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Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! I’m posting over on Giving it Grace and the fabulous Shea from The Moses Home is posting here! I LOVE hearing different perspectives about Babywise and how it works for people of many different reasons and how it blesses families in different ways!
Why Babywise Works For Us
No parenting method or philosophy is fool-proof, but it is so nice to have good direction and a few guidelines to get started with. Babywise provided our family with just that, and I have learned a lot now having practiced it 4 times over.
When Anslee(my first born) was 6 weeks old, I started getting asked a LOT if she slept through the night yet. In my head, I kept thinking, uhmmm she is 6 weeks old and was 4 lbs at birth – of course she isn’t sleeping through the night. When our pediatrician asked me, though, I started thinking – maybe she could if I did something different. I told him no, she was not sleeping through the night. I then made him laugh when I told him I was trying to keep her awake all day long so she would sleep at night. (I know – I was a new mama, I had a LOT to learn) He told me that was actually the worst thing to do and to let her have regular naps during the day. He left it at that and we were on our way. I left that appointment and decided I would go to Barnes and Noble and get that book lots of moms were telling me about. BabyWise.
I read it in a couple of hours and was shocked at how much sense it made. I was then shocked at how what we were doing made no sense whatsoever. It gave me a starting guide. Tyler and I were exhausted from long nights and we were just glad to have something new to try. Afterall, we had nothing to lose from trying it out. Fast forward to 3 days later, Anslee slept through the night (8 hours) for the first time.
BabyWise is a book written by two doctors who have taken a lot of criticism for the philosophies they encourage. It basically is a book to help moms make sense of their days activities with a baby. It encourages an Eat/Wake-play/Sleep cycle routine that repeats itself all day long. It helps a new mom figure out how to meet all of her babies needs all day, everyday. When you line out the daytime activities, suddenly nighttime becomes the time where extended sleep takes place. It works out well, because adults tend to need sleep at night, too. Following this cycle throughout the day allows for if hiccups occur (teething, wonder weeks, growth spurts) you can easily troubleshoot in knowing all of babies needs have been efficiently met. It becomes controversial while it asks mothers to consider a little bit of “crying it out” as they become a tad bit older, after all needs are met, to teach the very important skill of self soothing.
This books series (there are books for every stage including parenting teenagers) over all theme is to “begin as you mean to go” Have a goal in mind and take the small steps necessary to get there. I think this makes so much sense, not just in parenting – but in life in general. I love knowing that the little things (kissing my baby and saying “night night” before each nap and bedtime) become so routine that when those things happen the child/infant is clearly understanding that its time for sleep. Or that letting your 7 month old have 10 mintues a day alone in a pack and play to learn to play independently means that they will likely be more equipped to make sound decisions on their own later on is so encouraging to me. Its nice to know that the little daily decisions I make for my girls when they are unable to make decisions for themselves are making a direct impact on how they will grow and learn years from now.
BabyWise after they are no longer a baby
I am able to see this already, as Anslee is no longer an infant or a toddler. She is 4 years and 3 months old and she 1. knows exactly what her day will look like and is abundantly secure in that. 2. Never fights going to sleep. Even when she does not actually nap, she stays quietly in bed for 2+ hours until she is given permission to get up. 3. She can easily adjust to routines introduced at pre school, Sunday School, and any group gatherings. She understands structure – and being that she will always have to be structured in her school years, I think its very beneficial.
BabyWise and adding a sibling
Babywise principles really worked in our favor when we added Kensington to our family. Our family added a new person. That is a HUGE change in the family dynamic, but at age 2, Anslee was very established in her routine – and though we were bringing home a brand new life – her world stayed the same. All of her activities never changed. In fact, it was perfect to be able to have her play independently – happily – while I nursed Kensington. The same goes for Kensington, who was just over 18 months old when Laynee arrived. We never had to “help” our kids adjust to a new baby. There was no acting out in regards to the new baby. There were no additional behavior issues brought on by the new baby. I was always still there, meeting their needs, and they knew it – so there was just no issues when bringing home a new baby. Also, this applies to other life changes, like moving for example. We moved when Anslee was 9 months old, and she was not at all phased. Her world remained exactly the same. I was so thankful.
BabyWise and Colic
If you ever visited my blog (thanks mom!) during the early parts of 2011 – you know we were struggling through a severe case of colic with our most sweet Kensington. Oh bless her heart – she had such a rough start. After seeing our success with BabyWise with Anslee, there was no question as to whether or not we would implement the same system with Kensington. It was tough – because colic babies are just a whole different story. Soothing is exceedingly difficult for the colic striken baby – thus making naptime quite the fight. We did have to do some extra loving on Kensington to help her, and I will never regret that. She needed it, and I was not going to deny her what she needed. Implementing the babywise philosophies were much more difficult in the beginning with Kensington, but we stuck to our guns and said a lot of prayers and by 16 weeks Kensington was happy, established into a routine and happily sleeping through the night. It took longer, but by staying consistent with her, we were able to make a colic baby a babywise success story.
BabyWise is a sacrifice
I am not going to lie. BabyWise is a sacrifice. You have to be committed to see the results you want all the way through. You have to put in a lot of hard work and have to give up doing a lot of things during the day that you normally would want to go and do. If it is naptime, its naptime. Its nice to know, my kids won’t have naptime forever. It will end. Its a sweet season in life that will pass. It will probably pass a little too quickly, but its an important season where you can rest assured that you are giving up doing what you want to meet one of your babies most important needs: sleep. I saw a quote that fit my parenting philosophy so well.
“Children should not have to sacrifice their needs so that parents can get what they want. Instead parents should sacrifice what they want so children can get what they need.”
Its a sacrifice that I know will heed positive results for the whole family.
BabyWise means Mom and Dad rest too
It takes a lot of energy to raise babies and toddlers and preschoolers. I think God was intentional in making it necessary for so much sleep needed for growth in babies because they take so much energy to care for when they are awake – their caretakers need to be rested in order provide for them during their wakeful hours. When they rest, you get to rest. Its a perk – not why we do this, but in my opinion it offsets some of the sacrifices we make to to make this work. I have 3 kids – ages 4, 2, and 7 months and I sleep 8 hours a night (well, I try – but I always could if I had better sleep habits myself!) In fact, I still get to workout each morning before they wake up. I also get to get things done around the house during naptime, because I am usually fully rested from a decents night sleep that I can.
BabyWise is not a perfect system. Thats a good thing, too, because its put into practice by very imperfect parents. Its just a guideline, a tool, a help to parents looking to make sense of everyday with kids. There is a babywise learning curve. I know more now, and understand more deeply now about the system than I did when I began using it. Practicing it makes you really understand it, and practicing it on different children brings new light to the philosophy each time.
I have read several other books, talked and worked with “infant sleep experts” and have taken bits and pieces from all of it to fit our family lifestyle. This is what works for us and we will continue down this path as our children grow.
I understand that it’s not for everyone. I am certainly more than ok with that. I am not trying to persuade our parenting ideals on anyone else, but just wanted to share a bit of why we do what we do. I love learning other schools of thought on parenting young children and will always be respectful of those who do things differently than we do. It’s wonderful, the freedom we each have to do things we best see fit for our families.