Friday, February 29, 2008

Progress is a Spiral, Again

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In the beginning of January, I posted a post on the idea of progress being a spiral (see Progress is a Spiral: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/progress-is-in-spiral.html). This idea is outlined in On Becoming Pottywise.

I am currently reading The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. To my surprise, progress is a spiral was mentioned by the character Clifford. I thought I would share:

"You are aware, my dear sir,--you must have observed it in your own experience,--that all human progress is in a circle; or, to use a more accurate and beautiful figure, in an ascending spiral curve. While we fancy ourselves going straight forward, and attaining, at every step, an entirely new position of affairs, we do actually return to something long ago tried and abandoned, but which we now find etherealized, refined, and perfected to its ideal." (page 270)

I found that so interesting and wanted to share.

Combating Babwise Myths #6: BW parents call their kids words like "manipulative"

This is one myth I have to concede on to a point. First, not all Babywise parents refer to their children as manipluative, rebellious, etc. But some do.

This is not something that is "outlined" in the book. By that I mean, Babywise never tells you to think of your child or baby in this light. However, some parents do use these terms.

I have heard Babywise parents use such terms, but I have also heard non-Babywise parents do so. So in this post, I implore all parents to think a bit before applying such negative lables to their children.

I know, you think the world of your baby/child. The sun rises and sets on him. When you use terms like that, you are simply frustrated and trying to get your feelings out and point across.

I want to point out a problem with the English language. Our verb are very final. "She is a bad girl to hit." Bam. There it is--final. Other languages, like Spanish, have verb usage that apply a time limit to it. So it comes out more of, "The action of hitting is bad" (not a direct translation, just a "meaning" translation). Semantics? Not really.

Try to explain semantics to a child. They don't get it. "You are bad." Even adults have issues with such statements. In intercultural Communication studies, sematics of these verb differences and problems are looked at. The speaker of the English language is advised to use caution with it.

Children live up to the expectations laid out before them, or at least try to. Children look to their parents for guidance on who they are (at least until peers replace that role). Children are inherently good. They want to do good things and be good people. They want to do what is right. If you put negative lables on them, they run the risk of living up to that expectation. I have a friend with a son a few months older than Brayden--this boy is just over three. He can be a handful. She is always saying he is naughty, which he then finds funny and tries his hardest to be naughty. Brayden never heard the word naughty until he was around them. Positive reinforcement is worth a lot.

Also, you want to take advantage of these years you have when you are the strongest influence over your children. Use these years to teach them morals and to teach them who they are. They are wonderful. You know that. You, more than anyone, know how precious your little one is. No one feels that more than you do. Make sure they get that. When they do something wrong, correct them without placing such final statements as "you are a bad boy" on them. The action was wrong or bad. "It was wrong to hit that boy." Doesn't that tell your son that for one, what was unacceptable (not him but the hitting) and also that he can improve his behavior? If he is bad, he is bad. But if hitting is bad, he can improve that. Treat them as the precious, good-hearted children they are and they will measure up. I fully believe that.

This is just as applicable to babies. Keep in mind that your baby is about as pure as can be. You baby doesn't want to manipulate you. Your baby doesn't want to do things to be rebellious. Your baby wants to please you. Your baby wants to make you smile. Your baby wants to make you laugh. Your baby just can't communicate, and your baby needs time to learn things. If your baby is resistant to learning to self-soothe, he isn't being a brat, he is just taking longer to learn. Incidentally, I also believe toddlers are the same way. They just also happen to test their boundaries quite often. Toddlers also start to display their egocentric beliefs, but it is something they grow out of. You can, and should, help them learn to care about others.

Don't underestimate the power of language. In your communications, you convey most of your message through non-verbal cues. Learn to control your emotions. Children are really good at reading them. Learn to control your thoughts and your words. Parenthood is the fastest way to improve yourself if you will put the effort into doing so.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Babywise and Twins

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Okay, I have no experience with Babywise and twins. I do, however, know some moms who do. I asked them for some advice, and here is what they have to say.

"The biggest complication to doing Babywise with twins, I think, is when one baby wakes up early or gets tired early, because it is pretty important to keep them on the same schedule. For instance, with the '45 minute intruder', the book says to try to feed the baby to see if its a hunger issue. But I feed them at the same time and don't want to wake the other baby early just to see if the first is hungry. So I usually hold off the early waker until either her sister wakes up or has at least had a decent nap.

