Monday, August 3, 2009

Sleep Training According to Babywise

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There are a lot of misconceptions about what sleep training is according to Babywise. Many people have come to assume that in order to be successful with the Babywise program, you need to put your baby in bed awake and leave him there until the next feeding time, no matter what. This is never actually stated in Babywise, however.

My personal view on what sleep training is according to Babywise has been that you need to figure it out for yourself. You know from reading On Becoming Baby Wise that you want your baby to be able to fall asleep on his own. You also know that it says it might take some crying to achieve this. But there is no step-by-step program in Babywise about how to teach to self-soothe.

With Brayden, I read no books to help me know how to teach him to self-soothe. I created a program myself based on what I knew about him. With Kaitlyn, I used a similar method but modified it for her personality. With McKenna, I had read The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems and decided to try out her four S's idea to help McKenna self-soothe (see Sleep Training: The Four S's ). She slept for over two months without ever crying at all. At three months, we started CIO but it was very short lived, I believe because she already had the self-soothing skills.

There is nothing wrong with reading other books to help guide you through the CIO process or to help you teach your child to self-soothe without CIO. There is the method by Ferber in Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems, the method by Weissbluth in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and the method by Hogg in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. I know there are many more books out there. I, myself, have written guides on how to do CIO successfully on this blog (see related posts below). I hope that as you read these books and blog posts, you will take them as good information and not solid doctrine. You really do need to apply what is best for your individual child. All three of my children have taken three different paths toward self-soothing. The end result is the same. How you get there is not what is important. Figure out what works for your child.

Is it hard? Yes! It is hard to get to know this new little person. There are many important variables to cover. For example, McKenna likes to wear socks for naps. She sleeps better if she has them on. Kaitlyn slept better without socks. Figuring this out will not happen in two different naps sessions. There are too many other factors to consider to be able to just do one nap with socks ad one without to see which your baby prefers. This is something you figure out over time. It will take a lot of thought and effort on your part.

Finally, my friend Rachel did a summary of what Babywise says about sleep training called Sleep Training- BabyWise. I encourage you to read it so you can see at a glance what sleep training is according to Babywise. The method is very ambiguous. This is a common theme among the books. The books focus more on "why" than "how." I know that is frustrating for some, but understand that it really is best in the long run. There are plenty of books out there that can offer you good ideas on how to accomplish your goals, such as The Baby Whisperer. I try to offer them here, also. But if you don't understand why, you won't ever be able to be consistent on your own. Remember that as you are sleep training, you need to design the best course of action for your individual child.

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19 comments:

Tracy said...

My daughter just turned 10 months and has not been napping well for the past couple weeks. For months and months she has been going down well and sleeping two good naps per day, plus 12 hrs at night. Now, naps have become big crying sessions and I ususally get her out of the crib after 1/2 hour of on-off crying (10-15 min of hard crying). Is it too late to do CIO again? Also, I hate doing CIO for naps because I always wonder if I'm getting the timing right. Her cues were always so easy to read before, plus they always occured at the same time (i.e. in the morning she would yawn and get fussy an hour and a half after waking). Now, I don't always get cues and/or they're just wrong. Like today, she was yawning and fussy just 1 hour after waking, so I tried to put her down, but it didn't work. So we took a walk in the stroller and she fell asleep at 9 AM for an hour... I'm so confused when she should be going down, how long to let her cry it out, and maybe she is just done with the morning nap??? Please help! Thank you!

Chad and Tara said...

I so love your site. I have tried BW and it is not working so well for us. One because our lifestyle baby needs to go to bed later and Two because he has reflux he is now 4 months old. But I can't just lay him down and let him cry if he does he will spit up and hurt his throat. At night we are doing bottle then straight to bed because it relaxes him and he won't get tense and reflux he goes to bed at 10-1030 but has been waking anywhere from 445-6am crying if I paci him sometimes he goes to bed others he won't. He is bottle fed with Hypo formula because of reflux.... but I wait till 630 to feed him to make sure it is 8 hours but after i feed him I can't just put him right to bed because he is not relaxed enough in the morning so I have to rock him to sleep then put him down. And most of the time he wakes at 945 and I leave him in bed till 10 for his waketime. What are your suggestions with Reflux and babywise? And the later sched? I thought BW would be good for his Reflux bc I lay him down for naps 1.5 to 2 hours after bottle but he still refluxes so he is very fussy and can't let him cry.
Tara

Plowmanators said...

