by Elaine - http://www.faithfullyinfertile.com/
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!