Similarly with going to sleep. One of my girls gets fussy really quickly when she's tired; it's impossible to miss her sleep window. And she falls asleep very fast. Then I get her sister, who seems to be still be wide awake. I often regret having to put her down for a nap because the first one was tired. So in a way, having the two forces me to stick to the schedule a little more. I've had friends who said they had trouble doing Babywise because they couldn't bring themselves to wake a sleeping baby; I'm constantly waking a sleeping baby because if I didn't, they would be on separate schedules." drbc

And here is the second mom:

"We are basically on separate schedules. I have a full time nanny so that helps. With our medical complications there was no way I could keep them on the same schedule. Hannah had to eat every 2 hrs and I was trying to keep Noah at every 3 hours. We started Babywise late, too. (6 months old, 3 months corrected age---before that they just did Babywise naturally as that was the NICU routine but it didn't involve any CIO b/c all they basically did was eat and sleep). I wish I could have kept them on the same NICU 3 hr schedule from the beginning but that didn't happen. [Last month], they began to naturally conform their schedules (even their naps!) to about 15 minutes. I put them to bed at the same time but they often wake at different times and need their naps at different times. Noah stays up longer in the morning whereas if I miss Hannah's window, I'm scr**ed.

They are also on different eating schedules because of size. Hannah only eats 4 (sometimes 5) oz every 3 hrs. Noah eats 6-8 every 4 hrs. But they both only stay awake 2 to 2.5 hrs in between naps. Both are still at 3 naps. I try to keep in mind that they are individuals and have different sleep/activity needs. Noah sleeps more but can stay up longer; Hannah eats more frequently and takes shorter naps. If I have to go anywhere I wait until Hannah wakes up from her nap, regardless of what Noah is doing b/c Noah can eat/sleep in the car whereas Hannah refuses to do either in the car or anywhere but home. So I try to do the Babywise thing with them individually." Lauren

And mom number three:

"There are definitely some challenges with twins. The thing that helped me the most was actually following more of a clock schedule because otherwise you end up trying to decide if you should wake one baby to eat just because the other one woke early, etc. Since my girls are big and healthy, at 3.5 months I knew they could go 3 hours between feedings. Since their afternoon naps are short, we end up with wake time before and after the feedings, but this seems to be working all right for us. They are definitely fussy and higher maintenance than when we fed them whenever they woke up, but then our schedule would spiral into short little cycles."

I applaud all mothers who have twins. It would not be easy. These are some tips from moms who have twins, although they all gave some different advice. Hopefully you can get something from one or all three and apply to your own situation.

One reason I see twins being hard is because of what Lauren said. Each baby is an individual. You have to figure out two little strangers at the same time.

Something drbc said is so true to me. She said she needs to stick to the schedule in order to care for both babies. I have found that true with my two children. It is more important for me to have Kaitlyn follow her outlined schedule because I have two to care for. There is some flexibility available, and definitely more for me than a mom of twins simply because Brayden is older and can wait for things if he needs to.

Kudos to all moms of twins out there. Don't forget to refer to the chapter in On Becoming Babywise on twins. Good luck in your endeavors!

And please, if you have good tips for moms with twins, post them in the form of a comment.

*Note that the comments have been edited for grammar, punctuation, and spelling if neccessary.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Baby Highchair Manners


To a new parent watching their child eat for the first time, every little thing is so cute. Raspberries, dropping toys, playing in food, etc. For me the second time around, I still find these things cute, but I also am better about seeing the long-term effects of what I allow to happen from a young age.

But I am not perfect about it. Here is a story that illustrates a major blunder I made with Kaitlyn regarding toys while eating.

Brayden got no toys while he was eating. He was a good, fast eater and loved food. I had fully planned on following that same path with Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn, however, was (and is) not that fond of baby food. She likes her veggies, and has grown to like her cereal, and only tolerates her fruit, but she started out just disgusted at everything other than veggies. I found if she had a toy, she was distracted and would eat. So I let her have it. She had reflux and therefore food was always a concern for me when it came to her. Then the game started.

Brayden never did play that game where they drop toys and you pick them up a million times in an hour, so I guess I wasn't really aware of what I was in for. Also, he was a boy and boys just aren't born knowing how to schmooze and manipulate the situation like girls are. :-)

At one point, Kaitlyn started dropping her toys while eating. She then stared at them, then looked at me with big, sad eyes. She then put her hands together in front of her mouth and refused to eat another bite until I picked up the lost toy. Once I gave it to her, she would eat again (that is, until she dropped it, which often took less than one second). At first I thought it could only possibly last a week until she tired of the game. Nope. It was still a huge hit after a month.

I was so tired of the game! SO TIRED! And I did it to myself. Oh how silly. One weekend, I had had it with the game. So Monday, after breakfast, she got no toys. I just stopped it right there and told her no more toys, She ate just fine, and ate well without them. She ate faster. She would sometimes look at me with this look. I knew what she was asking for. I told her no more toys while she was eating. She was fine. She accepted it with no fits or food strikes.

With Brayden, he didn't get toys while I was feeding him. Once the meal was over and I needed him in the highchair still for cleaning up, cooking, eating, or whatever, he could have them. I find that to be just fine. I moved that way for Kaitlyn, though at this age she usually wants some bread, bananas, and cheese after she is done with the yucky baby food. So I think toys in the high chair are just fine if you aren't feeding them.

I tell this story to illustrate that you have to be careful what you allow. However, if you have allowed things in the past, it doesn't mean you are stuck forever. You can make mistakes and correct them.

