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.

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