I’ve been meaning to blog about this for awhile now but my experiences on Saturday finally gave me the push I needed to do it!
Most parents I know do not have their babies on a schedule. They go with the flow and do whatever. I am one of the few people I know who do Babywise, and of those I know I probably am one of the most rigid about it.
When we went to St. Augustine over the weekend we were not there for very long and had several things we wanted to do while on our trip. In order to cram it all in we decided we’d stay in the hotel for his first nap (as it’s the most important of the day) but then be out and about during naps 2 and 3. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve “skipped” naps in the past but I’ve never not worried weather Kye slept or was awake and just let him do as he pleased in between feeding times. He slept at noon in his stroller which is when he was supposed to be awake then he was awake all through the 1:00 nap. We went to dinner at 5, which is when he’s supposed to be asleep, and he was awake through that entire nap too!
While Kye wasn’t horrible…he wasn’t the pure joy he usually is either. I felt a lot of guilt because it really wasn’t fair to him! The poor kid throughout dinner was SO tired but yet couldn’t go to sleep. Too many things were around for him to look at and he was WAY WAY WAY overstimulated. He was pretty fussy through most of the meal and had to have his paci in public which I hate. On top of that we experienced our first time of people being annoyed with us as a lady sitting behind Zach kept making faces when Kye would make noise. Opps.
Then after dinner we decided to walk Old Town which we typically love to do. Kye got so fussy we had to cut it short and head to the car. Zach and I both talked about it and while we still had fun on the trip, the experience of being “off schedule” was not a pleasurable one. We both appreciate the schedule so so so much more now. It’s wonderful to know exactly what will happen when and we can plan around that knowing that Kye will be well rested and happy whenever he is awake. It’s great for him too b/c he knows what’s next and isn’t being thrown for a million loops all the time. The poor kid was exhausted by the end of the day but was so wound up because he hadn’t had sleep that it took him an HOUR to get to sleep for the night! Usually he’s down in like 3 minutes no problem!
We learned a major lesson and while it was a pain I’m thankful for the experience. It taught me the value of Kye’s schedule and how glad I am that I started Babywise when I did and that I have stuck with it. Zach and I decided from now on we’ll be sure to revolve things more around his naps and while we won’t stop living our lives, we will be more mindful of his schedule as following that makes the whole experience more fun for us all!
Our day made me think about other parents out there and what they do with their babies. It must be so frustrating to never know how your child will behave! Will they sleep? Will they be cute? Will they fuss? I’m so thankful that we know those things and while it’s tough to always have to make sure Kye can go down for his nap at the right time, it’s worth it because we KNOW he’ll be a happy, content, easy-going baby during his awake time!
(Kye’s giving us the finger for not following his schedule haha)
Being that most people don’t do Babywise (or something similar) Zach and I have heard MANY comments about our decision to stick to a pretty solid schedule. Since Kye is sandwiched in between Courtney’s two babies, who aren’t on schedules, it’s tough sometimes because a lot of people don’t see the benefits that we see and can get annoyed that Kye has to be sleeping instead of up playing like his cousins or we have to leave somewhere early because he has to eat at a certain time. I understand their frustrations because they aren’t around him enough to see the benefits of being on a schedule and having a routine! It’s not just the Parker’s who don’t understand, many other people don’t either. We hear all kinds of jokes and I even had one person tell me I’m a “nazi” when I mentioned I do Babywise!!!
Hearing people make comments and act like life is better without a schedule made me do a little “research” on the benefits of Babywise. Kye is so young that we DO see some benefits already but I know that there are many more that we won’t see until in the future. Some of the benefits we see already include:
- goes to sleep on his own (no rocking, singing, walking, etc) within 5 min of being put down
- will lay in crib happily awake without crying if wakes early from naps
- is only fussy when something is wrong (teething hurting or loss of paci the main reasons)
- adapts well to any situation
- can be alone and playing and will be totally content (doesn’t need mommy all the time
- sleeps through the night (8:30-7) and has done so since 8 weeks old
- is very healthy, happy, and content
In my “research” I went to the Babywise Blog and found these posts that all relate to the benefits of Babywise: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/search/label/Babywise%20benefits
Some of the benefits she mentions include:
- teaches independence (one of my top parenting priorities)
- prevents problems during toddler age
- children thrive on structure and routine
- more time for yourself as you know what will happen when
- baby joins the family, family doesn’t revolve around baby
- enhances mental focusing skills
- teaches sustained attention span
- teaches plays independently without a need for someone entertaining
- allows for more creativity
- creates orderliness
- creates obedience
- typically develop social skills sooner
One of the best posts she wrote (among the many under that link) discusses a trip she went on with her in-laws who did not have a schedule. The posts talks about how she quickly put her kids to bed for the night and was able to enjoy the festivities but that the people she was with had to stay with their children until they fell asleep…the daddy even stayed the entire nap with the little girl at one point! It helped remind me that sometimes keeping a schedule is a pain but in the long run it’ll pay off big time!
In the beginning of Babywise it mentions how everywhere you will go people will comment on how lucky you are because your baby is so happy, content, and sleeps so wonderfully. I can’t count the number of times this has happened to me! I take it as almost an insult! Luck??? Yes, I’ve been blessed with my wonderful child but his happiness…contentness…and wonderful sleeping abilities weren’t luck they were WORK! As the Babywise Blog mentions, you have to make sacrifices when you have a baby. Yes, the baby should fit into the family and the whole world shouldn’t revolve soley around the baby but in the beginning it takes a lot of work to get the schedule on track! She talks about how making that a top priority for a couple weeks will get it well established and then you are more able to be flexible with it, like we are now.
I love Babywise and I’m so thankful to Crissy for introducing me to it. I feel like it’s the perfect fit for my family and our lifestyle. I do believe that any schedule would probably work great, I just think having one is what matters. Do I consider myself a Babywise Nazi? No! Babywise gets a bad rep for that but it’s meant to be flexible. If Kye’s sleeping great I’ll feed him 15 min late. If we’re out and about he may go down for a nap a little late. If we have somewhere to be I’ll just leave when he wakes up 45 min (which he does like CLOCKWORK) into his nap. It’s a flexible schedule that allows me to have freedom to make plans and have a life but it also allows my baby to have all the benefits it can offer!
I am in no way saying that it’s “bad” not to have your child on a schedule. I’m just simply putting out there the benefits of a program like Babywise and my own benefits of using it myself. After one day of being “off” schedule I never plan to do it again that’s for sure! I also plan to use Babywise with all of my children. I know it’ll be tough as they will all be in different stages and require different schedules but I am too structured of a person (really? you think? haha) to NOT have a schedule!!! The books go all the way up to “Teenage Wise” and you’d better believe I’ll be owning them all haha