Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Establish Consistency—Make Sacrifices

This post may contain affiliate links.
source
Whether you are trying to teach your 6 week old to self-soothe, 8 month old to have independent playtime, or 22 month old to obey, consistency is a very important ingredient to a successful recipe.

Over and over again, I say to be consistent. So much of my advice includes the "be consistent" admonition. Consistency is likely to require some sacrifice on your part and the part of family members.

This idea of sacrifice is much easier when the child is the only child. When you are sleep training with your only child, you can more easily put things on hold for a couple of weeks than when you have an older sibling itching to get out of the house and go to the park. If you have older children at home, sacrifice is still necessary, but your efforts might take a little longer. You are likely going to need to compromise and have all children make some sacrifices. New baby will have to take some naps away from home. Older child will need to play at home sometimes.

So when you are working on something new and want to get it solidified, I recommend you maintain consistency. To do this, I often pick a time I know I can easily devote a couple of weeks to the process. Stay home and letting him get it. Plan on two weeks of really committing your time to it. If there are really bad days and you have to get out, go ahead, but try to make those very seldom and definitely not more than one nap a day (if sleep training). The effort will help him get on track. I did some major sacrificing when Kaitlyn was a baby, and it really paid off.

I purposefully planned Kaitlyn's birth to be at a time of year I knew we could commit to staying home and letting her establish her schedule. I realize not everyone has that luxury, but it is something we were able to do. We were all over the place when Brayden started sleep training. It was the middle of July and family activities were everywhere, and everyone wanted a piece of our new little baby. After about a month I realized what we were doing to him and we decided to tell people "no" and put Brayden's need for consistency above our desire to please those around us. We dedicated a good two weeks to staying home and letting him get it. He very quickly improved.

Remember, you have to establish a normal to return to. When you stretch a rubber band and then let go, it returns to where it is anchored. But what if there is no anchor? That rubber band can fly to any, random spot in the room. Create a solid schedule for your baby to hold fast to. It is well worth the effort and sacrifice it takes.

The same idea applies to whatever you are working on, though the length of time you need to devote before baby is solid will vary based on baby's personality and experience with schedules. For example, if you have a flexible 8 month old learning independent playtime who already has a predictable schedule, it might only take a week to get independent play incorporated. Or if your baby is not so flexible, it might take several weeks.

While you are introducing things that you have some control over the time of day they happen, put them at a time of day you know you can most easily maintain consistency. I have independent play in the mornings. I know I will be home in the mornings. I have it at a time of day I know I am home 98% of the time. That way, it can easily remain a consistent part of our day.

It can be emotionally taxing to devote time to establishing consistency. I would just remind you that it is but for a season. It is well worth the effort to get something solidified. Then your baby can be more flexible, giving your more freedom in the long run. Stay home and work on those new discipline tactics. Then when you take your toddler to the store, you can correct him with confidence, knowing what works and what doesn't. You can attend public affairs without fear. The sacrifice gives you greater freedoms in the future. As a parent, you will often need to make sacrifices for your children. Hang in there, do what you can to maintain your sanity, and remember those sacrifices will pay off in the end.

All of that said, I also caution against locking yourself up until your child enters kindergarten. While you do want to establish consistency, remember that consistency will help you and your family to enjoy life more fully. You have the consistency so that you can go to that social function and enjoy yourself. So you can go to the park and be able to easily control your toddler's interaction and reaction with other children. You don't want to sit in the house all day every day in fear of messing up your schedule. You can have days where things are off. You can easily go back when you know where you came from.

16 comments:

Markus said...

My Baby is pretty much a babywise baby. we are working on establishing consistant eating time (8:00, 12:00, 4:00, 7:00, and 9:00). What do you do when the baby wakes up at 7:00? Just when I think we are begining to become consistant he wakes up an hour early!

Thank you for your post on moving the nap times back by 15 mins. I think that will help me as he has been napping for 45 min. these past few days. So I'm going to give that one a try.

Secondly, is it normal for the baby to wake up ravinously hungary? He wakes up crying like he is starving and I think he has gotten into the habit of latching on the second I have him in my arms so now he will cry and cry if I don't feed him RIGHT AWAY! Any ideas on how to prevent that or is it normal?

Thanks, - Sharon

Markus said...

P.S. my baby is 5 months old.

Markus said...