For things like raspberries and spitting, I just have to do my "that's a no" coupled with my mommy glare (the look moms give when you have done something wrong). Then consistency. You never allow it. They will get it. Babies don't want to do things they shouldn't. They look to you for guidance on what they should or should not be doing. Yes, they test, but once they see the rule is the same, they happily comply.

That is the reason I also do not laugh or smile when they do something they shouldn't, even when it is really cute. When I really must laugh and smile, which does happen of course, I turn my head, cover my mouth, and even leave the room. One giggle from you and baby will be working hard to repeat your reaction. They love to please. So show your pleasure when they are behaving as they should.

There are things babies like and need to do to explore and learn. That is totally fine. The problem with Kaitlyn's toy dropping was not that she did it, but when she did it. It was interfering with mealtime. She still loves to drop it and watch where it lands and have me pick it up for her, but we do it during playtime, not mealtime. It is like an example used in Toddlerwise of a baby playing in the dog's water. Playing in water isn't a bad thing, and it is fun for the baby, but the dog's water is gross (even if you keep it perfectly clean, that is gross). So you let baby splash in the tub, or take baby to a water-safe place and give him a bowl of clean, non-dog drool water to splash in. I find that babies are smart enough to make the distinction for when and where okay and when and where it isn't. Naturally, you have to apply this age-appropriately and developmentally appropriately with each child.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Creating a "Good Eater"


There is not much else that stresses a mom out like food. Is he getting enough? Is his nutrition good enough? Is he hungry? Why isn't he eating as much today? It goes on.

