Friday, July 29, 2016

Reader Blogs Day 2016

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Today is the day to share your blog with the rest of us! Please look through the lists of categories below, choose the one that best fits your blog, follow the link, and comment on that post to share your blog. Please share your blog on only one link--choose the best one for your blog. If you don't see a category that fits your blog, go to "Misc." If/when I get enough similar blogs on that post, I will create a new category. If your blog is listed in one category but it actually fits a different category now, go ahead and list it with the better category.

If you have an interest in any of these categories, check out these blogs! I do like to look through these lists when finding potential new members of the Babywise Friendly Network, so it is a great place to get some visibility! 

Reader Favorites Day 2016

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One of my favorite things is knowing what other people have as favorite things. 

Below are the reader favorites posts for you to visit today. Follow the link and comment on the post with your favorites in that category. I will add your comments to the body of the post. Is there a category you would love to see? Go ahead and leave a comment letting me know what category you would like to see included. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Getting Organized for Back to School

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Sending kids to school is a bittersweet moment. On one hand, we love having our kids home with us. The extra hands for making work lighter! The fun and the memories! The lazy days and exciting day trips. Pajama days and lax schedule. Sigh.

On the other hand, the extra hands for making messes! The bickering and tears! The "I'm bored"s and "It's too hot!"s. The tangled hair and bedtime slipping by (two hours ago!!!). Ack!

We love the freedom and flexibility summer brings, but we also love the structure the school year provides us. I love summer, but I am always content to go back to school.

One daunting task in connection with back to school is that we have to get ready for back to school. Even if you are mentally and emotionally okay with the realities of back to school, that doesn't mean you want to spend the last few weeks of freedom planning and preparing for it. You wan to enjoy summer! 

I have you covered. I have been doing this back to school thing for many years, and I love to organize myself. Let me share my wisdom.

Clothes
One of my favorite things about going back to school as a kid was the new clothes. Funny how favorites can change...haha! 

Shopping for multiple children can be daunting, and the last thing I want to do is get home with a pile of clothes and realize I bought a bunch of what nobody really needed. 

Each summer around the end of July or beginning of August (3-4 weeks before school starts for us), we have a "try on everything you own" day. This is Brayden's most dreaded day of the year and my girls' favorite day of the year. 

The child tries each thing on and we decide if it fits still or not. Once we have weeded out all of the clothes that are too small, I look at what the child does have and decide how many of each type of clothing the child needs. I just make a list in my Notes section of my iPhone. So I have a Note for Brayden Clothes. I will have a section for t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, shorts, pants, etc. I write under each section how many shirts I want to aim for. I will even make note if we have too many of a color or list a few colors I think we should shoot for. 

This makes shopping much easier with four children. It also makes the budget happier AND bonus points for keeping our closets less cluttered and easier to keep clean. 

School Supplies
Another exciting aspect of back to school is school supplies. I mean, new crayons? Yes please! You will want to take note of what supplies you need at home for homework and what supplies your child will need at school. For us, each grade and each teacher is very different. Some provide all supplies and don't want you to bring anything and others want your child to have everything needed. It is wise to wait until you know what the teacher wants and allows before buying things for the classroom. If you want to know some of my favorites supplies for back to school, see this posts on the best of the school supplies. Some brands last forever and others a week. 

Extra Curricular Activities
If your child is going to do music lessons, dance class, gymnastics, soccer, etc. during the school
year, the time to plan that out is summer. Studios, leagues, and teachers do sign-ups at least weeks before getting started. So make a list of who might do what, look into days and times those are available, and figure out what can work for the family. 

When possible, find someone to carpool with. Brinley will be doing dance with two friends this year. She will be taking preschool with a different friend. McKenna will have dance class with a friend and we sign up for gymnastics at the same time as our neighbor. Kaitlyn is on a soccer team with her friends. I am working on convincing my neighbors to join swim team so we can carpool (haha!). I am a believer in the carpool! It doesn't always work out, but when it does, it definitely eases the burden weekly practices and class time puts on the family as a whole. Take a little time now to work out a plan so your school year can go more smoothly. Here is help on how to choose the best time of day for lessons. And if you are wondering how to balance a baby with these activities, see my post on how to manage baby with the sibling activities. I also have a post on how to balance and organize the entire family's schedules to work together in case you are overwhelmed with that idea.

