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Daycare/Childcare and Babywise

There are many moms out there who, for a variety of reasons, need childcare. As I do not have experience in this situation, I again turned to friends for their advice for moms using daycare and babywise. Here are their thoughts:

BaumShelter said:

Thankfully my daycare provider is a Babywise mom herself . . . she's actually the one that gave me the book! I've even found her to be a great resource when it comes to troubleshooting. In the beginning I tended to be somewhat strict with my schedule (when she is more of a relaxed personality) and she was very respectful of my wishes. I just wrote out a detailed description of McKenna's schedule, talked to her before and after I dropped her off or picked her up, and even asked her to keep me a log for a while of my daughter's waketimes, naps, amount eaten at a feeding, etc... I know that not everyone will be in this same situation of having someone so familiar with the principles, but I WOULD hope that each person's daycare provider would be respectful of that woman's wishes . . . especially since they're probably getting paid pretty good. A few weeks ago when my mother-in-law came to visit I asked her to read the Babywise book so she would understand our philosophy, routine, etc... Thankfully she did so willingly. Perhaps that is something that some moms using daycare could do--provide the person watching their child(ren) with a copy of the book and set up a time to talk with them about how consistency is a vital key in them having a happy baby to watch! What can beat that?! I hope this information has been a least somewhat helpful.

A Friend said:

I can't speak to the daycare centers, but I can share my experience with my nanny. First off though, if your daycare provider seems to have a strong parenting opinion against BW, you should obviously find someone else. Ask if they have heard of or read BW in the interview process. Also ask how they feel about CIO. Try to feel them out.

My nanny is 25 and doesn't have any kids of her own and hasn't heard of BW. Nor has she heard of attachment parenting. She didn't have an opinion of either, which was good. Fresh slate. She COMPLETELY respected my wishes. I posted our schedule in the kitchen and gave her an overview of the basics. After a while, she would help me troubleshoot. It was great to have her as a sounding board since my DH was away. She became a great friend. She also didn't have any issues with CIO. In fact, for a couple of our training sessions (rolling over, swaddle weaning), she did the first 1-2 CIO sessions, which was great. She had an easier time listening to it than I did.
On top of all of this, my nanny was also caring for my older DS. She cooked healthy meals (for me too!), cleaned and even did my laundry! She charged $12/hr. for the two kids. I use past tense because she's currently looking for a full-time job. I only had her come 1-2 days a week and she needs health insurance. We are both very sad about it and are having a harder time emotionally than we thought we would. That is THE ULTIMATE in a childcare provider. Not only do you want them to follow your instructions, but you want them to become attached to your child and begin to love them! I'm going to start crying here!

Spencemom said:

We have a nanny for our son, and it is working out fabulous. She is 26 with one daughter. She did not use BW, but after being with us for 4 months, she is asking me for tips on sleep and eat patterns:) She fully respects our schedule, and she'll email me during the day is something is "off" to get my opinion. I'm never nervous DS with miss nap time or get off his normal routine. The one downside is she is $13.50 an hour which for a few days a week is much more costly than daycare. However for our schedule (and less illness), my DH and I think it is WELL WORTH IT!

Bethany said:

I'm still having issues with terrible naps, but my best advice is communication. We are currently using a daycare center. Every morning we write down his feeding times and nap times on his daily report that they are required to fill out by the state. I've also typed up a sheet with his schedule and other tips that stays on his clipboard. Now, it is extremely rare for him not to be fed on time.

They haven't quite figured out how to please me with his naps :) Sometimes they forget it's his naptime or don't think he's tired. Again, communication has really helped so that now they know to leave him in his crib when he wakes early and to always put him down even if they don't think he's tired. Every single teacher has commented on his happy disposition. He's the most well-rested infant in there.

I still have lots of gripes and most days his naps are all over the place. Constant communication is the only thing that has made a difference. I wish I could require the directors and teachers to read BW. Most moms in the room are AP, though.

Dana said:

I don't know if this will help, but I used to be a nanny and I have also worked in a daycare center. My children have not been in childcare, so I can't speak to actual experience with babywise babies/children.

As a freshman in college I worked as a "teacher" in the 1yo classroom of a daycare center. The ratio of 1yo/teacher was 7/1. They had one naptime per day, no cribs. They were expected to lay on mats and sleep for 1-2 hours. Most were so tired they crashed for at least an hour. When you have 14 1yo's and 2 teachers it is very difficult to keep the ones that wake corralled, doing quiet activities and let the others sleep. Naptime was also when teachers took their lunch breaks. Leaving one teacher to handle those that woke early.

I was often found in the baby room during my breaks. (Despite the new rule that any one not hired to be in there was required to stay out.) The ladies in that room often peaked their heads into our room to ask me to come over and help on my break. (I did not know anything about babywise at this point.) The ratio in that room was 4 babies to 1 adult. Which meant there were 8 babies a day in the room with 2 adults to care for them. The cribs were in the same room. Lights were on all day, with only one set naptime where the lights were turned off. Most babies were overstimulated, tired and cranky unless being held.