Tracy,

I can't tell you how many ten month old nap problems I have been getting lately. Even my SIL (who does baby whisperer) is having them. Basically, it is normal. Why? I have no idea!

With a ten month old, timing for naps should be basically the same every day. So every day, she should need somewhere around 2 hours waketime (it does vary from child to child. See optimal waketime length posts for polls and help there). So if it is typically two hours, if she yawns at one hour you know she doesn't really need a nap.

Plowmanators said...

Tara,

See the blog label "reflux" for my thoughts on reflux. If he is in pain, you just need to do what you can. See the reflux posts and let me know what further questions you have.

Sara said...

My son is 8 months and self he seems to nap fine and can self sooth himself to sleep but when it comes to bedtime we have issues. I've tried CIO but he would go all night if I let him, he is very stubborn. I have also done the night time routine with bath, singing, rocking and still no success. He usually wants me to rock him to sleep but I only do it long enough for him to get drowsy and then I lay him down. Once he finally gets to sleep he still continues to wake up every 2 hrs!I don't offer the breast right away but if he fights me I will. We've tried letting him CIO, pacifier,rocking, and of course the breast but these all seem to work temporarily. We have done the BW routine ever since he was 2 weeks old and I still haven't gotten him to sleep through the night. What are we doing wrong and what advice can you give?

Plowmanators said...

Sara, it is very odd for him to sleep fine for naps and not nighttime. I would think about what is different about bedtime from naptimes. Does he need a longer waketime? A shorter waketime? Does he need to drop the third nap?

Is the house colder at night? Does he need warmer PJs? Does he have reflux or gas pain or some other medical condition?

maryabbott said...

Ive been trying to do CIO with my 10 week old for a while now and its taking soooo long! She has admittedly starting to sleep from 22:30 to 6am which is great but daytime naps comtinue to be a nightmare! One thing I can think of that might explain why Im having trouble during the day and just wonder what people think; she sleeps in her moses basket but during the night she is in the room with us and during the day in her nursery on her own -I realise this might be why Im finding it difficult due to inconsistency but Im so scared to change things cus we are actually getting sleep for the first time in ages! Is it hugely important to have them in the room on their own to CIO?

Plowmanators said...

Maryabbot,

Do you mean for naps or for night? And in another room alone or with someone?

cbranham said...

Our newborn baby is almost 3 weeks old and we have been letting her sleep in her my little lamb swing by our bed at night. We tried the pack and play at first but she seems to sleep much better in the swing. Is this considered a prop and will it make it difficult for her to move to her crib?

Plowmanators said...

Yes, that is a prop and it will most likely make it more difficult to move to a crib later on.

Does she have reflux? Typically children who like to sleep in swings have reflux. If that is the case, I think the prop is better than having her in pain at night.

Another idea is she might like the cozy, tight feeling, so a nice swaddle might do the trick for her to sleep in a crib.

Turner Family said...

Ok, I just have to post for some help! My 3rd BW baby is 6.5 weeks old and he is just NOT getting this nap thing like his brother and sister did! I am very grateful that his nighttime sleep is Perfect: bed at 8p, dream feed at 11p, wake to eat around 3:00a, and then starts the day around 8a. Thankful! But, naps are all over the place. I have done so much trial and error to see what will help him 1. fall asleep on his own 2. STAY asleep for the full nap! He's starting to get the hang of falling asleep IF I time it right and follow his cues to get him down in time. If he's too tired, it's a disaster that never really gets better. The 1st nap of the day is usually the best at falling right asleep on his own without any fuss at all, however, 90% of the time with all naps, he wakes after about 30-60 mins, and very few times has he gotten himself back to sleep. Mostly he just lies in there crying/fussing on and off. I've tried going to help calm him down and this just makes things worse. I've tried letting him stay in there and CIO, but it doesn't really work either. I notice that he is trying SO hard to get his fists/fingers/thumb into his mouth and gets more and more frustrated that he can't. I have NEVER even owned a pacifier until now and see how easily you can get sucked into using one b/c if I do give in (b/c the other 2 kids really need my attn. or something!), he falls back asleep almost immediately. So, I guess my real question is are there any other suggestions that I haven't tried/considered to help him learn to fall back asleep?? My other 2 were thumb-suckers and got it VERY early, so there was almost never an issue with naps, as long as they could get their thumb!
THANKS in advance!!

