Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Three times around with Babywise – while Living, Loving, Laughing!

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Children – Lily (5), Eli (3) and Miles (6 months)
 
Where would I be without Babywise? I wouldn’t even want to know! The Babywise philosophy and routines have served me (and my kids) so well through three sets of baby days and beyond. Babywise was the first ‘baby book’ I read and I was immediately attracted to the approach and the reasoning behind it, so decided to just give it a go and see how it went. As it worked so well, I just stuck with it SmileAlong the way, I have mixed in various other parenting styles and theories that suit my tastes, including good old Mother’s Intuition! Winking smile Every mother needs to work out the path that suits her and her children. But Babywise has always served as a good foundation upon which to build. I am so grateful to the writers and just as much gratitude goes to Val and her indispensible blog!
 
Although there is no ‘perfect’ baby and it always takes a little bit of tweaking along the way, Babywise as a structure has been hugely helpful. Of course, Babywise is about soooo much more than just sleep (or how quickly they STTN), but following the ‘eat, wake, sleep’ routine has been so helpful. My first child slept through (from dream feed to waketime) at 4.5 weeks (yes, an angel baby and quite a shock!), my second at 12 weeks (he had a bit of reflux and was more high-needs) and my third at 5.5 weeks. All three were exclusively breastfed.
 
Apart from the sleep factor (as big as that is to a new parent!), I love the idea of the child being welcomed into the family, not centring everything around the child. I love the way Babywise encourages a routine but also encourages parents to use their own instincts and to be flexible – don’t be a slave to your routine. My motto is it’s all about balance – get into a regular routine but don’t be afraid to get out of it every now and then too! And at the end of the day, no one knows your baby like you do, right?! But a regular and fairly consistent routine helped all my babies be well rested, happy and content. They nap well, self settle well and adapted to a routine but were also adaptable to the realities of life when routine goes out the window!
 
As my children have grown, I have been so grateful for the other elements of character building and routine that BW encourages for toddlers and beyond. Independent Play has been a cornerstone of our routine and a huge blessing to the kids – and to me! (http://livinglovinglaughingtogether.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/independent-playtime.html). The encouragement to build in manners, self control, limiting choices, giving structure to their day, teaching respect and values, and so on have all guided my parenting.
 
For anyone starting out on Babywise, I would say – if the style or the goals suit you, try it out! Don’t be disheartened if things don’t go ‘perfectly to plan’ – babies are not robots, after all! Babywise routines for me was more about a goal to work towards, some structure to help those hazy newborn days. When a day totally goes down the drain, with naps all over the place or feeding every hour, don’t stress! Just try to sit back and try to understand what is going on with your baby, and what you could try differently. And just get to the next day however you can, rise up and start again! It’s a new day Smile
 
I have three copies of Babywise which I regularly loan out to friends and family who ask me about how to approach the newborn days – always with an encouragement to check out this blog too Smile It has been wonderful to see it give guidance that actually works to new parents with precious new babies. I know for myself that the sleep and structure that BW has helped us achieve makes me a better mother and all of us a happier family! So, while BW looks different for every family, I am pleased to say that I very much feel that BW was definitely a success for us!

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