I have been asked a question about how to get your toddler to eat well. I am going to do my best to answer that, but I have a toddler who just eats well. He has eaten well from his first bite of food. There are some things I think you can do to create a good eater who eats a balanced diet. Here are my tips. Most of these can really apply to every age from beginning eater to toddler years (and perhaps older):
  • Continue to offer foods even if you know he doesn't like it. Kaitlyn can be kind of picky in what she eats. She doesn't like fruit in general, and she doesn't like green beans. I feed her fruit three times a day. There are now some she will eat pretty well, but there are others I know she is going to take a few bites of and stop. I still offer them every so often. Not every day (there are enough fruits that I can offer a different fruit each meal and not repeat very often). But she gets them. It takes time for you to really decide if you like something or not, and also your taste buds will get used to something if exposed to it. This can apply to toddlers also.
  • One more bite. Babies and toddlers know when they are full. When my baby (10 months) says she is done, I will often tell her one more bite, especially if she is just turning her nose up at the fruit. If she ate well and I know she is genuinely full, I just say okay and she is done. But if she didn't eat her fruit well, I tell her one more bite. She will clamp her mouth shut for a moment, but I give her my "mommy glare" (you know the look moms give when you aren't behaving) and she will open up. I did the same thing with Brayden (2.5 YO), but now I take it a step further, explained below.
  • Feed what they like. You want to offer a variety of foods, but you also want them to get the nutrition they need. I will offer Kaitlyn a fruit she doesn't like first, and then I will feed her a fruit I think she will eat. Also, kids, like adults, go through stages where they really like something. I have heard that you can look at your nutritional intake more over a week than worry about day by day. So, there are days Brayden is in love with bananas. Those days, I let him go at it and he will eat up to 4 full bananas by himself. Then if he doesn't eat fruit that well the next day, I know he more than made up for it the day before. If they are loving something a certain day, I let them have it.
  • Offer them what you eat. Brayden eats exactly what we eat for dinner. I don't make him a separate dinner. At lunch, I will make foods I know he likes (and admittedly I still love those "kid" favorites), but for dinner, we eat "adult" food. He loves it. We have done this for as long as he has been eating "real" food. Kaitlyn does it to an extent. Anything we are eating that she can eat, I give her. However, her diet is still really limited.
  • Expect more from them. Have you heard the phrase "people live up to expectations"? It is true. If you give your child food and expect him to not eat it, odds are he won't.
  • Require them to try it. There are times I put a food in front of Brayden that he is not interested in trying. We require him to try it. You have to try to not make it a battle ground. There are times it has become a battle for Brayden and he will try it, like it, but not eat it because he doesn't want to admit we were right. So remember your child's dignity. If he tries it and likes it, don't do the "I told you so" thing. If he likes it, I just say, "Good, I am glad." You don't need to take that opportunity to lecture the fact that you were right and your child needs to listen to you more. They are smart enough to draw that conclusion without you saying so. When he tries it but doesn't like it, thank him for trying.
  • Use obsessions to your advantage. Brayden has had his peanut butter and jelly run. That is all he wanted for every single meal. When he would come to the table and see that PB&J was not on the menu, he would tell me he wanted it. I would tell him after he ate everything on his plate, he could have it. So he would eat everything, but often forget about the PB&J, or just be too full for it. If he eats it all and still wanted the sandwich, I give it to him. You have to be sure you set a requirement you will follow through with. If you know you won't require all food to be gone, but will say, that's close enough, tell him to eat the "close enough" amount.
  • Get sneaky. If I am feeding something to Brayden I know he isn't likely to eat much of, I give it to him alone before the other food.
  • Give your child an appropriate amount of food. I have heard that if you put small portions on the plate, the child eats more because it doesn't look so daunting. I don't know if that is factually true or if it just seems that they eat more. Be sure you don't give your child more than he can eat and then expect him to finish it all.
  • Require more bites. If he didn't eat many peas but says he is all done, you can require him to eat more peas. For Brayden, X number of bites is better than "finish it all." Finish it all seems overwhelming to him. If I want him to finish it all, I look at it and estimate how many bites that will take him. I then tell him to take that many bites. If he takes that many and doesn't finish it, he is done.
  • Require real bites. Sometimes Brayden will try to sneak one pea onto his spoon and call that a bite, but we inform him that doesn't count. He needs to take real, normal bites.
  • No negotiations. Brayden has recently started negotiating. I say 5 more bites, he says 2. I then say 5, he says 3. I then say 6 and he says 5. Funny. You have to be wise in what you first say. Don't say 10 knowing he can only do 5.
  • Praise. When your child obeys and is a good fellow-diner, let him know what a good boy he is being and has been.
  • Limit snacks. If your child isn't eating meals well, perhaps he is getting too much at snack time. My son gets snacks once a day. You have to be careful about supplementing the meal if they didn't eat well. It is tricky. You don't want your child to be hungry, but you also want your child to eat meals well. You will have to determine when your child is old enough to have to wait when he decides not to eat well. One idea is to save the food that was not eaten and offer that if they are hungry later.
  • No dessert. If your child doesn't eat well for the meal, but is hungry for desert, don't reward his poor eating with desert. Same thing, if he doesn't eat well, save the food and offer that before the desert is eaten. I understand that we are often hungry for treats even if we aren't hungry for other food. I often say I have a separate stomach for deserts. But you want your child to eat good food.
  • Require the child to obey. You are going to have to be honest with yourself about this. If your child refuses to follow your voice commands at dinner, he likely is not following elsewhere. If he is not obedient on a regular basis at the dinner table, review your overall parenting and see if you are lacking somewhere. I have always found that when Brayden isn't being obedient in some way, it is because of something I am doing. You need to swallow your pride and make necessary corrections. Also, don't feel bad. You are learning as you go. You want what is best. Just make the changes and move forward.
  • Appropriate consequences. Like I said before, you have to decide what age your child is ready for things. If you have a child who is spitting or playing with food, thing about what you can do about that age appropriately. Last month, Brayden started to think it was funny to take a drink of milk and then let it fall out of his mouth. He also thought it was great fun to spit his milk out. We told him that was a no. I also told him where he was allowed to spit. I said, "You may spit outside and you may spit in the bathtub, but you may not spit at the dinner table." We also told him if he continued, he would not get to have milk. There was a time he did it again, and his milk was taken away. He was better after that. Perhaps your child will need to be removed from the dinner table or have food taken away. When Brayden was younger, I would take the food away and set the time for about 30 seconds. Then he got it back for another chance. That was enough of a wake up call for him. Perhaps a privilege needs to be taken a way. Maybe a time out. You know your child; you need to decide what consequence will work best for him.
  • Let child set the pace. Children and babies are really good and knowing when they are full. Most adults could take lessons. If your child is full, then he is full. Don't stress. If he says he is full but gets hungry before the next meal, explain he should have eaten more for the previous meal. You could move the next meal earlier if possible, but so long as your child is age-ready, there is nothing wrong with letting him experience consequences. Keep in mind that children's appetites vary. Growth spurts come and go. Also, around a year of age, they decrease the amount of food they eat dramatically. Just like sometimes you can be more hungry than others, your child can be.
  • Be aware of other factors. I find that I have to be careful about what I tell Brayden he can do after he eats. He is at an age where food is an afterthought. He wants to play. If he asks to do something, I can't just say "after you are done eating" because he is then immediately done. I have to say, "After you eat your food all gone" or "After you eat all that Mommy tells you to."
  • Be a good example. If you want your child to eat well and behave at the table, you and your spouse should also do so. One time we were having mixed vegetables that included lima beans with dinner. Brayden tried one and was simply disgusted. I started to eat them and just couldn't do it myself. I didn't require him to eat them because I couldn't do it.
  • Require your child ask permission. When Brayden is done eating, he says he is all done. I then ask him if his tummy is all the way full. He usually says yes, though sometimes he tells me he needs one more bite of something first. If he is full and I think he has eaten enough, I inspect his hands. Then we clean him up as needed and he can get down from the table.
As always, if you have your own ideas, please post a comment with the things that have worked for you.

Related Posts/Blog Labels:


  • Appetite vs. Hunger
  • Food Portions for Children Baby-8 Years
  • Overcoming the Picky Eater
  • Picky Eaters: Born or Made?
  • Monday, February 25, 2008

    In Action: Dropping the 3rd Nap

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    I have been working on dropping that third nap with Kaitlyn since the beginning of January. At the time, she was 8 months old (approaching 9). We have taken the weaning process approach to dropping this nap (see Dropping a Nap: A Weaning Process: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/dropping-nap-weaning-process.html).