Traditions
Decide before the first day what sort of traditions you want to have in your family associated with the first day of school. Do you want your child holding a cute sign in the first day of school picture? Your first day will go more smoothly if you don't try to create that the morning of. By the way, Pinterest has lots of free printouts waiting for you. Do you wan to interview your child on the first day to find out likes and wishes? Your tradition might just be that you take a normal old photo of the first day and that's okay, too! For the record, that is my only tradition. But if you want a certain tradition, plan for it a little ahead of time so you can make it happen. By the way, you can always start a new tradition. Your aren't doomed if you missed your oldest's first day of Kindergarten to start traditions. 

Create Daily Game Plan
While in the summer your schedule may have varied from day to day, with the school year, you have some solid constants. Each day, you will need to get ready for school. You might be packing a lunch every day. Each day, school will start at a certain time. Each day, school will end at a certain time. You will need to have time for homework, chores, and activities to work in. There are some things you can do each day to make these consistent things flow smoothly.

1-Have a morning plan
I really like my method for making things more smooth in the mornings. You can thrive and survive in the morning rush. I won't promise children will never move like turtles, nor that they will never get off task. But this system I use works well and they get to that place where they can govern themselves and you can help them get ready rather than bark orders all morning. Don't forget fitting making lunches into your morning routine. Oh, and if choosing the outfit each day seems daunting or is taking up too much of your morning, get my free printable for hanger tags. You can plan outfits all out on Saturday or Sunday and have it set for the week. 

2-Arrange transportation
How will your children get to school and back each day. Bus? Driving? Walking? A combination? Know how long each option you will use will take so you can do each without causing tardiness. If you are driving your children, if possible, get in a carpool! I carpool with a neighbor and it is fantastic. Little things like a carpool buy you 10-15 minutes here and there and can really make a positive difference in your life.

3-Plan a homework time
It seems like a simple thing, but I frequently see parents agonize over when exactly is the right time to have homework. Should you have your child do it right after school, or will that burn your child out? If you don't do it right away, will you just forget to do it all together? Or will you remember at bedtime--or worse--when you are walking out the door? Organize your days before school starts with thinking this through. You know your child best and your family best. And of course, I have talked in detail about this. Read my thoughts on when to do homework here. I have also talked in general about homework or piano (you could also apply these ideas to chores). Oh, and my friends, as your child comes home and you go through that backpack, be sure you have a game plan for that pile of papers your child will unveil on a daily basis. I have a great system for managing that pile of school papers

4-Set a time for chores
One of the best things about summer is that your children can easily fit chores into their days. Think about the best time of day for your child to get chores done while school is in session. I have a post to walk you through that. Read more on how to work chores into your day here. 

Conclusion
This list of tips should help you quickly get organized and set for back to school. Just remember:
  • Clothes
  • School Supplies
  • Extra Curricular
  • Traditions
  • Daily Gameplan
Take care of those five things and you will be more than prepared for day one!


The ladies of the BFBN are all blogging today with various organization tips. Check them out below:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Creating and Maintaining a Schedule {Poll Results}

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One of the major benefits of Babywise is having a predictable schedule/routine. Getting there, however, can seem like an impossible task. So how do people do it? I asked you readers that in the latest poll. Here are some great words of wisdom on how you can get baby on a schedule and how to stay there. 

1. What age did you aim for more of a schedule/routine and move away from a pattern?

Ashley said: "I started implementing schedules/routines once my son was 1 month old. That was when we introduced and worked for consistent eat/wake/sleep times. We have really stuck to certain elements of the schedule such as breakfast, naptime, and bedtime. Now that he is almost three years old, the rest of his day is more of a pattern due to how I work outside of the home for the mornings. If I was home more, I would want to schedule his mornings a bit better."

Katie said: "Around 4 months old. This was partly because around this age, my kids wouldn't nap more than about 3-4 times a day anyway. Once they reach 3 naps a day, around 4 to 5 months old, it's important to start using the clock so you can make it through the day and short naps aren't causing your last nap of the day to fall way too early."

Naomi said: " 2 months with both kids but it was several months before we truly had a BTC schedule"

Erin said: "We started trying to schedule/create a routine after about two weeks. We worked on full feedings first. Once that was established, we concentrated on waking up at the same time each day and going from there."

