The authors of Babywise claim that it doesn't have to be that way and that using the methods described in their book will help you help your baby sleep through the night (or larger chunks of the night) at an earlier age. Most of the advice centers around establishing a feeding schedule. New babies should be fed every 2.5 hours (from the start of one feeding to the start of the next) and should not be spaced more than 3 hours apart. Mothers should do whatever they need to (change diaper, unwrap the baby so he's cooler) to keep him awake for a full feeding. Then the baby stays awake a bit, goes to sleep, and the cycle repeats. As the baby moves toward the 8 - 9 week mark, he can start to sleep for longer periods during the night without waking to feed.
Problems - according to the authors - arise when babies eat a little then sleep, then eat a little then sleep so baby never really gets full and Mom is a 24-hour milk machine who never gets a break. They also occur when every cry for comfort (unrelated to hunger) are met with an offer of milk.
While all of the advice in the book seems reasonable, I couldn't help but dislike reading it. There seemed to be a not-so-subtle undertone that if the baby doesn't take to a schedule perfectly, it is because the mother is doing something wrong. She's either feeding the baby too much or not enough or holding the baby too much or not enough. There's no room for differences in a baby's needs or temperament. If the baby cries during the night after 8 or 9 weeks it's because you are a bad mother, which is not super encouraging.
So while I'm going to try to work toward getting our baby on a schedule before I get back to work, I think trying to live and die by the recommendations in this book are a recipe for crazy-making. I'm glad I read it, but I wouldn't recommend it to a friend - especially not a friend dealing with a baby who doesn't want to go to sleep.