    The nap is not fully dropped, but it is close.

    First, I started to extend the time she was awake. She doesn't really have sleep cues, so I just put her down for a nap when it is time. Instead of doing that for the third nap, I would wait until she got fussy. If she never got fussy, she stayed up the whole time.

    The nap used to start at 5 PM. Slowly, the nap has moved back. Now, if she needs it, it starts at 6 PM. That makes it a short nap, but that is okay. It is just enough to get her through. Since I am breastfeeding, I like to make sure her lasts feeding of the day and first feeding of the next day aren't too many hours apart.

    Last week, she only took that last nap two of the seven nights. We are getting much closer to officially being done. With Brayden, I dropped it cold turkey. The whole process was not as drawn out, but we also had at least one week of rough evenings where he was just fussy during that time he would have been sleeping. The way I have done it with Kaitlyn has been very easy to accomplish. There are no nights of me walking around the house with her, trying to keep her happy. So although it has been about two months now, it has been an easy process for baby and parents. And at least baby is getting the extra sleep when she needs it.

    Get to Know Your Child's Personality


    I hope that at this point in your life, you realize that all people have their own personalities. We are not all "one" person. We don't view things in the same way. Your children fall into this "we."

    There are certain things about your child's personality that you will have an obvious vested interest in discovering. When you are teaching him to self-soothe, can you interfere? If so, at what point? And to what degree? Personality traits such as this are usually discovered early in life.

    This is a lot more to personalities than simple things like that, and those details can help you measurably in parenting your child.

    There is something called Schema Theory. This theory states, essentially, that we all have our own version of what is truth and how the world works. Our schemas are affected by our life experiences. Each person has his or her own experiences in life. This explains the reason two people can be present at the same event and have two different descriptions of what happened. I have heard it said there are 3 sides to every story, your side, their side, and then the truth.

    I have a friend who is really good at assessing the personalities of the people she meets. She quickly recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of those she associates with. The great thing is that she is very accepting of those things, also.

    Not all of us are naturally inclined to recognize such things. Even if we are, it is wise to improve your inclination with some knowledge. There are several books out there that help you understand the personalities of others.

    In learning to understand our children, it is so helpful to first learn about our selves and our spouses. My husband and I are about as opposite as can be. I like to plan, he is spontaneous. I focus on macro-cleaning first, he prefers micro-cleaning. He solves problems "out of the box," while I solve them "in the box." You can see how we are extreme, but accepting these differences makes us more complete when we work together.

    Your children will likely pick up on tendencies from you or your spouse. And, of course, they can do things their own, new way.

    Good Things to Figure Out
    There are several things that are good to discover about the members of your family. Here are just a few examples:
    • Birth order. Be aware that birth order really does have an effect on your personality. Not everyone displays every trait, but there are certainly tendencies. I, for one, fit into the oldest child mold quite well. There are strengths and weaknesses from each place in the family. It is helpful to take note of those. There are also special dynamics in the parent/child relationship based on birth order. For example, an oldest-child parent will often clash with the oldest-child child.
    • Love Language. We all recognize love differently. We also all show love differently. My Mom shows love through gifts. My Dad shows love through actions. My husband shows love through actions, also. But my husband receives love through words of affirmation. I receive love through quality time. Become aware of how you and your family members best receive and show their love. This knowledge helps you know when they are showing love and know how to show love to them.
    • Introvert/Extrovert: There seems to be a lot of negative connotation applied to the term introvert. To be Introverted is not a negative quality. It doesn't mean you are anti-social or that you don't like people. It simply means you are energized by alone time. Large group settings can be draining to your energy. You prefer small, intimate group settings when you are in a group.

      An extrovert, however, is energized by large groups and can become drained by too much alone time. Now, extroverts do need to be alone on occasion and introverts do need to be around groups of people on occasion . I am an extrovert. I get very "pumped up" after spending time with people. If I am alone too long, I start to become depressed. My husband is an introvert. He enjoys going out and doing stuff with people, but when he gets home he isn't ready to go for several more hours like I am. He also needs his time to be alone and "mull things over." This trait can be kind of tricky to pick out in your kids. Brayden (2.5) is an extrovert. I believe Kaitlyn (10 months) is also, though sometimes I think she might be an introvert. It is good to be aware of this in your children so you can help them when they are in a situation that is "uncomfortable" for them.
    • Personality profiles. Many of us have heard of the color code (red, blue, yellow, white). There are books out there that go even deeper than this.
    Books That Help
    Listed below are some books I like to help you understand people and yourself. I am sure there are many out there:
    My minor in college was in Communication. I studied a lot of theory on how to communicate, and those studies included learning about different types of people. If you find yourself really interested in the topic, here are three books we studied from that I liked--they can be expensive because they are college text books:
    Applying It to Your Children
    This topic is a lot of information, and a lot to digest. And even more, it is hard to apply these things to your children. You can't have your young child answer the questions to a personality profile. However, you can read through and get some ideas. Knowing yourself also helps you identify things in your children.