Laura said: "Daily wake time (give or take 15 minutes in the morning) and putting the kids down 12 hours afterward, give or take 30 minutes at night. So we aim for 8:/8:30 and the kids go down at 7:30/8:00, but no earlier than 7:30 and no later than 8:30. I base that a bit more on tiredness for my 2.5 yo than I do for my 7 mo. 
Also, to establish the schedule rather than the pattern, you just first need to get on a pattern! :) I think you can work to get your child to move toward a more predictable schedule that way, so establish the pattern first and then really get that daily wake time consistent. "

2. What did you find vital for attaining a predictable schedule/routine? What did you implement that made the difference?

Ashley said: "Consistency was the key! We wrote down the times we wanted to hit for feedings, naps, and other sleep. Setting goals was really key, as was communicating with my son's babysitters. We kept trying to hit our goal times, or adjusting the times if we found they weren't working. It certainly took a lot of trial and error, but we were determined to make his schedule work!"

Katie said: "The clock, a strong will, and some earplugs to start.  It's a new experience for baby and the only way to really teach them is to just do it. It's an important balance to evaluate your particular child AND typical schedules for their age when figuring out what they need for their daily schedule. (For example, if you have a child that has one nap that is particularly long, your schedule might differ somewhat from other babies of the same age, but still should fall on about the same number of naps a day)."

Naomi said: "waking the baby at the same time every morning"

Erin said: "To keep it predictable, we had to start at approximately the same time each day and go to bed for the last time around the same time of night. That really helped balance everything - even when all the naps were wonky. We didn't really implement anything (other than Eat/Wake/Sleep), it just took some time to get it established. So... I guess I tried to implement patience :)"

Laura said: "Three things: as said above, the daily wake time. Next, knowing sleep signals and making a point to remain calm when hearing peeps, grunts, talking in sleep, etc. 
Finally, and this is important: if either my toddler or my baby wake up extra early (say, an hour or more before DWT), I treat it as if it's night wake. With my toddler, I make a point to emphasize that it's still night time, and I give her a simple book and a water bottle (this happens whether or not it's dark or sun's a blazin'. With my infant son, I nurse him if necessary with as much as he needs and then put him back in bed right away. He babbles but then sleeps soon and then wakes up about a half hour after DWT."

3. What did you find sabotaged your efforts for a predictable schedule/routine? What would you recommend people avoid?

Ashley said: "Giving up too easily definitely sabotaged us. Making assumptions instead of holding to a plan also hurt. Having unrealistic expectations really discouraged me, so try to keep perspective that you're working with infants/small children. 

I would also recommend to avoid worshiping the schedule. There are times my son needed extra assistance (ie: sickness/teething) or we needed to be flexible (ie: family outings/events). It can at first feel annoying to break from the schedule you worked so hard to perfect, but give yourself and your littles grace so you can best enjoy life 

Katie said: " I recommend avoiding short naps.   For me, having company and traveling made it difficult. When we had company or took vacations, I had to learn to stop trying so hard to stick to the schedule, but it was important to me to minimize especially the travel in the first year in order to establish the schedule with baby and help it be a routine s/he could truly rely on. In order for baby to get that comfort of knowing what to expect next, I think it's important that, up to 12mo, they basically get their routine 6 to 6.5 days a week."

Naomi said: Baby regularly waking before DWT
45 minute naps! 
sickness

Erin said: "My own expectations sabotaged me to some extent. I wanted everything to work immediately and really had a hard time when a nap didn't go as planned. Again, give yourself some grace and avoid too much 'troubleshooting' if one nap is off."

Laura said: "Sleeping in too long. I know - everyone wants to sleep in, but it ends up backfiring on me way more than it helps anyone at all. "

4.Any words of advice for parents out there?

Ashley said: "This is advice for me as much for anyone else, make the schedule/routine a goal. Try not to obsess over it. Enjoy the time with your kids, even when the schedule/routine is broken!"

Katie said: "I think parent personalities come into play big time here, and each parent needs to evaluate their own. Some of us are more rigid and happy to stick to a schedule, but thrown off by things like company, travel, or church. Others have a hard time with schedules, but need to learn to stick to one for the sake of our young babies and children who truly benefit from them."

Naomi said: "Be as consistent as you can but when the baby doesn't cooperate, don't sweat it! Consistency will come eventually."

Erin said: "We persevered and I'm so glad we did. Our little guy is a happy, well-rested, scheduled kiddo who handles changes so well because so much of his day is on a routine. Stick with it because it really does get so much easier."

