Monday, August 4, 2008

Baby Whisperer: E.A.S.Y.

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In Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg recommends following a regular routine. She refers to her routine as E.A.S.Y. Essentially, it is Eat, Activity, Sleep, and You time (during the sleep). Here are some things I like about the chapter on E.A.S.Y. One is that she focuses on mom getting some good time for herself. I think this is such a good idea for moms. Nap, do hobbies, cook, clean, garden, read, rest, etc. Do whatever it is that makes you happy and makes you you. Another thing I like about this chapter is that it gives great reasons for following a routine. If you are skeptical at all about the benefits of a routine, read this chapter (chapter 2 starting on page 39). Also, if you tend to be a hyperscheduler or clock watcher, this is a good chapter for you to read. Babywise cautions against hyperscheduling, but many BW moms find themselves in that trap. This chapter can help you loosen up and keep things in perspective.

E.A.S.Y Timetable
Here are some things Hogg lists that you can expect from birth to three months old. This is something you can look at and help gauge your first three months:
  • Eating. Baby takes 25-40 minutes to eat. Baby can go 2.5-3 hours between feedings if 6 pounds or more.
  • Activity: Baby plays for 45 minutes, including diapering. Activity is anything that is not eating. I don't completely agree with this. Some younger babies can only stay awake for 45 minutes including feeding time.
  • Sleep: Baby takes 15 minutes to fall asleep. Baby then sleeps 30-60 minutes. After age 2-3 weeks, baby will start to progressively sleep longer intervals in the night.
  • You: You have an hour or more of time for you.
Reasons Routine Works
  • There is a natural order to things. All things in the world have an order and regular pattern of events. You have a routine to your day; baby will like her day the same.
  • Babies don't like surprises.
  • E.A.S.Y. gets your baby used to the natural order of things. Of course, E.A.S.Y. is essentially the same thing as Eat/Wake/Sleep from Babywise. She cautions against putting a baby to bed right after a meal so baby doesn't become dependent on nursing/bottlefeeding to fall asleep. She also states that most times we eat then head off to activities. That is the way things are naturally done by humans. Offer the same natural progression to your children.
  • Structure and organization give everyone in the family a sense of security. Baby knows what to expect and mom and dad can plan their lives. Also, if you have other children, you can work things out so the older children don't get ignored. When you have only one baby it is easy to focus all attention on her. But if you have more than one child, you have to allocate your attention and time. That is much easier done with a routine. Believe me.
  • Routine helps parents interpret their baby. Since your baby is on this predictable routine, you know when certain things should take place. You know when a tired cry should come. You know the hunger cry timetable. This helps you get to know your baby's cries. You can more quickly get to know your baby's language.
  • E.A.S.Y. establishes a solid but flexible foundation for your baby.
  • A routine facilitates cooperative parenting. If any of you are like me, it is hard to leave your new baby even with dad. But when you have the routine, you can better tell the caregiver what to expect when. You can leave your children with a babysitter more easily. My parents often watch our children. I know it has always been easy for them to do so because they have the schedule in front of them. They know what to expect and how to interpret. When my husband and I went on vacation for a week without the kids, we had the kids spend half of the time with my parents and half with his parents. We typed up the schedule and the kids were as good as gold. They had no readjustment period after the trip. It was also nice for them to have some predictability even without mom and dad around. The routine also helps you to be partners with your spouse (for the importance of this, see: Non-BW Tips and Tricks: Teamwork: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/non-bw-tips-and-tricks-teamwork.html). Dad can have his regular things he helps with when he gets home from work.
Routine and Your Baby's Temperment
In an earlier post, I talked about temperment. Here is what you can expect from each type of child and routines. Remember that your baby might be more than one type. Also, these are not written in stone, as Hogg says:
  • Angel baby: Easily adapts. This is my Kaitlyn. She came home from the hospital on a schedule. There of course have been many times over the course of her 15 months we have tweaked the schedule for one reason or another, but it has all been easy.
  • Textbook baby: This is an easily molded baby because he is predictable. Once you initiate it, he will follow without much problem. Brayden was a textbook baby once we instituted Babywise, and he was easy to get into the routine. He thrived on it. He did much better with the routine than he did without it.
  • Touchy baby: This is the most fragile baby. She loves the predictability of a routine. Consistency is key. A touchy baby who is not on a routine often has misinterpreted cries. Touchy babies need their cues watched closely and put to bed at the right moment. Brayden was a touchy baby pre-Babywise, and I saw many of these things in him. As I said, he thrived on a routine. He also needed his sleep at the right moment or naps were short or hard to fall asleep for.
  • Spirited baby: He seems to resist the schedule. Or he changes the schedule just as it calms down. He is quick to let you know when you are doing something that doesn't work for him. He has a hard time winding down and seems to not want to stay asleep.
  • Grumpy baby: He will likely seem disagreeable at first, but he will be happier if you start the routine.
Establishing Routine
Hogg's E.A.S.Y. plan is very similar to Ezzo's Eat/Wake/Sleep plan. These tips can help you implement this cycle in the life of your baby.





