Thursday, February 21, 2013

Starting Babywise Late Guide

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You are new to On Becoming Baby Wise. For whatever reason, you haven't used any of the principles yet and you want to now, but don't know where to start.

I was there once. Despite the fact that a friend told me all about Babywise when I was pregnant with Brayden and it sounded like a good idea to me, we hadn't even read the book. We figured our natural instincts of parenting would kick in and everything would be peachy. But they weren't! And so after a month of Brayden's life (which seemed like an eternity to me), we decided to go buy the book. 

I started late, and you can too. I know that no matter the age of your child, you are going to be worried you are too late to use Babywise successfully. No matter the age, you are not too late. Your baby (or child) is not too old. 

So how do you get started? I think that there is no one right way to go about it, but here is my way. Read through it and see how that works with your personality and adapt it as necessary to make your own way. 

Step One: Do the Reading
You can't implement something if you don't know what you are implementing. I read On Becoming Babywise in 1-2 hours my first time through--you can read it quite quickly. Read through Babywise and read what you can here so you can know what it is you are trying to accomplish and how you will try to accomplish it.

I know I have a TON of posts here. I have been writing this blog for over five years. I am sure it is incredibly overwhelming to come here and have all of this information before you. If you have a young baby, see this post: Must-Read Posts to Prep for Baby

Utilize the Blog Index and the Index By Age. Those will help you find posts relevant to what you are trying to find out about. There are also blog labels on the right side of any page, as well as a search function at the top left of any page. 

If you have an older baby, do still look through information for younger babies. The ideas build on each other. Don't start with your 7 month old baby and expect to jump in where the average 7 month old Babywise baby is. You will need to start at the basics, get those down, and then work toward the other things. I have a post that can help you with the basic idea: The Gist of Babywise.

Step Two: Make a Plan
As you read the material, decide on a plan of implementation. Start with basics. The basics are eating, sleeping, and playing. The most basic things to worry about are eating and sleeping. Write down the goals you have for your baby and figure out ways you can meet those goals.

Step Three: Follow the Pattern
When I started late, I started with the pattern of eat, play, sleep. Eat, play, sleep. That was my first area of focus. This is what I suggest to anyone I advise who is starting late. Don't worry about how or where baby is sleeping, just get the pattern down. Baby eats  Then baby plays. Then baby takes a nap. Then baby eats. Then baby plays. Then baby takes a nap. See more here: 

Eat/Wake/Sleep Cycle


Now, older babies won't follow this pattern exactly. As babies get older, they drop naps, so not every feeding follows sleep. Here is a basic age break down. They can vary, but this will give you a good idea of where you should be.

0-4 Months Old:
  • Baby will take 4 naps a day
  • Baby will go to bed around 7-8 PM
  • Baby will benefit from a dreamfeed
  • Baby might wake in the night
  • Get baby up in the morning around 7-8 AM to start the day
  • Baby will be able to be awake anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours during this time period before needing another nap (this includes feeding time)
4-6 Months Old
  • Baby will take 3 naps a day
  • Baby will go to bed around 7-8 PM
  • Baby may or may not have a dreamfeed
  • Baby might wake in the night (and if you are just starting out, there is a good chance baby will be)
  • Get baby up in the morning around 7-8 AM to start the day
  • Baby will be able to be awake anywhere from 1-2 hours at a time before needing a nap during this time period (this includes feeding time)
6-8 Months Old
  • Baby will take 2-3 naps a day
  • Baby will go to bed around 7-8 PM
  • Baby may or may not have a dreamfeed--most drop the dreamfeed in this time period if they still have it
  • Baby might wake in the night (and if you are just starting out, there is a good chance baby will be)
  • Get baby up in the morning around 7-8 AM to start the day
  • Baby will be able to be awake anywhere from 1-2 hours at a time before needing a nap during this time period (this includes feeding time). Most babies will be able to be at 1.5-2 hours
9-12 Months Old
  • Baby will take 2-3 naps a day--most take 2
  • Baby will go to bed around 7-8 PM
  • Baby can soon stop waking in the night (if you are just starting out, there is a good chance baby will be waking in the night still)
  • Get baby up in the morning around 7-8 AM to start the day
  • Baby will be able to be awake anywhere from 1.5-2 hours at a time before needing a nap during this time period (this includes feeding time). Most babies will be up for two hours, down for two hours, etc.
13-15 Months Old
  • Baby will take 2 naps a day
  • Baby will go to bed around 7-8 PM
  • Baby is old enough to soon stop waking in the night (if you are just starting out, there is a good chance baby will be waking in the night still)
  • Get baby up in the morning around 7-8 AM to start the day
  • Baby will be able to be awake anywhere from for about 2 hours at a time before needing a nap during this time period (this includes feeding time). Most babies will be up for two hours, down for two hours, etc.
15-18 Months Old
  • Baby will take 1-2 naps a day--most drop the morning nap in this period
  • Baby will go to bed around 7-8 PM
  • Baby is old enough to soon stop waking in the night (if you are just starting out, there is a good chance baby will be waking in the night still)
  • Get baby up in the morning around 7-8 AM to start the day
Step Four: Write Things Down
Keep track of what times baby ate, how long baby was awake, what baby did to play, and how baby slept. This will help you see patterns and help you problem solve. You can create your own logs, or you can purchase mine for $1.00.

