Friday, January 23, 2009

BABY WISE...that's for me!

I read and love this book. The 5 S's: Swaddle, Shhhh, Swing, Suck and Side/Stomach have been invaluable, but the book, BABY WISE, has been even better and I wish I had read it before Samuel came. Now I have a few bad habits to break.

There are so many theories on feeding and sleeping for babies that it gets overwhelming, but as soon as you find the one that fits your personality, I think you just know it. Cosleeping just seemed wrong from the beginning, Demand Feeding would have been too demanding and unrealistic with my work schedule and Clock Feeding is too strict. I knew Parent-Directing Feeding or PDF was the thing for me as soon as I started reading. Basically it involves "a healthy mix of structure with flexibility." I love the way he categorizes things by how many weeks old the baby is.

Here are the basics of what I have learned:

#1. Establish a feed/wake/sleep routine: During the day feed your baby, have some awake time and then sleep time. I've done this some, but I've also allowed Samuel to fall asleep from feeding, which is a no-no. Doing his routine will help develop healthy nighttime patterns.

#2. Rocking your baby to sleep interferes with your child's learning to fall asleep on their own. Seemed harmless enough at the beginning, but now it seems logical that if he never has to fall asleep on his own, how will he ever learn. 

#3. During the late evening and nighttime feedings I've been doing it right in putting Samuel right back to sleep. I have the lights low or off, I don't talk to him and the other stimuli are very low. During the day, I keep the noises and lights at daytime levels.

#4. Walks and bath times (which I have also done...yah for me...I've actually done a few things right.) are great awake activities and help to relax and wind down from the business of the day.

#5. "Crying for 15-20 minutes is not going to hurt your baby physically or emotionally. If you want a fussy baby, never let him cry, and hold, rock and feed him as soon as he starts to fuss. We guarantee that you will achieve your goal." (p. 131) THIS IS THE ONE I NEED TO FOCUS ON! I come by it honestly, though, because my sister and mother have a hard time here too.

He also says, "Think of crying as a signal, not a statement against your parenting." (p. 137) It felt so good to hear this, because this is exactly how I was feeling.

The "why's" of his crying are more important. I do know the difference between his hungry cry, gassy cry and wet cry. What I wasn't allowing for was his, "I'm tired and I need to sleep," cry. I would rock, carry, swaddle, or whatever to "help" him fall asleep. I've never just fed him and put him in his crib, allowing him to cry himself to sleep. The author says that if you want to change this habit, do it with the daytime naps first, so you don't have a horrible nighttime sleep. I think I want to try putting him in his crib, turning off the monitor and let him cry for maybe 10 minutes and then check on him. Once he's asleep I'll turn the monitor back on. That way the crying will be easier to get through. I'm sure for a lot of you this seems like a major, "WELL, DUHHH, TRACEY!?!", but for this new mom it took 6 weeks to realize.

#6. He also talks about infant slings being great for shopping, hiking or taking a walk, but that they should not be used as a substitute for the crib. (p. 209)

So, any "soon to be" mothers out there, read this book before your baby comes and you'll have a much easier time. The next 4 weeks before I go back to work will be focused on continuing the great things I've started, but correcting some of the bad habits too, especially #5.


Ashley said...

Tracey, get ready for the flood gates to open up wide. BabyWise is controversial at least and when we would get in to a discussion about how we followed it, some people would have huge opinions to share. First of all, I learned that you need to do what's best for you as a parent. If people judge you, oh well. So, anywho, back to BabyWise. On a Monday morning I just decided that we were going to start that day and not turn back. It was the BEST thing we ever did. Declan thrived so much on the schedule. It was, of course, terribly heart breaking to hear him CIO (cry it out). He only did this at nap time because we fed him when he cried at night. Personally, I had a 10 minute rule. OR...if you know it's one of those "crazy cries" go get him. Dec's crazy cry doesn't happen much but I know he's in pain...usually a gas bubble.

We basically followed the schedule the author laid out and we're still on a 3 hour schedule the author laid out....feed/play for an hour and a half then sleep for an hour and a half. It was bliss...he took to it well..I got a lot done around the house and even some naps.

Now that Declan is nearly 5 months and sleeping almost 12 hours a night, our BabyWise schedule is almost no more (except he east every 3 hours on the dot). Now, he gets a short nap in the morning and then a little longer nap in the afternoon. He usually makes it to his 9pm bedtime but sometimes he has a short snooze on his play mat.

So what I learned is that BabyWise is fabulous, but as he gets older, you'll have to adjust. Just today Declan was not having the 10 minute CIO, soothe, 10 minute CIO, etc, etc. So after 2 different CIO sessions, I just got him up and we played.