Related Posts:
Reader Questions:
  • Emily said...
    I had always been pretty good at keeping to the schedule and waking my 6.5 month daughter to feed her at the same time. I know she's ready to extend her feeding time during the day and she sleeps 11.5 hrs straight through the night. Is it okay to let her sleep longer if she will or just to see how long she'll go before needing to eat while I'm doing this or should I still try to stick to a schedule? I'm asking b/c SOME days she can go longer w/o eating but other days she can't so if I do this we're not on a steady schedule. Thanks
    August 4, 2008 3:01 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Emily,I wouldn't let her just sleep until she wakes. I would add maybe 15-30 minutes to her nap and see how it goes at first--I am pretty conservative usually when changing things. You really don't want her naps longer than 2.5 hours, so watch that. Remember to keep a log of things so you can try to see patterns of what works and what doesn't.Also remember you can do a combo schedule, so some feedings can be 3 hours aprart while others are 3.5 hours apart.
    August 5, 2008 10:58 PM
  • bradysmom said...
    My almost 7MO takes 1.5 - 2 hour naps, and is on a 4 hour schedule. He wakes up without crying, so i assume that means he's had enough sleep and is good. Do I wake him up then, or let him stay in his crib, awake, until the 2 hours is up? Also, if I get him up, should I feed him right when he gets up, or wait until that 2 hour time which would be his normal feeding time (keep in mind the most time I would be making him wait to eat is 1/2 an hour).I just worry that if I get him up from his nap at 1.5 hours or so, and then he's awake a little bit before he eats, that messes up the feed/wake/sleep cycle. Thanks so much!
    August 19, 2008 6:17 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    He could have some time in the bed to himself if needed. Also see this post: Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/03/eatwakesleep-cycle.html
    August 19, 2008 9:19 PM

14 comments:

Alison said...

hey there...me again. I have a question regarding routine...not sure if this is the appropriate place or not. My 12 week old has been sttn for about 2 weeks now with some disruptions in the middle of the night which I have already written to you about (thanks!!). Anyway, my sons waketime has been 830 from the beginning. The last few mornings he is getting up between 7 and 730. I have let him CIO for about 15 minutes each morning and have tried to feed him as close to 8 as I can. Is there anything I can do to keep him on his 830 waking schedule? I go back to work in 2 weeks and really need this to be the time he wakes. Thanks so much!!

Plowmanators said...

Alison, I honestly would just wait until this weekend when we move our clocks forward and not worry about it. It wouldn't hurt for you to try to figure out the reason if you can so you can eliminate the problem, but you also don't really want to stress about it if the time change will just fix it.

Stacey said...

Hi! Thanks so much for your blog. I'm a first-time mom, have read BW, but have had lots of implementation questions. Your blog has been so helpful.

We are having timing difficulty with the basics of eat/wake/sleep. My 8 week old DS seems to be quite opinionated about what he wants to do when. He will not eat if he doesn't want to; he just clamps his mouth shut, closes his eyes and returns to sleep. Waking him for more than a few seconds is impossible - I've tried everything. This is all after he was clearly awake and wanted food OR he reached the 3 hour mark and I woke him to feed him to keep on schedule. Most often during the day I have to wake him. Then he is drowsy and crabby through his feeding and wake time (which is spent with me trying everything to keep him awake). At night he is wide awake and doesn't want to sleep. It is unusual for him to go longer than 4 hours between feedings at night. I tried giving him more to eat during the day (he's bottle fed my milk so measuring is easy), and I also tried cluster feeding, as per your suggestion under the 6 Weeks to 4 Months Sleep Problems post. What am I missing? I'm exhausted from fighting him and lack of sleep, but have persisted because I believe it will ultimately yield better sleep for both of us. Please help!