    For example, I am a rule follower. I find it so important to follow the rules of society and also moral rules. My son is the same way. He is eager to obey the rules. This does make discipline quite easy with him. Along with that trait is a trait both my husband and I have, but is more prevalent in my husband. That is to please people, especially authority figures. We have to be very careful about what we expect from our son. Because he tries so hard to both follow rules and to please, it is easy for us to start things and demand things from him that he simply isn't ready for (for example, our potty training experience--see the index to read more on that).

    Brayden also has that oldest child trait of never wanting to miss a thing. He hates to not be part of the action, and has been that way since birth. That is why he had a hard time with independent play at first. Brayden also has the idea in his head, as most oldest children do, that he is the "third parent." He thinks it is both his right and his duty to parent, correct, and instruct Kaitlyn.

    Kaitlyn's love language seems to be physical affection. She loves to cuddle, kiss, and hug. If she is upset, me simply holding her is enough. My way of showing love is not physical affection. I am mindful of making sure I fulfill her physical affection needs so that she has no doubt how much she is loved.

    As you get to know the personality of your children, you can better asses the actions needed to help them reach those goals. Independent play, sleeping, discipline, etc. You don't want personality tendencies to become an excuse for bad behavior. "He's just bossy because he is the oldest." True, but that doesn't mean being bossy is a good way to be. You can't tell that to his little toddler friends and expect them to say, "Okay, boss me more please." You can help your child overcome those weaknesses that come with our personalities.

    Remember the platinum rule in dealing with other people. The golden rule is to treat others how you want to be treated, but the platinum rule is to treat others how they want to be treated.

    Saturday, February 23, 2008

    Combo Schedule is Okay

    source
    I often see questions about feeding schedules where the mom is wondering what to do because baby sometimes isn't hungry to eat at three hours, but other times in the day can't go more than three hours.

    Keep in mind that combination schedules are okay. No problem. If there is one feeding a day where your baby needs more time between feedings, you can do 3.5 hours for that feeding and 3 hours for the rest and still get in the correct number of feedings in a day.

    You can do a combo 2.5-3 hour schedule. With both of my kids, that schedule also required one 2 hour interval in the evening (they were/are breastfed).

    You can do a combo 3-3.5 schedule. I have done a combo 2.5-3.5 hour schedule. Kaitlyn is on a 4 hour schedule right now, but her last feeding comes at 3.5 hours so I can get her in bed in time. I can go on. Create your schedule to serve your baby's needs, your family's needs, and your needs.
    So while you are creating your schedule, remember the option of a combination schedule.

    Poll Results: What Method Did You Use to Drop the Dreamfeed? (which best describes)

    Results:

    Moved Feeding Time Earlier Slowly: 10 votes (18%)
    Moved Feeding Time Earlier Quickly: 4 votes (7%)
    Decreased Amount of Food Eaten at Dreamfeed: 7 votes (13%)
    Cold Turkey: 12 votes (22%)
    Other: 4 votes (7%)
    Didn't Do a Dreamfeed: 6 votes (11%)
    Haven't Dropped it Yet: 10 votes (18%)

    Total of 53 votes

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Combating Babywise Myths #5: Babywise will cause you to loose your milk supply if nursing

    source
    This myth doesn't require a lot for me to combat it. Many people say to maintain a milk supply, you need to feed every three hours around the clock the whole time you are feeding. Others say you can't have a schedule and maintain a milk supply.

    I have a good friend who is a lactation consultant at our local hospital and is also a member of La Leche League. She insists to me that I cannot maintain a milk supply on a schedule. "But I nursed Brayden for a year and stopped only because I wanted to and have nursed Kaitlyn so far, both successfully." "No, it doesn't work because your milk supply won't go up when baby has a growth spurt because you don't feed more often."

    First of all, I always find it amusing that she insists it doesn't work even after I tell her it has worked for me. Second, she is right. If you never adjust the schedule to fit the needs of the baby, you will likely compromise your milk supply. Luckily, that is not what Babywise is about. It is Parent Directed and you always feed baby when baby is hungry, no matter what. You feed, then you investigate why baby is hungry. If it is a growth spurt, you wait until the growth spurt is over, continuing to feed as often as necessary. If it is a problem in some way, you try to solve it but continue to feed hungry baby.

    So here are my thoughts to combat that myth:
    • Number one is my own experience. I have successfully nursed two babies on a schedule. No problems. No supply issues. EDITED 2013--I have now nursed four babies for one year each successfully while on a schedule.
    • I also know many BW moms who successfully nurse their babies.
    • Another is the experience of others. There are women who nurse beyond one year, two years, etc. Some of these women are BW moms and some are demand feeders for the first while. But for a 2 year old, they nurse on a schedule and only nurse a couple of times a day. They manage to maintain some sort of supply while on a schedule.
    • If you follow BW principles, there should not be a compromise to your supply. You adjust feedings for growth spurts. You maintain the proper number of feedings based on the age of your baby. You don't let too many hours go between feedings even at night.
    • You also need to follow other nursing principles (also discussed in BW). You drink enough water and eat a balanced diet. You rest. You can even take herbal supplements if necessary. You can pump if you aren't getting enough stimulation.
    • Some women will have supply issues, but they would have them anyway. Some are because of baby and some are simply genetic for the woman, but neither has anything to do with Babywise.
    Remember, I started Brayden on Babywise at 9 weeks. Before that, my supply was so erratic. I would "let-down" randomly and in public. I never knew when he would want to eat. I seemed to always be uncomfortable. Once I started BW with him, things evened out and I no longer had let down issues. Yes, that has nothing to do with supply. And yes, it also has something to do with nursing for longer periods of time. But with Kaitlyn, everything evened out within a week of her birth. It is just a nice perk of Babywise.

    Thursday, February 21, 2008

    The Value of a Schedule

    source
    The other morning Brayden was anxious to go visit my parents. He was going to sleep over. I told him we would leave when Daddy got home from work. He said, "Have to take a bath, then have solo playtime, then eat lunch, then take nap, then go to Nana's house!"

    Yes! Do you see the value of a schedule and routine with a toddler? Toddlers can't tell time. They also don't have much of a concept of time, except maybe that "just a minute" equals an eternity. But to say, "Such-and-such will happen after Y" and he knows what happens between now and Y, it gives him something to hold on to and to grasp. He gets that. He has the same routine day after day, so he knows what happens between now and then. He can measure it. No need for a fit.

    I thought that little story might be a good boost to anyone out there struggling and wondering if the effort is worth it. Yes! Keep it up!

    Related Posts:
    Reader Comments:
    • Rob & LeAnna said...
      I also found this to be true with my two older kids. It really prepares them for the realities of school schedules and routines they will have for the next few years of their lives. I think it is wonderful that I never have to carry around a watch because my kids are the time keepers for me.
      February 22, 2008 12:41 PM
      Plowmanators said...
      That is an excellent point! Thanks for adding it.
      February 22, 2008 2:31 PM
    Reader Questions:
    • Laura said...
      How well does your son react to change? Can he go with the flow? Or is he unable to adapt to new situations very well? I love the scheduling and never thought of it in these terms, but my first thought was, "What if A, then B, then C didn't happen? How would my older BW child react to deviations in the schedule?"Thanks for any insight.
      March 6, 2008 3:57 PM
      Plowmanators said...
      I am actually quite suprised at how well he adjusts to changes. He has never been one to handle a missed nap well, but his sister has always been fine with that, so I think it is more of a him thing than a BW baby thing (unless for Kaitlyn it is a "her" thing than a BW baby thing!). Brayden has just recently start to be able to miss a nap without him getting cranky in the evening.For major changes, he has always been fine. New baby sister? Big deal. Change from crib to bed? What's the difference? Move? So what. Seriously, he doesn't bat an eye.

      He handles change to his schedule much like I do. He finds it exciting and a nice change, but he is always happy to return back to normal once it happens (you know, like when you go on vacation?). He has a base to go back to, so to deviate is not a hard thing for him. Kaitlyn seems to be even more easy going than he was in that respect (and every other respect, really).
      March 6, 2008 4:07 PM

    In Action: Troubleshooting Naps (Again)

    source
    As I have said in a previous post, the whole parenting thing is a dynamic situation (see It's Dynamic: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/its-dynamic.html). We constantly need to adjust our schedules to accommodate our growing babies.

    The good news is that as they get older, the changes come less frequently. Brayden has been on a very similar schedule since he was 18 months old. The only difference in sleeping and eating now from then is that bedtime is now 30 minutes later. Does that sound nice? 1 year and 3 months of real consistency? It comes. But then again, at that age also come the discipline issues and such, so it is good the schedule doesn't need to move so you can focus on those things!

    About two weeks ago, Kaitlyn's morning naps got shorter (Kaitlyn is 10 months old). Now, I don't want to complain. They went from 2.5 hours to 1.5 hours. Nothing to complain about, but she was waking an hour early for the next feeding. So I did some troubleshooting. I figured she was ready for a longer waketime in the morning.

    For some reason, I bumped it up 30 minutes. That really isn't the smartest way to go--but I did it. It was not the answer. The nap went to one hour instead. So I backed it off so we were bumped to 20 minutes longer waketime. Still not the answer. I then did 10 minutes. Nope. So I tried 15. Yes! That did it. It is amazing what a difference those 5 minutes made.

    This solution has been confirmed a few times for me. The other morning she and I were playing ball for the first time. She was getting a kick out of it! She was laughing and squealing! I lost track of time and put her down 10 minutes late. A short nap followed.

    So again, don't underestimate the power of finding the right timing. If your baby doesn't have obvious sleep cues, it is going to take you some trial and error to find that magic minute.

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    Establish Consistency—Make Sacrifices

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    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.

    Monday, February 18, 2008

    Hand Folding: Establishing Self-Control

    source
    In Toddlerwise, it talks about the idea of hand folding. This is referred to as self-control training with hands. "When you begin to see those early signs that your kids are going to lose it, physically or verbally, instruct them to fold their hands and work on getting some self-control" (p. 157).

    I must admit, when I first read that I thought, "Right. Have you ever met my little guy? He is such a bundle of energy. He can't even sit still to watch a TV show." I know. I doubted. I doubted even though it specifically mentions this is good for those "movers and shakers." Plus, the book refers to this situation in regards to two-and-a-half or older. So, I decided to wait to implement the idea.

    Then, it sort of just happened. We were out swimming last summer. Brayden was barely two years old. My husband and he were waiting in line for a water slide. My husband was a bit concerned because really in Brayden's life he doesn't need to wait long for much. Naturally he needs to more now that he has a younger sister, but at the time she was two months old and he wasn't really aware of the fact that this new phase was permanent. So my husband explained to him that he needed to wait his turn because all of the people in front of him were first and got to take their turn before he did. My husband suggested they fold their arms to wait.

    So they did, and Brayden became a hand folder. Well, arm folder. I often find that when I tell him he needs to wait for something, he will nod resolutely and fold his arms and wait. He gets it. He has skills to cope with the need to wait. Let's be honest, nobody likes to wait. Have you ever noticed how grown adults think they need to be ahead of everyone else in lines? The majority of people think whatever they have going on is far more important than what anyone else has going on. We cut each other off in traffic. We get very agitated when kept waiting in the doctors office. I could go on.

    The skills to patiently wait are not only beneficial for your child as a toddler, but for the rest of his life. If he can patiently wait now, then imagine how amiable he will be as an adult! Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go teach myself to fold my arms and wait.

    Sunday, February 17, 2008

    Take Note of the Index

    I just want to iterate and reiterate any notice you may have taken to the index I created last Friday.

    In that index, I have listed each post on this blog. I have put them into categories, and some posts fall under multiple categories. My hope is that when you have a certain answer you are looking for, you can easily find it and easily find every post that applies to it.

    I have put a link to the Index on the sidebar to the left of these posts (where the polls are). I will leave it there always so that you can quickly get to the Blog Index. Happy searching!

    Saturday, February 16, 2008

    Poll Results: What Age (Approximate) Did You Drop the Dreamfeed?

    Results:

    8 Weeks: 2 (3%)
    9-10 Weeks: 1 (1%)
    11-12 Weeks: 4 (6%)
    12-15 Weeks: 9 (15%)
    4-5 Months: 13 (22%)
    5-6 Months: 8 (13%)
    6-7 Months: 4 (6%)
    7 Months or Older: 7 (11%)
    Didn't do a DF: 11 (18%)

    Total of 59 Votes

    Friday, February 15, 2008

    Blog Index

    Please NOTE: This index is no longer updated as of 2/2010. For the current index, please see the "Blog Index" link under the banner at the top of any page.



    About Me
    Baby Stuff I Love:
    Baby Summary
    Baby Whisperer
    Babywise Potpourri (Milestones, Theory, Starting Late...)
    Babywise Theory In Depth
    Bedtime
    Best Things...(Stages)
    Best Toys for Baby/Toddler:
    Birth Order
    Blog Information
    Book Recommendations
    Breastfeeding (see Nursing below)

    Childwise (On Becoming Childwise)
    Chores
    Church
    Consistency
    Context
    Cry It Out (CIO)
    Daycare
    Discipline
    Disruptions
    Dream Feed (late evening feeding--typically 10-11 PM):
    Dropping Things (Naps, Feedings, Weaning):
    Eating: see Feeding and Solids sections below

    Feeding: see also Solids and Nursing sections below
    Finger Sucking:
    Flexibility:
    Four Hour Schedule
    Growth Spurts
    Gratitude
    The Happiest Baby On The Block
    Help A Reader Out Series
    Holidays
    In Action
    Independent Playtime
    Language Development
    Learning Development:
    Logs:
    Marriage:
    Making Babyfood
    Mealtime: (see also Solids section below)
    Moral Training
    More Than Making It:
    My Advice:
    Myths:
    Naps
    Newborns
    Nursing
    Organization:
    Pacifiers:
    Parenting Skills:
    Playtime (see Waketime below)

    Poll Results:
    Potty Training
    Preschoolers
    Preschoolwise
    Preterm Babies
    Product Reviews
    Reader Comments/Questions:
    Reading (see also Learning Development above)
    Reflux
    Resources
    Rest Time
    Schedule
    Siblings
    Sickness
    Sleep Problems
    Solids
    Swaddling
    Thank You
    Thumb Sucking (see Finger Sucking above)

    Tips & Tricks
    Toddlers (see Discipline section above for posts on that topic)
    Toddler Summary
    Toddlerwise
    Toys
    Traveling
    Twins
    Waking Early
    Waketime (Playtime)
    Wake time (start of day)
    Weaning
    Witching Hour
    Word to the Weary (pep talks)

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