Plowmanators said...

Turner Family,

Have you tried treating it like a growth spurt?

Keep working on getting that optimal waketime length just right. Once you get that figured out, I think naps will improve.

As for the pacifier, you will have to decide what you want to do. You can keep it or just keep trudging forth without it. Good luck!

stacy0103 said...

I need some help! My little guy, (his name is Brayden too btw! Thought that was interesting! : )) has been doing the eat wake sleep cycle during the day, every 2.5 hours. He is 11 weeks old with a nighttime feed at 10. He does well during the day with his naps, with wake time of about an hour then he gives me sleep cues. I've let him CIO for naps as I have learned his just before sleep cries. What my issue is, is that he wakes up 1 to 2 times a night and not always the same time in the am. At night he either sleeps till about 3 or 4 then I feed him or he wakes at 1230 and 4. I feel like he is still really sleepy during the day bc he doesn't get a full night's sleep and I wake him from naps a lot to feed him. Any suggestions to get him to sttn? Should I not feed him at 4 when he wakes? Should I let him CIO when he wakes at night too? What about doing a later dream feed? Thanks in advance for your help!!

Stacy

stacy0103 said...

I need some help! My little guy, (his name is Brayden too btw! Thought that was interesting! : )) has been doing the eat wake sleep cycle during the day, every 2.5 hours. He is 11 weeks old with a nighttime feed at 10. He does well during the day with his naps, with wake time of about an hour then he gives me sleep cues. I've let him CIO for naps as I have learned his just before sleep cries. What my issue is, is that he wakes up 1 to 2 times a night and not always the same time in the am. At night he either sleeps till about 3 or 4 then I feed him or he wakes at 1230 and 4. I feel like he is still really sleepy during the day bc he doesn't get a full night's sleep and I wake him from naps a lot to feed him. Any suggestions to get him to sttn? Should I not feed him at 4 when he wakes? Should I let him CIO when he wakes at night too? What about doing a later dream feed? Thanks in advance for your help!!

Stacy

Plowmanators said...

Stacy, what a great name for a boy :)

I think everything you are doing looks good. If he is eating well at both of his night feedings, I would continue with feeding him at those times. You are already at a 2.5 hour schedule, and you are waking him for those, so you don't need to adjust daily feeding. You could try cluster feeding in the evening (see the label on that).

He might just be a boy who needs a lot of calories in the day still.

There is also a chance that he is waking in the night from being disrupted in sleep in the day. You could try a combo 2.5-3 hour schedule and see if that helps him. So feed him first thing in the morning, then go three hours, then another three hours, then 2.5 and possibly doing cluster feeding in the evening. Perhaps he just needs longer naps in the day.

Jessica said...

My son is 12 weeks, but was born 7 weeks early (so 5 weeks adjusted). We are on a consistent 3 hour feeding schedule during the day. I am working on the proper waketime for him though. Sometimes he is yawning as soon as he finishes eating. He is still waking every 3 (2.5-3.5) hours at night as well. He eats fairly well during these feeds, but has slowed during this feeding the last night or two. Do you suggest continuing these feeds as long as he is taking them well. Maybe even start to cut down on the amount to see if we can phase out those feedings (one at a time). Having a preemie adds another level of complexity to the sleeping struggle. Do we treat him like a 3 month old or 1 month old? Thanks in advance for your help!

Katrina Lee said...

Just started babywise PDF with my 10 week old. Before starting this my son would go down for bed at 8 and not wake up until 1 or 2 a.m. Now that I'm waking him up at 11pm for late evening feeding he wakes up twice in the night for feedings what am I doing wrong?

Valerie Plowman said...

Try waking him earlier than 11. I like closer to 10:30. The exact time of that dreamfeed can have a big impact.

If that doesn't help, I would just not do the dreamfeed.

Lauren Ulrich said...

Hi! I have a 6 week old baby boy, who has been on a Babywise schedule from the start. He started going 5 hours between feedings at night after being given a bottle at the dream feed, usually around 10:30. However, he still isn't consistent with this yet. Some nights he will still wake up at 2 and 5 am regardless of the dream feed. I am wondering what your advice would be on this scenario. Thanks!

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