The Concept of Babywise, and Our Take On It

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He loves playing airplane…and I love him sleeping through the night;)

 

Being a first-time mama is overwhelming in general. In all the best ways, and also in some just hard ways. You are consumed by this crazy love for your new miracle, but you are also consumed by lack of sleep {and worry if you are like me}. I know I am not a Type-A person, but I do love having a game-plan. Especially when I am going in to a situation that I have never been in, I like to know that I at least have a refernece point that I can try and rely on.

There are about a million and one baby books out there. Happiest Baby on the Block, Babywise, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, the list could go on and on. I personally chose Babywise simply because if there was something out there that could help me know around what time my baby was going to eat and sleep each day, I wanted in! I also have some friends who followed it and have incredibly happy, beautiful, sleeping babies. I also have friends who follow no schedule, and some who do a little of it all. Just a reminder for me that each baby is different. 🙂

Also, as a first-time mama I was unsure of myself in many ways, as I think most are. I was nervous that I would not be able to tell what Bray’s cries meant, and therefore not know how to help him. That was one thing that was so appealing about Babywise, if he cried around a certain time I knew exactly what it was about.

If you have never heard of,or read about Babywise, here is the basic scoop. Starting after your baby is two weeks {before that they just say to focus on making sure your baby is taking full feedings, meaning not simply sucking for a little and falling asleep at the boob} you want to attempt to get them on a routine. You want them to always Eat, Wake, Sleep. You start your day at the same time each day, and from there you usually start on a 2 1/2 hour schedule. Example: 7am you would feed them, play with them for a little {at only 2 weeks old they are usually only capable of being awake for a total of 30 minutes – this includes the time it takes them to eat and get a diaper change}, and then put them back to sleep. You then repeat this cycle at 9:30, 12, 2:30, 5, and so on. At night time when they are under 5 weeks, you are supposed to wake them to feed {if they actually are still sleeping – mine never was!} if they try and sleep past 5 hours. After 5 weeks you can let them go longer if they want to. Braylen usually would only still go around 3-4 hours until he was 5 weeks, and then he started stretching it a little more.

Another big thing with Babywise is they want you to help your baby learn how to sleep on their own. This means not feeding them to sleep {other than in the middle of the night, and for most moms being realistic – for putting them to bed at night}, not relying on ‘sleep props’ like swings, bouncy seats, not always rocking them to sleep, etc.

The book says by following what it says that on average around 80% of the babies will be sleeping through the night by 9 weeks. Thats a high percentage!

Now, here is my tale with Babywise. I didn’t even read the book until he was two weeks old, and when I did I kinda freaked out. I thought that there was no way I was not going to ever rock my baby to sleep, use a swing, and so forth. I got so overwhelmed trying to figure out how to put him on a schedule. In the beginning I just would write down every time he would eat, and try to see if there was any pattern to it throughout the week. I also didn’t follow the ‘start your day at the same time’ until he was about 4 weeks. There was no way I was going to wake my baby up if we had been up in the middle of the night multiple times…I wanted that extra little bit of sleep!

At 4 weeks was when we kind of figured out a little bit of a schedule, and thankfully he was a baby who followed it very easily – so I never felt like it was forced. I also found this blog that was a lifesaver for me in the beginning – Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. She has used Babywise with all four of her kids, which I liked because she tells how to use it when each child is different. She also incorporates a lot of Baby Whisperer tips into it. Through that blog, and a friend’s tip, I also joined two Babywise online groups. One is through Google, and then other is through Proboards {I believe you have to request membership, but it’s free}. Those groups were so amazing to help me troubleshoot schedules, random questions, freak-out moments, everything!

Braylen is now a week shy of being four months…I don’t know how that happened! 😉 He is on a great {and consistent} schedule , where he eats at 7, 10, 1, 4,  7, and a dream feed at around 10pm. He has been sleeping through the night since about 12 weeks {halleujiah!}. He still wakes up and needs his paci every few nights, but no longer needs a feeding until we start our day again at 7am! I’m not going to lie, the sleeping through the night thing changes everything! I suddenly felt human again! I felt like I could make it through my days without needing a nap, even though sometimes I still want onev- who doesn’t?! I started letting him cry {if needed, which is usually only a few days a week} for up to 10 minutes at about 14 weeks. The first few nights we had him sleeping at night in his crib he cried a few times, and since then, its only a few times a week. Some Babywise concepts do include crying it out, but for us that just doesn’t work. I can’t handle hearing him cry too much – he is a baby-with needs-that-I-can-meet, plus it’s not good for his reflux. So there again, is another thing I change up from the protocol, and thats ok.

Overall, for us, Babywise works great. Bray has his daily routine down pat and it makes everything so much easier for everyone. We can leave the house and I know exactly when he needs to eat, and almost to the minute- when he will start to get tired and want to go to sleep. It also makes it easy for us to leave him with family, because I can tell them to a tee what his day will usually look like.