Laura said: "Don't worry!!!! Give it an hour, a day, a week, or even a month for things to work. You will see improvements every day, even little ones, as you try to get you and your baby on the same wavelengths. It will all come together, and you will get to know each other in a wonderfully intimate way."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Reader Sample Schedules Day 2016

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Today is Reader Sample Schedules Day. These posts are among the favorite on this blog. Take a moment to fill comment on the post where your child is currently. So if you have a 13 month old, head to the 12-24 months old post and share your current schedule. If everyone shares their current schedule, that makes for a lot of added information! If you remember other schedules at different ages, feel free to fill that in as well! 

Here is what you do. Click on the link to the post you want to add a sample schedule to. Then add a comment with your sample schedule. Then future moms can come look at these sample schedules to get ideas for their babies and children! If everyone took a moment to share their schedule at this very moment, it would add a whole lot of ideas for future moms! 

There are some posts that definitely could use some attention--one is the 5-8 year olds...because there are only a few right now! Another is the Summer Schedules post--if you have a summer routine that works for you, go over and fill that in. I also started a 9-12 year old post last year, so if you have a child in that age range, check that one out.
NOTE: I am turning comments OFF of this post. I want to make sure you add your schedule to the appropriate post and not this one. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Reader Week 2016

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It is time for our sixth annual Reader Week! For those of you new to the blog (or just don't have iron clad memories--I know, we are moms. Memory is in short supply), here is the run down.

This is a week when you all get to contribute to making this blog a valuable resource. My posts are helpful, but so are your comments and contributions. It is one thing to see one mom doing Babywise, but quite another to see how many moms do it. Something I love about reader week is that it adds a  myriad of experiences to the mix. Babies are all very different, so you might just share just what another mom will need to see. Are you excited? Here is the plan for the week:

TUESDAY: READER SAMPLE SCHEDULES DAY
The Readers Sample Schedules posts are some of the most popular and most-visited posts on this blog. I know you love them! So be sure to drop by Tuesday and add your most recent (or any from past years!) schedules. I will have a post up linking you to all of the reader sample schedule posts so you can easily get to your pertinent sample schedule post. I would love it if you would at least pop on and share your current schedule as it is today. 

WEDNESDAY: POLL RESULTS DAY
We all know that when you have a question and have a baby, you want, no need, an answer fast. Polls do that for people. They show an answer fast. Poll results can be very helpful to people. It helps someone come see what is "normal" and also see that even though there is a range of "normal" there are also people who fall in a range outside of normal. If you haven't voted on the current poll, click here to do so--

Creating and Maintaining a Schedule {Poll Discussion}


THURSDAY: BABYWISE FRIENDLY BLOG NETWORK DAY
The ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network (BFBN) will be writing posts on a similar theme this day. We do this the fourth Thursday of every month. I created this blog network to create a united group of bloggers who write helpful posts about Babywise. This day is a little gift your way to help you find answers to your unique situation from one of us. 

FRIDAY: READER FAVORITES DAY and READER BLOGS DAY
I will put up a post Friday to link you posts where you can comment and share your favorite things. These will include baby products, toys, books, and more. These are super helpful for gift ideas (for friends and for your own children!). 

I will also put a post up Friday that will take you to the various posts where you can share your blog. I have a post for various categories, everything from business blogs to "just-for-fun" blogs. This is fun because it helps keep the Babywise community close and helps you be aware of blogs written by like-minded parents.


I so appreciate you readers and all you do to contribute to this blog! Even your questions you ask me contribute because it helps me know what your common concerns are and what information will be most helpful to you. 

Don't forget to like and follow me on Facebook. I keep you updated with the blog posts here, share other articles that are of interest to you readers, and also interact with you about your questions. Every Monday, I go Live for answering your questions. I will be live today! 

Another great way to connect is in Instagram. I share pictures from our daily lives. You can keep up us there. 

And of course Pinterest is another fun way to connect. I pin things helpful to a parent in all ways, from specific parenting helps to fun activities, travel ideas, school helps, and dinner ideas (and more!). 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Babywise Success Stories Week Grand Finale

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I have loved reading the different success stories this week! This is one of my favorite weeks of the year--I love hearing from real people who use Babywise and how it has improved their lives. To wrap up the week, here are some comments from my Facebook page this week:

Jerusha said I demand fed my baby girl for 6 weeks and we were both miserable! She cried all the time, she wouldnt sleep, I was feeding her whenever she wanted and she had terrible stomach pains. A nurse came to my home and asked me all sorts of questions about what I was doing and how I was feeding her. I told her I was demand feeding and explained what was happening. The nurse listened and then told me the reason my daughter was in so much pain and crying all the time was because I was demand feeding her and her little tummy wasn't getting a break and time to digest properly. The nurse said I needed to get her on a 3 hourly schedule! I was shocked! This advice was completely opposite to everything I had been told. But I was desperate, and my baby girl was miserable. So I tired it. I remembered my sister inlaw giving me a book called Babywise and it was about scheduling feeds or something. I read the whole book as soon as I could and started to implement the suggestions straight away. It completely made sense. At first I was apprehensive because she had been feeding nearly every hour, so I gradually moved the time between feedings back little by little. My daughter thrived!! She was taking full feedings and went from below the 25th percentile in height and weight to the 90th percentile in six weeks. She had no pain! and was sleeping! I finally got to bond with my precious baby girl and she was so happy, we both were. I have reread babywise countless times since then and have followed the Babywise principles from that day on with my daughter and then my son and we love it!

Kelli saidBabywise was the only way i made it through (and loved) having my 2 kids 15 months apart. When my daughter was born, my son still took 2 naps and did an hour of independent playtime, giving me lots of time to focus on full feeds and getting to know her sleep cues. Now they're 4.5 and 3 and they both do 1 hour independent playtime several times a week, sleep 10-11 hours at night and nap 1.5-2 hours! (My 4.5 doesn't nap every day, usually 3-4 times per week, quiet time in his bed the other days) 
I'm a planner, so I loved having a schedule, and i still love it. :)

Christine said We love Babywise! Our 18 month old now tells us when it's time for bed (6:45 on the dot!), walks himself into his room and puts his arms up to get into his crib. Sleeps a solid 12 hours every night and takes a great afternoon nap. I listen to stories of parents/children who struggle with bedtime/sleeping in solid stretches and always think of how much of a blessing Babywise has been for us. Our evenings are so easy and our son is such a happy toddler!

Rochelle saidWe have 14mo twins and another on the way. Babywise was so hard at first because I didn't know if it would be worth it. It is hard! But I can say it is 100% worth it. My girls are great sleepers, and I know that came from a lot of hard work. It came from consistency, knowing when to let them cry for a bit and when to intervene, routines, and working in a little flexibility. They are generally happy, calm, cooperative, curious, and are able to concentrate on things. It was great for me because I knew when they would need to eat and sleep so we could plan accordingly. It really is a lot of work, but it is so worth it! I am not anxious for this next baby, because I've seen how well babywise works with our twins! They now have independent play in their room for about an hour in the mornings and people are always amazed that they can do that. It gives me time to get ready, do some chores, etc. so that I'm not trying to do everything when they want to be playing with me.

Jolene saidThere have been many times, since we have been doing Babywise (specifically schedule, CIO, and independent play), miscellaneous random challenges were made much easier (flight delays, sickness, surgery...)!! Baby knew what to expect, was so much calmer knowing I would feed him when it was time, was fine playing on his own if I needed him to do extra, etc.)

Natalie saidI have a 3.5 year old and an 11 week old. Babywise absolutely has saved my sanity over the years and I cannot imagine parenting without it! I initially read the book when my first baby was 4 weeks old after a recommendation from a friend who told me her babies slept through the night at 8 weeks thanks to Babywise. While my initial hope was just for an 8 hour stretch of sleep again before my child turned one, I've found over the years that putting your kids on a schedule ASAP truly sets them up for success as far as temperament and behavior. My daughter is and has always been so affable and well-behaved and I truly believe it's because she A) gets enough sleep! and B), always knows what to expect. Children are comforted and reassured by routines and it helps mold them into even-keeled and surprisingly more flexible little humans. 

Implementing Babywise with #2 has looked much different, but I'm determined to see it through because I know what a difference it makes it overall. With time it becomes less about sleeping through the night (though that is a huge plus) and more about creating an environment that allows your children to thrive.

Kat said Babywise success as per usual! 3rd time around!!

Shannon saidStarting my baby on an Eat-Play-Sleep cycle as early as 1 month of age and establishing a consistent start time to our day really set us up for success! Our little one is 8 months old now :)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Tale of Two Brothers

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by Emily 
We have three boys: 3.5 years, 21 months, and 5 weeks old.

Before our first child was born in 2012, a friend of mine told me about Babywise and how well it had worked for her family. I bought the book, read it, and decided that we were going to give it a try. There were two main reasons why it appealed to me. First, I knew NOTHING about taking care of a newborn and I loved that it gave me a plan and an idea of what my baby would need and should be doing. Also, I have always loved and needed my sleep - and I really really REALLY wanted to get that back as soon as possible after baby arrived! I had heard too many horror stories about post-baby sleep deprivation, and I didn’t want to put us through that if at all possible.

Boy #1 was born, and though it took us some time to figure out HOW to implement Babywise and get him on a schedule (this blog was super helpful then!), he ended up being an easy, happy, mostly-textbook baby. We never had to do CIO and he took almost everything in stride with little or no fussing. Granted, he didn’t STTN till 4 months old, (which is a little late per Babywise) but I believed then - and still do - that it was simply because he was a big, hungry boy and really needed to eat.

Then boy #2 came along, and he was the polar opposite of his brother in every way. He would scream and cry inconsolably for hours on end. He wouldn’t sleep anywhere except in his bouncy seat, and that only after an hour (or more) of us bouncing him. Every little change seemed to bother him. After lots of trial and error we figured out that he was sensitive to dairy, and when I cut that out of my diet he became much happier. But still - he was a chronic 45-minute napper (until past a year old!) and could never seem to roll with the punches like his brother did. It wasn’t until 14 months that I could say with confidence that he was consistently sleeping through the night! And yet - I still consider him to be a Babywise success. Why? Because, though it took much longer than *they* say it should, we taught him, eventually, to self-soothe and to sleep on his own. It took SO much more work than our first child, partially because of his sensitive personality and partially because he just didn’t (and doesn’t) need as much sleep. But even when he was only doing 45 minute naps and not STTN, he still would go down for naps awake, fall asleep on his own, and sleep in his own bed. Those are small successes right there.
And now, at 21 months, he sleeps great. Not as long as some kids, but he goes down happy; it takes us a grand total of about 5 minutes to put him and his brother to bed at night (less, for naptime); he sleeps in his own bed; he wakes up happy; and he still takes one afternoon nap a day. Those are all successes that many people don’t have, and I know he would have been a MUCH harder baby without the routine and consistency that Babywise gave us.

Now we are working on figuring out boy #3, but I am confident that he too will (eventually) learn to sleep well, as his brothers did. :)

My word of advice: don’t be discouraged if your baby doesn’t follow the timelines that Babywise gives. You CAN still use it, and benefit from it, even with a difficult child who seems like he will never *get* it. Let me tell you, STTN late is a whole lot better than never! And later, when they are toddlers, you will be glad you persevered.

Babywise Promotes The Family

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To be honest, it is difficult to choose just one story of success for Babywise. I have four kids (8, 5,4, and 19 months) and we were on board with Babywise before we even got pregnant. I had watched several families who kids were so well-rounded and happy and SLEPT so well, that I said “I’m doing what they’re doing.”

One of the things I love most about it, is that Babywise promotes the family as a unit. It talks about how a new baby should fit in and be a part of the family, but the family should not revolve around just one member. Even though at times, other family members may have to may sacrifices for another member (especially a new baby), decisions are made for the good of the whole family. One example of this is school drop-offs and pick-ups. During the school year, I have to adjust nap schedules around school pick-ups.  For us, it means starting baby’s day earlier than I think they would naturally so that I can ultimately start afternoon naps earlierin order to pick up the older kids on time for school.  Another example is Church. We don’t hibernate for months at a time after a baby is born. While we are pretty schedule focused, we have decided for our family that church is a greater priority, and best for the whole family, than a good schedule is on Sundays. So we make that sacrifice.

 Babywise has served our family so well because we decided to make it work for us. We have put in the work and have reaped the benefits. I continue to recommend Babywise to all Mamas and their families because it has been so helpful to us.

Read more from Carrie at www.wileyadventures.com .

Babywise Brings Order

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by Brooke Arevalo
Mom to Alynne, 2.5 & Fynnlan, 8 months; Husband: Ron

I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, I read so many parenting books and
articles. I’ll admit, at first I was just merely trying to see if there was a way to get my future child
to sleep as much as possible. I used to sleep until noon every weekend and getting to work at 9
was a struggle for me! As I began more research, I quickly realized that beyond my selfish
desires to be well rested, there was an actual method, and great benefits, to getting your baby
to sleep through the night early on. I know many people believe children will naturally learn to
fall asleep on their own, and I completely agree. They will certainly do this, but at what age? In
the same way I encouraged and pushed my 2 year old daughter to learn how to use the potty on
her own, I encouraged her as a baby to sleep through the night. Though she was not showing
“signs” of being ready to potty train, I knew she was capable. Within 2 days, she was trained
and hasn’t looked back. Of course, if we hadn’t pushed her, I’m sure she would have figured it
out on her own someday. And the same goes for our babywise efforts. After a week of sleep
training, both of our children have slept 12 hour stretches from 3-4 months on.