Today I tried putting him down 15 minutes earlier (It actually ended up being 30 min. earlier because he was so cranky). He was supposed to go to bed around 9:30 (he had woken up around 7:00) so when he was just to cranky I put him down at 9:00. He laid in bed and played until 9:20 or so then fell asleep. At 9:45 he woke up! And he is now crying in his bed. Should I just let him cry until his feeding time (10:30?) or get him up? Why is he sleeping so little and how do I stop this?

Thanks,
Sharon

Plowmanators said...

Okay, what do you mean by "pretty much a BW baby"? That will help me in knowing what you are doing. Have you read BW? Do you do some things but not others, etc.

The BW program has baby eating as soon as he wakes up, so to wake from a nap and want to eat is normal for a BW baby.

For this morning, is the 9:30 his naptime when he wakes at 8, or is it his naptime if he wakes at 7:00? You want to calculate length of waketime from the time he wakes up, not the time he should wake up. See this post:

Waketime When They Wake Early: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/11/waketime-when-they-wake-early.html

Also see:

Naps: Troubleshooting: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/12/naps-troubleshooting.html

Let me know if (when ;) you have other questions!

IzzysMama said...

Im curious to know what your activity routine would look like for a 4 month old. Solo playtime, playtime with mom and/or dad, ect. Im trying to be more consistent with the type of activities we do for certian times of the day. Our morning and evening routine has fallen into place, its more the middle of the day that Im not really sure what to do with.

John and Amanda said...

I hope you don't mind me throwing in my thoughts here!

Sharon, your baby is at a transition age (or atleast it was for mine). Mine started to drop that late night bedtime and I started putting him down earlier (b/t 6 and 7pm)at around 5 months of age. We also started a 4 hour routine around that same time. I would look at the schedule that she has mapped out in the 4 hour routine blog. My schedule looks very much like that with my little one now (7.5 months old now).

Izzysmama- When mine was 4 months old I had the same questions as you! It wasn't until closer to 5 or6 months that I finally ironed out a consistent activity schedule for mine. At 4 months I was doing somethign like this (he was newly introduced to many of these toys at this age, too):
After breakfast, playpen time alone and then "floor time" with mommy. Nap, eat and then another "alone" time activity such as the exersaucer or the floor gym, then play time with Mommy, nap, eat, and then another "alone" activity like the swing or jumperoo, this was the fussier time of the day for my little one so I'd often include a Praise Baby DVD (his favorites) after some "Mommy" time.... anyway... at 4 months I tried to do an independent play activity right after napping/eating while he was most content...then I'd "entertain" him until his next nap... I know that didn't really answer your question, but I hope it helped a little!! :) I remeber it being somewhat hard to find activities to entertain the little man at that age! I would put him in front of a mirror or give him plastic cups and try and help him to hold them, or we'd read books or look out the window... once he was sitting up unassisted it changed how we play so much!!! Good luck!!!

~Amanda

IzzysMama said...

Thanks Amanda, that does give me some ideas! :)

Plowmanators said...

Thanks Amanda!

I also agree with the independent playtime. If you have questions abotu that, see the independent play post.

That age is an interesting age because baby is interested in playing, but not very good at it yet.

Try books, both of my kids loved those. I also like puppets for that age. I also really enjoyed baby massage for Brayden because he would actually hold still for a few minutes!

Plowmanators said...

I just thought of another thing...walks. Once the weather is nice enough, a walk is so great for everyone!

Markus said...

Thanks for your encouraging word! - Sharon

jencwu said...

Not sure if this is the best place for this or not, but I was looking for encouragement and saw you mentioned something about sacrificing pleasing others, which goes along with my question. I'm wondering what to do when friends and family members criticize what you're doing. From what I've seen amongst friends and family and the literature that's out, some elements of Babywise, especially CIO, are not very popular. I know both my mom and my mother-in-law want to pick up our 7-week-old whenever he makes any little peep. People around me have also made comments here and there indirectly that make me feel like they think we have him sleeping too much or that we don't hold him enough, etc. Tonight my sister-in-law, who is also a good friend of mine, called me to tell me that I need to not abide by what the books say and just give Noah what he wants. She said I don't hold him enough, I try to make him sleep too much, and that the research shows kids who don't get held enough have emotional problems. First of all, I was a school counselor before I became a full time mom, so I know all about the research. I also know what Babywise says about that too. I feel we're doing the best we can--we hold him, talk to him, sing to him, and play with him after he eats and gets changed until he shows he's tired. Granted that's not a very long time, but I'm not going to force him to stay up longer than he can handle and I'm not going to let him sleep in my arms all the time. There have been some times that the crying and sleep deprivation got so bad I did let him sleep in my arms. I believe that's using what Babywise calls parental assessment. I don't know, it's just very frustrating to have someone basically say you're a bad parent and you're emotionally damaging your kid when you're trying so hard to do the right thing. How would you respond to critics such as this?