Step Five: Start Having Naps in the Right Place
Once you have your pattern down, it is time to start thinking about where you want baby sleeping. In Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Weissbluth states that the most restorative sleep is sleep that is in a stationary place, like a crib. That is my recommendation.

Put baby down for naps and night in the crib. 

Your baby will likely wake up after a short nap. You want naps to be anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours long (except for the last nap of the day if baby still has 3-4 naps; the last nap of the day is often 30-60 minutes). If baby wakes early and is not hungry, have a plan for what to do. I recommend holding, rocking, the swing, etc. As your baby learns to sleep independently, she will not easily fall back asleep on her own when she wakes early. That day will come, but she needs to have the tools to fall asleep first. So for now, help her fall back asleep. You are taking baby steps here.

Your baby will sleep the longest for the nap if the nap starts at the best time. That means baby is awake for the right amount of time. I call this "optimal waketime." See this post for more: Optimal Waketime Lengths

Step Six: Have Patience
This is not going to be a simple, quick fix. You need to have patience through the process. Ages for abilities are averages and what is most frequent--they are not absolutes. Your baby is a human and will have variations. 

Step Seven: Dedicate Some Time
Once you start napping in the crib, dedicate some time to the process. It is wise to just stay home for 1-2 weeks while you get this nailed down. You will be able to have flexibility, but your baby cannot be flexible if there is no starting point and no point to return to after a disruption. See this post: Establishing Consistency--Make Sacrifices:http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/establish-consistencymake-sacrifices.html and this post: Getting a Consistent Schedule:http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/getting-consistent-schedule.html and Understanding Flexibility.

Do always remember: Let Your Schedule Serve You: You Don't Serve Your Schedule (Don't Stress)--but you first need to establish the norm.

Step Eight: Decide On Sleep Goals
Decide what your sleep goals are. Do you want baby to fall asleep on her own? If so, how are you going to meet that goal? There are many roads to get there. You can CIO, you can follow advice from The Baby Whisperer, or you can try The No-Cry Sleep Solution. If you don't mind helping your baby to fall asleep, go ahead and do that--just move baby to the crib once she is asleep. Personally, my preference is for baby to fall asleep on her own in her crib. Once you know your goals, make a plan and implement them.

Step Nine: Be Ready for Curve Balls
Things will come up that you weren't planning on. Know that and expect it. Address them as they come up. Search for a solution and problem solve. See this: Just When You Got It, Everything Changes:http://www.babywisemom.com/2010/02/just-when-you-got-iteverything-changes.html
Step Ten: Expect Baby To Be Behind "Schedule"
With Babywise, there is a list of milestones of when your baby will likely achieve certain goals (like sleeping through the night). If you start late, know your baby will likely take some time to catch up to those goals. Some take to it faster than others. We started Brayden full on at 9 weeks and he wasn't fully caught up in milestones until he was 6.5 months old.

Conclusion
No matter how you go about it, break down your goals into manageable steps. Add one thing at a time to make it easiest on you and your baby. Best of luck to you!

22 comments:

Christina and David said...

Thank you so much! We are starting at 15 weeks and this post is exactly what I needed today.

Brittany P said...