Plowmanators said...

Stacey, this is one of those things that just takes time to get over. Within about a month, you most likely won't have to wake him up while he is eating anymore, but during the newborn months, it is quite common. Keep working at it and before too long you won't have to worry about it anymore.

Melissa said...

Hi there! This blog is such a blessing. Thank you so much for all of your advice! I have had a great sleeper until the 4 month sleep disruption hit a couple of weeks ago.

I have a couple of questions
1. I have her on a 4 hour schedule (eats 4 times per day) and she usally has a bath, takes some rice cereal and her last bottle right before she goes to sleep, which on a normal night is around 7pm and she wakes at 7am. However, under the EASY routine, the baby should be awake for a period of time after eating. So do I keep her up just for the sake of keeping her up after she eats so that she doesn't remain in the habit of eating before bedtime? She is able to take naps on her own without the aid of feeding.

2. After the 4 month sleep regression hit, she started either waking through the night or at 5-5:30am. I haven't tried the CIO until 7am b/c she always rolls over and won't go back to sleep, but should I try to couple keeping her up a little after her final feeding AND make her bedtime a little later so she will sleep later again. I always hear sleep begets sleep so I figured keeping her up later would be against my better judgement, but I will practically have to intentionally keep her up if I don't want her to go directly to sleep after her final feeding. Sorry if this was a ramble more than a question.

Plowmanators said...

Melissa,

1. No, leave bed the same. That is fine.

2. She might need to have more than four feedings in a day. If it were me, I would try to have at least five feedings in the day and see if that fixes things.

I addressed number two more in your other question that asked about it.

reba said...

hi i just discovered your blog. i read the baby wise book and just started today trying to get my 2 1/2 week old son on the schedule of eat/wake/sleep and to teach him to fall asleep on his own as he has been falling asleep on me.

my problem is he does NOT sleep. he never has. he was 10lbs 4oz when he was born and he acts like he's 3 months. ever since i brought him home from the hospital i have tried to get him on a schedule.....feeding him every 2 1/2 - 3 hours. i feed him at 7am and than he is just wide awake.....he doesn't fall asleep till as late as 12 or 1pm sometimes and it's always right after he nurses he falls asleep on me.

i just started the eat/wake/sleep schedule today. i fed him at 7am, played with him for a bit, than laid him down in his bassinet for his nap. well he cried for an hour straight. my husband and i went in there every 15 min to check and make sure everything was ok like his diaper etc. finally i went and got him as it was time for his next feeding. i nursed him and he started falling asleep on me so i went and put him back in his bassinet. he again started crying. this time i went and picked him up after 20 min and brought him to the living room. he was wide awake....not tired at all. i feel so horrible letting him cry for that long and i know i have started the schedule later and baby wise said to stick it out but i just don't know if that's to long to let him cry. i know though that he probably just wanted to be picked up because when i brought him out he immediately quieted down and was fine so i don't know if it's just something i need to stick out and just let him cry for as long as it takes. he has been up since 7am by the way and it's 3pm now.

so how am i supposed to get him to sleep on his own without using me as a sleeping prop??
how long am i supposed to let him cry for??
and when do i know if they just want to be comforted or do i just need to stick it out to teach him it's nap time and to go to sleep on his own?
is he to young to fall asleep on his own?
am i supposed to lay him down when he is groggy and already falling asleep or when he is wide awake still?
is he just not tired at all so i shouldn't even try to put him down?

i'm sorry for all the questions but i'm so confused right now. i feel so horrible hearing him cry especially for that long and i know i started later with the whole baby wise schedule.

another thing is he went through a growth spurt the last 2 days and was eating non stop and barely sleeping. would only sleep for 20 min at a time than want to be fed again so i don't know if that has anything to do with it. he seems to be doing better today though......back to only eating about 20 min than good for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.