With the arrival of our second child, we saw immense benefits of babywise as we learned to
manage life with two. My oldest, was very easy to manage because she had a very predictable
routine and schedule, but until we began our sleep training efforts with our baby, it was a bit
chaotic in our house. As the baby got older, I saw that naturally his sleeping was getting worse.
Ironically, though I love my sleep dearly, I wasn’t concerned with waking up 5+ times a night
with him, the days were worse. During the days, he would wake up mid-nap and need to be
held the rest of the nap. While I did enjoy the cuddles, every time he woke up, it meant screen
time for my oldest while I tried to keep her quiet, or it meant I was working and typing one-
handed while I tried to multitask my workload. We quickly realized this was not sustainable for
anyone in our family. At 12 weeks old, we started sleep training, and after only 2 days of it, he
was taking 1.5+ hour naps and sleeping through the night!

I know there is no one correct way to parent, (and I have plenty of friends who would never
dream of parenting in this fashion!), but we have seen the benefits Babywise has brought to our
home. It might be tough in the beginning, but habits are much easier to fix at 3 months than 3
years!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Babywise Success in Australia

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From Keryn

As a pregnant mother-to-be there came a point when reading and preparing for birth shifted over to reading and preparing for looking after a newborn baby. My sister and cousin had had such great success with Babywise that when the book was passed on to me I was eager and ready to take on board all the advice I could get. I think I read it three times before my son was even born.

Mikhail is now 11 months old and a happy, healthy sleeper who loves nap times and bedtime. When other parents complain about their child’s sleeping difficulties, often with babies who still haven’t had a full night’s unbroken sleep at the age of two, I really feel for them. Mikhail didn’t sleep through until 11 weeks of age, and in that short time the effects of disrupted sleep had a consuming effect on my overall wellbeing. I cannot imagine that scenario continuing for months or years, as it has for many of my friends.

The road to happy healthy sleep seems easy in retrospect, but there were many points at which I had no idea which way to go. The 45 minute intruder! Early wakings; transitioning from 4 to 3 to 2 naps; learning to roll over and not being able to settle. These things came up, and at the time they seem like permanent problems and I would tear my hair out in panic. It was at these points that I found the Babywise Mom blog absolutely invaluable. There were practical, workable options to try, and it was so reassuring that I wasn’t the only one dealing with these sleep interruptions. Most of all, it was a relief to learn that I hadn’t ‘done something wrong’ or created a bad sleeper. And, sure enough, we would work through each problem in a day or two and be back to happy sleep.

That path is not so easy to navigate for a first time mum (no ‘moms’ in Australia!), especially in the first few months when I was reading Babywise alongside other books that advocated highly scheduled 4 hour sleep routines. The blog helped me to let go of those routines, which really didn’t work for Mikhail at all, and feel ok about devising my own routines to suit his development. It saved my sanity, and it worked so much better for him.

Despite what friends post on social media about the detrimental effects of ‘controlled crying’ associated with self-settling, I’ve found that Mikhail has hardly cried much at all. We followed Babywise from the beginning, and he cried for a minute or so before each day sleep until he was 6 weeks old. Now if he’s over-tired he might cry for 30 seconds or a minute, then settle off to a good long sleep.

Some babies have sleepier dispositions than others; Mikhail is not a naturally sleepy baby, so it is our approach to sleep that has created these healthy sleep habits for him. I receive many comments about how lucky I am to have a good sleeper. I have to be careful how I respond to those comments, as I know that it is not luck at all.

Telling people how we have taught him to sleep so well and happily is fraught with difficulty. If people ask me how we’ve done it, I tell them and pass on the book. If they don’t ask, I don’t tell. I believe every parent I know is doing what they believe is best for their family and children, but it does seem that the advocates for never letting a baby cry are quite zealous about their approach, which I find intimidating. Some of the parents I passed on the book to, however, had great success helping their ‘bad sleepers’ learn to sleep well. I tend to recommend that people speak to those friends if their babies are having a lot of trouble and they’re not confident to teach them to self-settle. Because I followed Babywise from the beginning I don’t share a lot of their experiences, and it’s great for them to hear it from people who’ve been in the same position as them.