I just wrote a long response to this post and it was deleted when I was asked to sign in. :(

We did BW with our first son with great success. (STTN starting at 7 weeks and we dropped the DF at 5 months.) Son #2 is a week younger than Brinley, and though we've done our best to implement BW from the start, he's turned our lives upside down.

Son #2 came home from the hospital already on a great schedule - feedings every three hours, put himself to sleep and was only up twice during the night. He developed reflux around 4 weeks and his naps went from being 2 hours long to 20 minutes and there was nothing that we could do to get him back to sleep when he woke up. (Believe me, we tried everything.) Started Zantac and though it helped with his awake times, naps only lengthened to 45 minutes. Then we ran into problems with him not being hungry when he woke up because it was too close to his last feeding, so I started keeping him up longer even though it made him OT.

His naps have only started improving in the last month, (1.5 hours long instead of 45 min) and though he's had two separate weeks of STTN (one week around Christmas and one at the end of January), he still isn't doing it consistently.
Our entire family has been sick since October now, (I swear we've caught every virus out there) and I know that my milk supply has taken a hit many times. He is currently finishing up antibiotics for double ear infections and a lower respiratory infection, and we've held off switching him to formula until he's finished. (That means that I've had to feed him two times per awake time for the last week because I'm not making much milk at all anymore.) We're switching on Saturday and hoping that it helps with his sleeping. He's also recently started solids and is now eating up to half a jar, three times a day.

Basically, it's a mess. I feel like I've messed everything up and that he's never going to STTN. I guess I'm just looking for reassurance that we can still make BW work for him and that he will eventually start sleeping better.

Do you have any advice?

Kelly said...

Hello there! Your blog has been so very helpful to me. I feel like it has been a total God send! I started BW about a month ago. Your Brinley and my Gabriel are close to the same age. His bday is August 19th, 2012. There have been many ups and downs. I've done a lot of reading, trials and errors. I wish I would have done BW with all my children. I also have a 10 year old boy and a 5 year old girl. I have so much to say! Let me know if you want me to contribute my experiences!

Carlee said...

I tried babywise; but my baby did not fit at all even though we tried to force it. My son now 10 months only slept for 30 min from day 1 to 3-4 months. He started taking 45 min naps at 5-7, and from 8 to now 10 he takes anywhere from 45 min to 90 min naps. He also wakes up between 5:30 and 6 am, a lot of your blogs talk about waking your baby up at 7-8, but our son wakes us up EVERY morning way too early for us. I also work full time so we leave the house by 7:30 everyday. He's a good sleeper, sleeps from 7pm-5:30 which is a full night sleep, we plan to have another child so I'm just trying to figure out how to do this if you baby doesn't take long enough naps, otherwise they eat every hour (I didn't want our son to get use to snacking).

Kelly said...

Gabriel actually reached for his crib at his morning nap today! I have done exactly what you said to do in "Starting Babywise late". I have found that being consistent and writing everything down helps A LOT. I have been able to distinguish between his different cries and cues so much more accurately! He is a much more happy baby! How do you deal with baby being sick and teething without succumbing to nursing to comfort? Also how do you deal with it when you're sick and your milk supply goes down? These are the times I find it the most difficult to remain consistent.

Also, I have found it hard to do CIO..... He really seems to be hungry/not tired when he cries really loudly and persistently.

He is still not STTN. On good nights he wakes up once or twice. I just feed him b/c he takes in a full meal and that's the only way he'll go back to sleep.

lwicks said...

DD is 3.5 weeks, and for awake time she's up between 35-60 minutes, depending on when she starts showing signs of tiredness. My question is that for some naps she takes up to 45 minutes (sometimes an hour) to fall asleep. She looks around, or she may close her eyes for a few seconds, then they pop open again. I do the 4 S's, close blinds, white noise, and I put her down drowsy but still awake. I don't think it's overtiredness since I watch for cues and she isn't up for more than 60 minutes (and it's usually less). Since I put her down drowsy, I assume she should go to sleep at least fairly quickly, but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes when she takes forever to fall asleep, she only has a 45 minute nap, sometimes she takes a good nap. There's nothing consistent that makes it easy to figure out why she takes so long. Could it just be that she's still learning how to put herself to sleep? Some naps, esp when she's had a short nap prior and has been awake longer than normal, she goes to sleep w/in 15 minutes. I'm a bit confused!

Valerie Plowman said...

You are welcome to all!

Valerie Plowman said...

Brittany yes you can! You and your baby have been through a lot. Reflux is a whole different story. Be sure to read the posts on reflux on this blog. There are many parents out there who do BW with a reflux baby, and while not all are the "stereotypical" picture of BW perfection, it is still MUCH easier than it would be if you weren't doing BW. You just need to adjust your "yardstick"--in other words, don't measure your baby's success compared to other BW babies (including your first). Measure it only against where your baby as in individual would be without it.

Valerie Plowman said...

Carlee, could your baby be waking early from hearing you get ready in the morning? Have you looked through the Nighttime sleep issues revised and updated post?

My oldest woke on his own each day between 7-7:15. Some babies are just more naturally early risers. The plus side of this type is when school starts, you don't have to fight them to wake up in the morning :)

Valerie Plowman said...

Kelly, my babies have all been fine with just me or my husband comforting when sick or teething. Some people do nurse for comfort, and that is fine if that is what you want to do. It may or may not be a battle once the sickness is over.

If you get low supply from sickness, try any of the following;

1-nurse more often for a few days
2-pump during the day
3-take fenugreek or other supplements to help supply

Valerie Plowman said...

lwicks,

My guess would be waketime length is not right. I would stop going by the cues you are going by right now. I would try set wake time lengths and see what happens at the different lengths. So try 45 minutes and see how naps go. If that isn't perfect, try 50. And so on. Typically, if a baby is not crying in bed but takes a long time to fall asleep, I say the baby needs a longer waketime length, BUT 60 minutes seems plenty long enough for a 3 week old.

It could also be stimulation levels, so pay attention to what happens during playtime and how baby naps after that.

Shali Yau said...

Thank you for this blog. It is really helpful. I just got BW and read about sleep training. I have a 12 week old girl. We started sleep training today. I have few questions about it and hope to get some advice from you. Thank you in advance.

1. I am doing a 2.5h feed/wake/sleep schedule now. She follows ok but sometimes she does not eat both sides or she would eat one side and refuse the other. After I change her diaper, sometimes she will eat again; sometimes not. Should I extend the 2.5h schedule? I feel she wont be able extend it to 3h.

2. She can only take 30 min nap. The first two naps of today, she cried about 20 -30 min before fell asleep on her own. She took 20-30 min nap each time. For her third nap, she just would not go to sleep. She cried for 1h. Then, I patted her and picked her up. I burped her and rocked her to sleep. She only slept for 20 min. She started cry again but that is still 30 min away from her next feeding. I tried to rock her but she just wont stop crying. what should I do? I worry that she will be over tired and wont go to sleep later. Since I am using CIO, should I just let her cry and dont pick her up at all?

3. At night, she started to sleep between 7:30 - 11:30pm, woke up at 3:30 and then 5:30 am for food. Last night, we started to CIO and she slept by herself. She woke up at 1:30 and then 6:30am. Should I wake her up for dreamfeed at 11pm? I feel she would wake up more often if I do the dreamfeed. Can I just do 1:30 and 6:30am feeding?

Thank you.

Krystin Davies said...

Boy do I have questions...

I'm a first time mom, my son was born 5 weeks early, healthy, with no health problems other than mild jaundice.
When training with babywise, do I go off how old he actually is, or base everything off of his due date?
We have the day time routine down pat. Eat, wake, sleep every three hours on the dot. But the evenings are a bit dicey and I never know when hes going to wake up, to an extent. Last night I put him down at 9:30 after feeding, and he woke up at 12:15, 3:30, 5:30, and up at 8:30.
And each time he was very sleepy and hard to get to eat. So I'm wondering at this point if he's capable of going longer without a feeding, and how I make that happen. Also, is 8:30a too late for a start feeding?

Krystin Davies said...

I looked more into your posts by index and found what I was looking for :) thank you!!!!

26leo said...

Hello, what do you suggest if baby won't go to sleep on their own, or won't go back to sleep after night feeds? Wechavevbeen trying for three weeks, Leo is 5 weeks old. He will scream and cry on and off for over an hour and still not sleep. We have a sound machine, he is swaddled, and is on a three hour schedule. He is only up for about 40 minutes...but won't cry himself to sleep.

Cassandra Dowell said...