Plowmanators said...

Well, it depends on your personality and relationship with the critic I guess. In the case of your sister-in-law, this is someone who you are going to have to interact with long term, so I would recommend clearing the air. It is best to use "I" statements (I am guessing as a counselor you know what those are, but in case not--"When you said that to me, it made me feel like you think I am not a good or loving parent, is that true?"). I am a firm believer in open communication and keeping things honest. If not, things build up until they blow up and become bigger than they are. Also, often people have different intensions than we interpreted, so it is best to talk them through.

Before that conversation, I would equip yourself with research about sleep. I was watching that new show "The Doctors" (on CBS) yesterday and they were talking about sleep deprivation in children and what it does to them. They said a study was done on 6th graders. They deprived them on one hour of sleep for three nights in a row then tested them. The test scores dropped from a 6th grade level to a 4th grade level. So just three nights of one hour less sleep dropped their cognitive abilities by two grade levels. I think that is huge. Sleep is vital for the growing brain, and too little sleep affects intelligence levels, ability to concentrate, etc. We live in a culture that does not respect sleep. Sleep is for the weak. But giving your child the gift of sleep and therefore intelligence and concentration ability is being extremely loving. My two children are both emotionally stable, loving, empathetic, and really, really smart. I am constantly getting comments from people about how smart they are.

See also this research:

http://www.growingkids.org/2008/04/28/harvard-catches-up-with-the-ezzos/

I would tell her you are doing what you believe to be best for your child, that you are an intelligent and loving mom and haven't done this blindly, and that you would appreciate her support. You are the mother.

Manuela said...

Hi all. I'm glad I've found something like this here.
My first son is 4wks old today and I've been trying to follow BW routine for a couple of weeks now.
He's now only bottlefed on a roughly 4 hour routine (I say roughly because we are a bit flexible depending on what's going on).
I'm really struggling as he won't settle by himself. After feeding and wake time, as soon as we put him in the bed or crib he cries no stop until he's tired and it's only half a hour to the next feed.
I leave him to cry for about 15 mins, then go in, stroke his head or tap his tummy and tell him it's okay, which makes him stop, but as soon as we stop and leave, he cries again.
He's fed, clean and has no colic and this happens all day long apart from the night feed.
I'm so scared to leave him to cry for longer than 15 mins and damage his neurons! And I'm also scared he's becoming sleep deprived.
He only sleeps is held, or on a car journey, or on a bouncy chair with the vibration on. But I think they are not teaching him to sleep by himself and wouldn't like to use those props all the time...
I'm so down and can't see how to sort this out.
Any practical ideas anyone?
Thanks

Plowmanators said...

Manuela, I suggest you see the blog index for newborns: http://www.babywisemom.com/2010/04/blog-index-for-newborns.html

and scroll down to the CIO section and read those posts. It will give you lots of help.

Be sure to pay special attention to the "optimal waketime" information.

Terri D Smith said...

Hi, I started using the BW method right away and things were great until my then 2 month old showed signs that acid reflux were getting worse. And by worse I mean she was eating less and less each day. She went from taking 5oZ each feeding to a range of 1-2 ounces per feeding. It's been EXTREMELY frustrating to say the very least and has caused me to stray from the BW model in a effort to find what works for our daughter. Well, things are getting better on the reflux end as we've been using the NatPhos 6 for 2 days & have seen significant improvement. She's not been on the pattern EWS for a while now. And at 3 months I'm wondering if I need to start over completely with her-new schedule, reestablishing EWS pattern, new bedtime, etc . GOSH! There so much to take in and honestly this book has made me feel like a complete idiot at times trying to implement stuff... I'm just trying to get back on track, keep a happy and healthily thriving baby while on the BW method. That's why I'm SO THANKFUL to have found your blog... You're a God-send. My LO is 3 months 1 web old now... Should I start over or pick up where the book says she should be? She was seemingly ahead of the BW milestones before reflux got worse. Thank you for all you've done to help mom's make sense of all of this.

Terri D Smith said...

Sorry, I meant to select the"notify me"box. Looking forward to hearing from you.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails