supportive and helpful friend to her, but am not sure how to talk to her. Any guidance would be SO helpful. Also, our older brother is a pediatrician and not really co-sleeping/AP friendly. At least my sister IS nursing and that relationship got off without a hitch (except for a case of so-called "breastmilk jaundice" which resulted in her doing formula for 1 day. Don't get me started!) and luckily her one day of formula feeding was unpleasant enough that she luckily sees nursing as much easier.

Thanks mamas!
 

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Hi Mama,
I'm a still-gestating-mama myself, so my advice comes with almost no experience.
My own sister was (and is) a big fan of Babywise - I always had the sense that parenting seemed so overwhelming to her that she was so grateful to any philosophy that would just tell her what to do. I definately don't think it would be too preachy to talk to her about following her own intuition -she can see that her ds is happy to sleep after eating, does she really think there's anything wrong with that? I think you could be a strong support for her, reminding her that she already knows everything that she needs to be a great mom. Post-partum is such a difficult time anyway, not counting how it's when we abandon the new family - most women feel "alone" in post-partum, and it's not surprising that they turn to a how-to-book that purports having the answers. In short, I think some encouragement from you regarding her intuition (and the subsequent AP stuff) will probably help her in a myriad of ways.
 

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*She* *says* the book says 6-7 weeks of age and she's trying at 2 weeks?!??!? (Not that it's any better at 6 weeks old or any age.)

She has at least the "baby blues", that's clear, and it might turn into PPD. I'd ask the mamas on that forum for resources. And "if you would have been able to have your sister to say/do anything in those first few weeks what would it have been?"

It's also clear that your sister doesn't know about basic baby development. There's a lot of BS on BabyCenter, but if Baby Wise is appealing to her she might respond better to: http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/bab...t/1477167.html than AP sites.

Anything you can do to help, like offering to do laundry or something so she can nap with her baby will go a long way. Don't offer to take care of your nephew, that can undermine your sister's confidence and make matters worse.

And finally:
www.ezzo.info
and
http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/9108.html
 

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If she is into the whole "listen to a doctor because they are an MD" type of thing then she can tell her that the APA does NOT recomend BabyWise.
 

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Well, she sounds desperate. And she also sounds like she has instincts that she isn't trusting, but that she wants to trust. She can see that her baby doesn't want to play after nursing, and she's letting him sleep. But she feels bad about it. The fact that she realizes that the "program" won't work for her right now is promising, IMO. To somebody who just doesn't know better, and who isn't getting any sleep, a program like Babywise sounds fabulous. Hopefully if you show her some mainstream links about Babywise she'll give it up.

Truthfully, I felt the way she is describing, although not as soon as two weeks after my DS was born (most likely because I had my DH home with me still). I think they are all normal feelings. I would keep an eye out for PPD, but at 2 weeks there is so much adjusting going on. Do you live close by? I think she needs people to hang out with her during the day. That's what I needed most at that stage, to keep me grounded. And also being told that what I was going through was normal, and that it would get better, helped immensely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Oh, shoot. I totally forgot about posting e-mails. That was not very thoughtful of me. To summarize and also respond to some of the great responses I've gotten so far:

My sister is about 7 hours away from me, so it's not really feasible for me to do any in-person helping. However, my parents (both of whom just retired) are only a couple of hours away and actually spent the first two whole weeks with her. Today was her first day without my parents there, so I think that is contributing to her concerns.

Also, our older brother is a pediatrician and not really that AP-friendly. I doubt he would recommend Babywise, though!! Anyway, Some great advice here so far. I will take some time to put together some links I think might help her, and just recommend them as "things and resources that saved my sanity when I was going through something similar".

Thanks again, and I'll try to post an update after I have a chance to talk to her.
 

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Depending on your relationship with your sister, maybe you should just tell her straight up how you parent your child, and offer suggestions to her that are very AP. I also agree with another poster who said it sounds like she doesn't know much about infant development. Is there a parent/baby class that she can enroll in? I did that with my first, and the advice was very AP, and it helped so much. It was like a weekly support group. They were very down on Ezzo and Ferber, and very supportive of following instincts.

Otherwise maybe you could send her Dr. Sears books for the holidays, or something? The Baby Book is like the best book for new parents, I think.
 

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weird, I just responded to a babywise Q on another board. here's what I said:
"Babywise is considered very harmful by both my pediatrician and my therapist, who has a background in child development. Read www.ezzo.info for a diffferent perspective on the author of that book. Any kind of aggressive scheduling is basically the enemy of a breastfeeding relationship. Around 10-12 weeks, a pattern will start to emerge, more of a routine for your baby's day than a schedule tied to the clock. The newborn period is really a crapshoot, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just making more work for you and frustrating your baby.

Books I found helpful include "The Baby Book" by Dr. Sears, "Happiest Baby on the Block" by Harvey Karp, and "Wonder Weeks." I've also read excerpts of "No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley, and she's got some good things to say about naps and night sleep for later on. Really, just roll with the newborn stuff. It gets better!"

people supplied these links, too.
http://www.kellymom.com/store/review...-to-avoid.html

http://www.fresnofamily.com/ap/ezzo.htm

http://www.babycenter.com/refcap/9108.html

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/199...06feature.html
(she might really relate to the opening sentences of that one)

It does sound like she's depressed or just feeling really overwhelmed on her first day. Just reinforce that she can trust her instincts, and if something feels wrong, don't do it. Routine will come, but not a precise schedule. We as adults don't do the same thing every day at precisely the same time, nor do we sleep seamlessly through every night. Try to help her arrange support, seek a parenting class, a therapist, LLL if she breastfeeds (tell her it's a social thing maybe). Describe to her how helpful using a sling can be - that was the best thing for feeling some semblance of the old independence, you aren't tied at home with a crib for naps, you can be on the go.
 

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Mother Shock: loving every (other) minute of it by Andrea Buchanan might be a good book for her to read. It's a book of personal essays that compares the stages of new motherhood to the stages of culture shock.
 

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Why don't you give her som GOOD suggestions of books to read? There are book lists in the GD forum. Also she can look at Dr. Sears site, he's the crunchy Doc for the mainstreamers.


From a mother of three here, I would just tell her the absolute best thing she can do is lay down and nurse her baby as much as possible. Don't worry about getting stuff done around the house. Laying and nursing will keep them rested, increase her supply, and help her bond with the baby.
 

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As someone who actually took the "Along the Infant Way" class (just wanted to see what it was all about, and am not using any of their advice), I will mention that even the Ezzos say don't try to begin any of the "training" until after the first 2 weeks. The first 2 weeks you are to "turn the clocks around and concentrate on getting in full feedings".

I feel so sorry that your sister has bought into the whole Babywise thing, and especially that it isn't living up to her expectation of it. I don't really have any advice on what you should say to her. Family is hard, and nobody wants someone else telling them how to parent. I liked a pp's suggestion to buy her a copy of The Baby Book, and encourage her in her parenting. Just modeling good parenting is a great way to teach it!

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone for your responses. I actually own a copy of The Baby Book which I will send her, and also the No Cry Sleep Solution. The thing is, her baby is actually sleeping for 4-5 hours at a stretch and also sleeps in the crib! My mom says he only cries for a minute, when he is hungry or sleepy, and is "an easy baby". I guess I can strongly reiterate to her that she should try to sleep when he does, but right now he's sleeping well from 9pm-1am, then 1:30am to 5am, then again until about 9am. I can't imagine a nighttime doula improving things that much, KWIM?

I guess I've forgotten somewhat that helpless feeling of frustration in the first few weeks; at least, for me the feelings have definitely dulled over time. Yes, our lives change completely and you do lose a lot of independence, but these days are short and there are lots of ways to get out and about.

I did send her my trusty Windy Day Kozy and ordered her a brand new Mamma's Milk Adjustable Pouch (I never really got the hang of pouches myself and preferred wraps and MTs) but she doesn't seem real open to experimentation at this stage. I guess the best I can do is offer lots of support, good information, and withhold judgement of any sort. After all, I'm the one who called our big brother in tears last night because my husband is insisting DS (10 months) start sleeping in the crib part of the night!

Ah well. We just live and learn, don't we?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I could just scream right now. My mother just called me and somehow we got onto the topic of Babywise. Apparently my mother read the book before she left my sister's house this week so that she could help back up my sister. I made the mistake of offering my opinion, which is that I wished she would consider some alternatives to Babywise, and the whole conversation just spun out of control. My mom and I have always had a very volatile relationship, but I have not lost control like that in years. I ended up yelling at her and obviously that didn't get my point across very well.
:

She basically said, she doesn't want me sending my sister ANY books that "oppose" her point of view and that until I've read the book myself, I should just shut up. I tried to really come across as objective and not pushing any agenda, but it just fell apart on me.

Now I feel like both wringing my mother's neck, and calling to apologize. She just has that way of making me feel so small, so stupid, and worthless... and of course, angry. Now I know she will be calling my sister and making some pointless comments to stir up drama. I'm just going to send her the books I have and say that they helped me a lot. That's all I was going to do anyway. Now it seems like I can't do anything right. Sorry for dumping all that on here but I just really feel like screaming.
:
 
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