Now don’t get me wrong: we have off days. We have gone on vacation and thrown the schedule out the window, so I could not stress about it, even though he still pretty much followed it on his own! There are days where he naps terribly, or doesn’t eat great at a feeding. For the most part though, it’s predictable…and we love it. Even if he didn’t follow the typical STTN by 9 weeks average, I will glady take the 12 week time frame:)

Trust me, I know that Babywise is not for everyone, nor does everyone even agree with the principles of it. I think the important thing for us all to realize is that every mama needs to do what is best/what works for their family. For us, that just happens to be Babywise. 🙂

So tell me, did you follow any books or principles? I’d love to hear about them, and also the adjustments you made on your own!

11 COMMENTS

  1. I love this! You are such a great mama!! I’m so happy you guys were able to find something that worked so well for you. You know that we totally love it too 🙂

  2. I’m a babywise mama and my kids are now 4 and 7. My experiences were similar to yours – I used the concepts and the schedule, but had to do what my instincts told me as well. I firmly believe that giving your baby sleep is just as important to his/her development as giving your baby food!

    My 7 year old goes to bed every night around 8/8:30pm with NO protest at all. Last night, at 8:25 he came to me and said “I want to go to bed.” That’s the beauty of a babywise child. He values sleep and wants to go to bed when he is tired. I firmly believe that a babywise child will have a much better life as a child and adult because he has learned to appreciate the benefits of a good night’s sleep!

    My 4 year old is in the process of dropping her afternoon nap. But, she also goes to bed every night with NO PROTEST.

    Having a peaceful bedtime routine with two kids in the house is such a blessing, and I attribute it directly to teaching them to sleep when they were babies using the babywise concepts. It worked for us. I know it’s not for everyone, but I’m a believer!

    • We follow Babywise and my son is thriving according to the doctors. If you are a smart parent, any parenting style that you choose to follow and works well with your family will be fine. Babywise parents don’t starve their children. We are normal, we just believe children do best on a routine. As do most humans. Our kiddos aren’t malnourished, they get fed plenty and let us know when they need more/less. FYI

    • This isn’t an official statement from the AAP. It’s just an opinion piece by one (pro-attachment-parenting) pediatrician in a newsletter from almost 20 years ago. Whoop de do.

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  4. Newborns are supposed to eat on demand not on a schedule. The reason is to increase the mother’s milk supply! Also, every three hours is not often enough for many babies. My son eats every 3ish hours now but he is 4 months old. Some days he eats more often and some less. The idea of putting a baby on a schedule is absurd. Even adults don’t eat and sleep at the same time everyday. If you, as an adult were invited to dinner at 7 , would you say “sorry, I can only eat at 5?”

    • This week for my intro to parenting class at ASU we are researching the differences between attachment and schedule parenting. I can see pros and cons in both and do not believe either are damaging to a child. What I have unfortunately noticed is that mothers who are opposed to Babywise or schedule parenting are so blatantly rude and obnoxious when they make their arguments. The schedule advocates seem to openly admit it “isn’t for everyone” and the attachment advocates such as Allison here seem to find it appropriate to mock the parenting choices of others. What seems absurd to me is that being openly rude in such a way is somehow seen as acceptable. As a student of parenting I am rather disappointed that this is a trend in these posts.

      In regards to this post I found it informative and enjoyed the fact that you talked about changing the protocol to fit your family needs and how that is okay. Thank you.

  5. This week for my intro to parenting class at ASU we are researching the differences between attachment and schedule parenting. I can see pros and cons in both and do not believe either are damaging to a child. What I have unfortunately noticed is that mothers who are opposed to Babywise or schedule parenting are so blatantly rude and obnoxious when they make their arguments. The schedule advocates seem to openly admit it “isn’t for everyone” and the attachment advocates such as Allison here seem to find it appropriate to mock the parenting choices of others. What seems absurd to me is that being openly rude in such a way is somehow seen as acceptable. As a student of parenting I am rather disappointed that this is a trend in these posts.

    In regards to this post I found it informative and enjoyed the fact that you talked about changing the protocol to fit your family needs and how that is okay. Thank you.

  6. Finally, a positive story on BW. If it didn’t work for you…ok….but why all the hate for this book when people admit they didn’t use their own common sense or put aside their instincts….which the book doesn’t say to do. I have friends who didn’t like it…ok….but they hate has got to stop. Personal responsibility!

  7. We are a BW family and it works for us! We Love It! We started BW at 2 weeks of age, and even implemented the CIO. We only let him CIO for 5 minutes at a time when he was that age before checking on him. After 4 days, and less and less CIO over those days, he slept without fussing when we’d put him down. He was on a 3hr schedule from the start. We used BW to schedule him, and he thrived off that schedule. Other than the day he was born he has been in the 90-95 percentile for both height and weight (no failure to thrive here!). He has been consistently STTN since 6 weeks (used a DF until we started solids at 5 mo). He is now an 11 mo. old bubbly ball of happiness and love who sleeps 7pm-645 am (our day start time). Naps like a dream and is predictable like clockwork. BW works for us and our son is proof of it. Kudos to you for not giving up on BW and using it along with your GREAT Mommy instincts. 🙂

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