Friday, July 16, 2010

Success with Babywise and Beyond

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Here is another great story. Notice how well this mom balances teaching and guidance with showing love and treasuring every moment with her child.


I learned about Babywise (or GKGW Coming Along the Infant Way) from my brother and sister in law. When I was pregnant they brought me the videos they had used along with the book. I adored how they were raising my 2 nephews (3 and 2 at the time) and was of course very impressed that both were such excellent sleepers. They were complete opposite is most every other way, but sleeping that were equally skilled at! I watched the videos, read the book and knew immediately that it fit well with how I wanted to raise my son.

Babywise strategies worked so well with my son. Learning to self-soothe was a huge lesson for him. With that lesson, I saw a huge improvement in his length of sleep for both naps and nights. I also loved how Babywise really encouraged parents to learn the different meanings for your baby's cries. They encourage you to work up to full feedings from very early on. Full feedings meant successful nursing for us all the way to 14 months of age when I decided to wean. His full stomach and good rest meant I was better able to learn the different cries and what he was trying to tell me. I could learn to meet all his needs without grasping at straws.

What I was surprised to discover was that the other BW books were just, if not even more helpful. There was so much more to learn that how to teach my son to practice good sleep and eating habits. Those lessons were necessary foundations but there was a lot more to tackle when my little guy started crawling, walking, eating on his own, talking, and all the in-betweens of those. He was basically taking those first steps from babyhood to childhood and needed me to help him make that transition as easy as possible. That's where BW II, PreTW, and TW helped. They taught me strategies (and in some areas reinforced strategies I had already practice successfully as a teacher) to minimalize the frustrations both for my son and myself. Structuring our days activities within his developmental ability, keeping my speech within his developmental understanding, keeping consistent, teaching him that mommy always means what she says, teaching those first steps towards self-control, lengthening his ability to focus, teaching him how to respond when frustrated, learning what it means to be part of a family,... the list could go on and on. Overall, the TW books helped me realize the importance of everything I do with and for my son, how much they will impact his development. I learned to evaluate WHY I'm doing things rather than just grasping at straws to fill an immediate need or problem. If I spend time considering WHY I'm doing what I'm doing, I can better determine if what I'm doing is truly helping him or hindering him.

I'm getting to watch a precious little baby develop into a precious toddler and soon a precious child, teen and man. Even better, I'm getting to help him make those transitions as smoothly as possible. I love that he knows I love him, that I'm here for him, that I will kiss those booboos and read that book (again!), and cuddle him after a bad dream (or just because he wants to cuddle.... who knows how long that will last, so I better get plenty cuddles in while he's interested!). I equally love to watch him keep trying to work a puzzle piece until it fits just right, not giving up out of frustration. I love how he looks at me intently when I'm explaining something to him. I love his contentment, whether playing alone, with adults or with kids. I love that he's showing confidence in himself and his abilities and in me as a mom. I love that when poor habits do surface (and yes, I'll have to admit that my precious boy has areas for improvement!), I can find a way to address them through what I learn in the series and the training can occur smoothly for us both. I love that foundations are set (and in some cases being set) that make the next stage easier for him. I don't want him to find my actions as a parent frustrating or hindering but enabling and encouraging for him. I love that BW and TW has helped me manage that in a practical way.


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