Hello, just want to say how helpful your blog is. I feel like I comb through it everyday along side my babywise books to gets helpful tips for little one. I do have a question though. I'm sort of starting late... Meaning, my daughter (7months now) was born low birth weight and is still small for her age. I feel like I can't get her to go 4hrs between feedings like baby wise says, and I feel like I can't imagine her just having 2naps a day. It's like she is always months behind the "babywise baby". We do the WEP system and she goes down without being rocked I. Her own crib, but I just struggle with a schedule that works. I know she can sleep through the night because a month ago she went a whole week sleeping about 10hrs a night.... The we went back to waking at 2and then 5am. She has gotten into the habit of starting the day at 6am so I'm trying to figure out how to just have 5-4 feedings and 2-3 naps in a 13 hrs time frame. She stays up for usually 1.5-2hrs at a time for wake time. I was just wondering if I could see a visual schedule I could try for my little one starting at 6am and bedtime nursing at 7:30pm. She does eat 3meals aday of solids too. Thanks and I hope my post isn't scatter brained. Lol. Rough week!

Cassandra Dowell said...

Ok, I've looked all over your blog and think I found what I needed. I just need to be more strict with my day time schedule. 6am are time works the bat for her so I will work with that. Thanks for a great blog!

Hana Louise said...

Hi! I've been looking all through your blog for the past couple of days, trying to figure everything out. There is so much to look through!

My baby boy is six weeks old now and I decided to start him on Babywise not because of sleep problems, but because he was fussy ALL of the time. It seems to have really helped me to figure out his fussiness and he has been a LOT happier just the past three days we have been using the eat/play/sleep schedule.

So, now that he's been happier, I'm more concerned about his night time sleeping. Before doing babywise, he was already sleeping anywhere from 6-8 hours through the night. Because I am changing his daytime nap schedule, I'm concerned that he won't sleep as well during the night. My biggest concern is the last nap of the day (so before the late-evening feed, or dreamfeed). I think the reason that DS has been sleeping so well during the night is because DH and I make a conscious effort to keep DS awake before we put him down, between 9 and 10pm. Will he wake up more now that we will be putting him to bed earlier?

My second concern is with his daytime naps. I think I am pretty good at catching his sleep cues and putting him down because he will only fuss for about 5 minutes before falling asleep in his crib. Sometimes he sleeps great! But other times he will wake up fussing before it is time to nurse him again. I try to put him back to sleep, but he just won't. He will fuss in his crib, but settle as soon as I pick him up. Then when I lay him down, he will fuss and fuss until I pick him back up again. Eventually, I will bring him out to his bouncy seat and he will sit there smiling and laughing. I don't think he is hungry because he is so happy when I get him out of his crib, but should I nurse him anyway? Is this wake time going to mess with the eat/play/sleep schedule? I just don't know what to do, because other times I will have to wake him up from his nap to nurse him.

Some advice, please?

brook8116 said...

I have a 7 month old baby and we are on the every three hour feeding schedule. She is doing pretty well and only taking 2 naps during the day with a short 3rd one sometimes.....I am putting her down at the same time every night and some nights she sleeps through the night....but majority of the time she is waking 1 to 2 times before her wake time of 5:30am. I am a nursing mother and have pretty much stopped feeding her in the middle of the night. I feed her at 7pm (solid/ nurse)and lay her down at 8pm. Should I wake her again around 10pm and feed her to ensure she sleeps through the night or is she really hungry? I guess my question is she waking several times through the night out of hunger or simply wanting comfort? I have one night this week gone in and picked her up and fed her bc she was screaming so bad and that was pretty abnormal. When I picked her up and fed her she nursed about 10 mins and then fell asleep. I laid her back in her bed and she screamed another 15 mins before going to sleep. Just trying to figure out why she is not sleeping 8-10 hrs through the night without waking up like most babies her age. Help!

Gretchen said...

The "Gist of Baby Wise" link above is dead.

Kevin Nguyen said...

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explorer said...

Hi and thank you for this post. I have just began babywise with my 7 week old baby. So far, she feeds every 2 hours during the day despite my best efforts to help her go longer. Is a 2 hour cycle ok? Also, her naps are usually very short which throws off the whole cycle. Sometimes, she wakes in the middle of her nap due to gas and despite my best attempts, i cannot get her to go back to sleep. What would you advise?

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