Plowmanators said...

Reba,

He is definitely staying awake far too long. At 2.5 weeks, he is not old by any stretch and not too old to be starting a schedule/routine.

Shoot for him being awake 1 hour or less total. See my post on figuring out newborn wake time from this past Monday as well as the post on "upcited" for today.

For now, I would start by just doing your cycle. Feed him. Play. Then have him sleep. Put him to sleep by rocking if need be. Just get him used to sleeping at the right times. It will help his body get out of being overly tired. An overly tired baby can't fall asleep on his own.

See the CIO posts listed from the Blog index for your CIO questions. Do what you are comfortable with--those posts have guidelines for you.

Since he just finished up a growth spurt, he might be overly tired from lack of sleep and just needs you to help him sleep until his body can be at a rested state.

reba said...

that's the issue though. he WON'T sleep.
i read your post on getting newborns to sleep first and foremost and so i was putting him in the swing after feeding him and playing with him so he could start sleeping more and get in the routine. he napped the first two times on schedule in the swing but wouldn't sleep anymore after that. he just sat in the swing for 3 hours wide awake just looking around. for example i fed him at 7am, awake till 8am than put him in the swing and he slept till 10:30am than i fed him again and put him back in the swing and he slept again till his next feeding at 2pm. than i feed him and put him back in the swing he stayed awake for the 3 hours till his next feeding. not fussing just content and wide awake. he is a happy boy.....not fussy at all he just doesn't seem tired. but i want him to sleep on his own so i don't know if maybe i should wait until he is a little older to try and figure out his sleeping patterns?

Plowmanators said...

Reba,

if you are trying to put him to sleep about an hour after getting up and he just isn't sleeping, I would look into possible medical reasons for not sleeping. Does he have reflux or gas issues? Allergies?

Matt, Jennie, and Noelle Ours said...

We did babywise with our first daughter. We have a boy now. 2 wks old tomorrow. We didn't watch the clock the first two weeks as bbw indicates; however, it's obvious he's on a trend. He eats 2.5-3 hrs during day - so he can go that long, but since we brought him home from hospital - during evening and through night (especially from 11-5a) he eats about every 1 hr and 30 min to every 1 hr and 45 min. During my pregnancy I was RAVENOUSLY hungry during night and would have to eat. Is he just hungry this time of night? How to curb? I thought about waking him during day every 2.5 hrs instead of letting him go 3 hrs to try and get more calories in him during day instead of being so hungry at night. Ideas? We are slowing beginning wake periods. Such as bath after feeding to start integrating. Our daughter was not hungry like this at night - we're a bit perplexed. He's not snack feeding either - he'll take a full 2 oz most times every 1.5 hrs at night consistently. Thanks for any feedback!

Marissa B said...

About how long do you believe it would take a 3.5 month old to get onto a BW schedule? After reading BW 5 days ago I've been trying to get her on a schedule and although her daytime naps are getting better, she is still waking every 2/3 hours at night- HELP!I am trying to stick with a 7,10,1,4,7- bedtime at 8:30 schedule. Of course this morning we overslept and didn't feed her until 7:40 (since I had just got her to fall back asleep at 6:15). I've been reading your blog like crazy over this past week and it is very helpful, but I can't help but feel I'm doing something wrong because of her crazy sleeping schedule at night.

Plowmanators said...

Marissa it would depend on exactly what you mean by "getting onto the schedule."

We started late with our oldest. He was 2.5 months old. He wasnt in a perfect schedule until 6.5 months old, but I think a lot of that had to do with inexperience on our part. There are a lot of things I could have done to get there faster.

You will see improvement quickly. We went from waking 2-3 times per night to once a night rather quickly--I think 1-2 weeks into it. Dedicate some time to consistency and you will get there.

Melissa Chase said...

Hey! I have a question about my 4 week old. I have two older children (4 and 2), and didn't do BW with either of the older girls. I really am trying to do BW with my youngest, but with 2 older kids at home, it's really hard to do the eat/wake/sleep. If we stay home all day, the routine works great. What do you suggest to mom's with older children? We like to get out in the mornings and do things. Once my baby is in her carseat, she's out. I like to feed right before we leave so I can avoid BF in public, if I can avoid it.

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