Now, at 11 months of age, I have a happy, settled baby who loves spending time with different people and happily goes to sleep whether I am there or not. This has enabled me to go back to work without worry, and for him to develop very close bonds with his father and grandmother as well as me. He has a very predictable life with regular meals and naptimes and consistent discipline from all of his carers, making him confident and happy, and able to deal with minor disruptions such as travel because life always goes back to ‘normal’.


I have never joined an online chat or commented on a blog, but I am so grateful to those who have contributed to the Babywise Mom blog and comments, as what I have learnt in that forum has made the difficult role of being a parent and having a baby such a joyful experience. As Mikhail grows and develops I feel reassured knowing the Babywise community is out there with tips to get us through the various stages as we go.


Babywise and Adoption

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I have 3 children, ages 7, 5 and almost 2 years old. They are all essentially Babywise babies from birth. All of my children were adopted at birth. My youngest was a very unexpected adoption that happened within the span of 2.5 weeks. As in, we went from being a family of 4, starting our first year of homeschooling our then 5 and 3 year old daughters to adopting our first son in a city 2.5 hours away from home!

Our son had a lot of health concerns at birth and spent the first 4 weeks of his life in the NICU. That time in our family was extremely chaotic as we had the stress of the adoption on top of the health concerns with our new son on top of being separated from our daughters for a month while we sat by our son’s side in the NICU.

Once we brought our son home, I was so relieved to finally have all members of our family under one roof, but the chaos did not go away anytime soon. Our son required round-the-lock constant care and attention to the point that it was not possible for me to care for all three of my children on my own. Fortunately, we had help and support from family in those first several months.

The Babywise principles were already ingrained in my older children, so it was not difficult to keep the basics of their routine and schedules in place. Because our lives were turned upside down during that time, I had to just survive off the basics of Babywise and a lot of prayer!

Looking back, it was enough, because my 5 and 3 year olds were at least eating, sleeping and playing in a semi-orderly manner while our family was dealing with the chaos that came from caring for a special needs newborn. I remember specifically thinking during that time, “What if the girls were not sleeping well? I would lose my mind.”

It was about 3 months before I could attempt to manage all 3 kids alone. I had implemented as best I could the basics of Babywise with my son. I was feeding him every 3 hours (or sooner if he was hungry earlier! Surprise! Surprise! Babywise mamas don’t deny their hungry babies food.), attempting a nap after an appropriate waketime and beginning his day at the same time every morning so we could fall into a good routine eventually.

It took many months (actually, over a year) for our family to fall into a good groove with 3 children. I think part of that was just the going from 2 to 3 children transition - for many, apparently, that is the hardest transition. It certainly was for me! Another part of it was our son’s special needs in that first year and him going through surgery at 6 months old. His little body had a lot of healing to do that first year.

When he was 18 months old, I knew we had made it through that rough season. And, for a third time, Babywise had given our children the stability they needed to grow and thrive. Our oldest two children got through that time because they had a good Babywise foundation. The first year of my son’s life, I implemented Babywise as much as I could and when I could. Now at almost 2 years old, he sleeps 12 hours at night and takes a 3 hour nap!

This is a testimony to the fact that holding your baby when they need to be held does not “spoil” them at all. Those first 3 months, he was in my arms more than he was in a crib. He needed me to hold him because he was in pain. Even still, I was working on Babywise with him, little by little, as I could and as he could handle. Little by little, he started sleeping more and more in his crib and because I was doing the foundational principles of Babywise with him (feeding every 3 hours, starting his day at the same time every morning, doing whatever I had to do to get him to sleep when it was sleep time), he is a Babywise baby just like my other two children and our whole family reaps those benefits today!

He had very short waketimes and didn’t drop his morning nap until I forced him to drop it at 21 months old (because we are about to adopt again and I needed to transition him to his new 1 nap schedule before the baby is born!). In other words, he loves his sleep and slept way longer than even the average for a Babywise baby his age. I firmly believe all the sleep he got (and still gets) helped him heal from everything he endured in utero. He has made remarkable progress from a baby that was born blue and nearly died at birth had the hand of God and a team of brave paramedics not come to his rescue on the night he was born.

Babywise works. I think the key is using the brain God gave you to implement it. It is a tool that you can use to bring consistency and predictability to your baby’s life. It is not a rule book that must be followed to a T because every baby is a unique individual.

Babywise has worked 3 times for us and I am excited to once again use these principles to bring stability and predictability to another baby!

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