Both BW and Happiest Baby were fabulous resources in the younger days!!

(bite the bullet and totally go for BW's will feel like a new woman!)

Hope all my ramblings made sense.

Becky said...

Ashley is right, huge varying opinions on BW. I did not like it, did not agree with lots of it, and could never just leave my babies to cry for extended periods. They both could self calm, put themselves to sleep, and were never just fussy babies.
Everyone has to find what works for them, you are right about that.
Remembering too that no one is an expert on your baby, what he/she needs, or what you need, other than you. Not even the ever so wise BW author

Anonymous said...

I never read babywise, but I have to say that that sounds pretty much on the dot to what I do with my children! I have a 2 year old and a 1 year old. I started with the 3 hour schedule with both of them, and it really helped them fall into place. CIO is not a horrible thing. Believe me, so don't feel bad. I always would let them fuss until they sounded like they weren't going to be able to sooth themselves, and then got them, calmed them, and put them back down. Worked like a charm! Both of my children, you put down for a nap or bedtime and you don't hear a peep. If he was really in pain or trouble, I have no doubt in my mind you'd go get him. ;) When he gets a little older, he might stretch out his routine a little bit. You'll know it when it's not quite working for him and adjust to that. Around a year and a half, maybe, he'll go to one long nap a day. You'll know that one too because he won't want to take that morning nap until later and it will butt up against lunch time. You're doing great!

L L said...

One of my friends swears by this book. She used it with her first and is planning on using it with her 2nd. She just ordered it for m from Ama.zon. I have read many reviews on it and I am a little wary but like others have said, I will take what I can from it that works for us. I am glad to hear that it is working for you!

Kathleen*Bass said...

Tracey, I agree with Becky's comment. Babywise is very controversial and while I may not be a mommy yet, I know in my heart that I could not let my little one cry while I turned the monitor off and went about my day. BUT, I also agree that what works for one mommy and one family, does nt always work for another mommy or family. Do what works best for you. Try to remember that Samuel is only 6 weeks old. he hasnt even been around for 2 months yet! It is great that you are aware of his different cries and needs. Thats a good start! Just follow his cues and let your mommy instincts take over. Oh, and remember that babies feed off of your any tension, frustration, or stress could effect his lil mood, too. :)
Good Luck!

TXMom2B said...

The Happiest Baby says that, for the first 3 months, a baby still needs to be comforted and rocked. They don't know how to self-soothe yet. It's like they think they're still in the womb.

I know that, now that my baby is 3 months, Baby Wise would be no big deal and would probably work. Earlier, however, it would be a disaster. My son had no routines and would not adhere to one. Now he can because, developmentally he's ready, not because of anything I did or didn't do. So, if it doesn't work now, try again in just a month or so. They change soo much in such a short amount of time!

If you want to know what the controversy is, here is a website that has a lot of articles about it: It's good to see both sides so that you can make the most well-informed choice.

Bri said...

Wow. It does seem to be controversial. It is pretty hard to decipher through all the crap and find something that is RIGHT! I love the post and I am going to buy this book and like you, decide for myself when the time comes.

It all seems to make sense for me, but what do I know? I think that the most important thing is that you are comfortable with what you are doing- and especially if you are frustrated, try something new!

Kris said...

I read BW when I was pregnant with my son b/c it was recommended by a friend. I swore it was how I was going to do it. Then Megan came. Well, most of the things don't work for an adopted toddler. Besides, Megan needed more. She still will not fall asleep on her own. I don't know why. DH thinks we need to teach her how to fall asleep now. I agree, but in her timing and I don' think she's ready. The few times this has happened, she's cried until she threw up (and it wasn't purposeful b/c she was SO upset afterwards).

I say do what feels right for you--his mom. And you know what, it's not the END of the world that I get to rock my precious little one to sleep every night until she's "too old". I mean, it's what my mom did! Heck, I remember her rocking my siblings until they were probably 5 or so. She would tell them she was rocking for 5 minutes, then they had to go in their bed whether they were asleep or not. She never had problems. And if little Sam will be anything like my Megan, she doesn't stop long enough for many snuggles during play time, so if it takes me 30 minutes to put her to sleep that's 30 minutes of snuggle time with her. Time I get to pray over her while savoring every minute. I used to get frustrated, but then I decided, you know, I maybe have 1-2 more years of this then she won't want me to (or need me to), so I need to savor every minute I get. Besides, time goes so fast, it'll be here before you know it.