I was a nanny for a boy of an AP mom from the time he was 15mo to 3.5 yrs. (I found out I was pregnant with my first baby 2 wks after I started. I didn't take the Prep for Parenting/babywise class until 2 wks before my son was born.) Even though I hadn't read babywise, I quickly tired of the routine the old nanny had of rocking the little boy to sleep for his naps. I started to let him CIO about a month after I started. I sat right next to the door, b/c the mom worked from home, so I wanted her to see that I was really listening and paying attention to what was happening. My son came to work with me from the time he was 6wks on. The mom was always amazed at how well Kyle slept, how happy he was and how well he ate. By the time I left, she still couldn't figure out how I got her son to behave so well, when she couldn't, and why Kyle was such a happy, good little boy. (I shared my thoughts with her many times, but I don't think she listened.)

After doing both these jobs, I feel the best environment for any baby, but especially a babywise baby is with a nanny or an in-home daycare. With a nanny, they are in the familiarity of your home, making the routine easier. At an in-home daycare the ratios are much better. They can only have 1 or 2 babies in the home depending on how many children are there. This would make it easier for the caregiver to follow your schedule.
I hope this info is helpful in some way.

As a nanny, the mom I worked for was able to do a background check on me and I believe was able to check my driving record through the company she hired me through. Since she knew my driving record and felt safe with the car I drove, she had me take her son to classes. I took him to Kindermusik, baby swimming classes as well as a toddler play group. Those ended once I had my son, but with the two of them we often went to parks and indoor play areas. So those moms concerned about socialization have that option with a nanny as well.

My Advice
I appreciate the advice of each of these women. If you have advice and tips to share, please add them. Here are some of my own thoughts on the situation. I haven't ever had my kids in childcare/daycare, but I have worked in a daycare. Here are my thoughts based on what I do know:

  • I completely agree with Dana when she says that the best environment for a baby is at home with a Nanny or other provider. After working in a daycare, I would never send my children to a daycare. I am sure there are some great daycares out there. I also know some parents don't have much of a choice. But if you do, I would look in to a nanny or an in-home daycare.
  • Know there will be some disruptions with naps and feedings. Hopefully you can find a person or place who will work to comply with your schedule. I think one reason a nanny is preferable to a daycare is that a nanny can do what you want her to, whereas a daycare has a lot of babies and children to care for and needs to create a schedule of their own. It would be hard to have 8 different schedules for the 8 different kids. Even 8 Babywise babies will have different schedules somewhat.
  • Do certain things at home. If you are in daycare, that isn't going to be the best place to have them do independent playtime. I would do that at home, which I can see as being difficult because you will want to spend all the time you can with them. But you could have your child do independent playtime while you make dinner. If you have a Nanny, you can certainly have her do independent playtime with your child during the day. You could likely also request this if you take your child to a home for childcare.
  • Try to find a person/place who can comply with your schedule. Some daycares can and will comply to your schedule.
  • Always go with your "gut." Pray about the situation if you are a praying person. Be in-tune with your child to be sure the current option is the best one for him.
Related Posts:
Reader Advice:
  • Susan and Ethan Peterson said...
    I have my 6 1/2 month daughter in an in home daycare. Although we have had to make some adjustments to BW her sitter has done a great job following my wishes, and has really helped me to keep Haley on a schedule. She feeds her when and how I ask her to, and we talk every day about what she did and didn't do. It was an adjusment for her at first, but now she tells all new moms that she knows to go get babywise. I have truly been blessed!
    July 8, 2008 7:45 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Susan, Thanks for your thoughts! It sounds like you have a good setup there.
    July 9, 2008 11:05 AM
  • G-Man's Mama said...
    Just wanted to include my experience with a daycare center and babywise. Our son started daycare 3 weeks ago. He is 4 mo. and I have been consistent, constant and insistent (he was previously watched by his G'ma's and my aunt) about his schedule before he started. He is pretty well established in his schedule. Anyway, the daycare center we take our son to requires that the caregivers have read the babywise book, which helps a little. They have his schedule w/ tips & babywise princpals posted in the classroom and they are pretty awesome about sticking to it. They even succeed in getting him to take a fourth nap, something I am unable to do. This daycare is one of the best in the area and we feel like they really listen to us and are very compliant with our wishes. I hope anyone who chooses a daycare center finds the same wonderful experience we have.
    September 23, 2008 4:03 PM
Reader Questions:
  • Nicole Flowers said...
    I am sleep training right now -- putting him down in his crib every time he seems sleepy throughout the day/night after each waketime. But he starts daycare part time (every afternoon M-F) in about a week. Clearly I won't have the same control with that. Should I continue doing what I'm doing in the daytime to sleep train? BTW, my baby is 2 months old.
    August 28, 2008 3:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Nicole, I would do what they are going to do at daycare. If they are going to CIO, I would definitely do that so you can try to learn his patterns and give them some clues.
    September 2, 2008 10:21 PM

Out of Town

Once again, I will be out of town this week. I won't have any access to the Internet, so I will not be able to respond to comments. You can certainly ask questions, but know that I won't be able to answer them this week.

Posts will continue for the week; I have already written them for each day of the week and they are scheduled to post. Have a great week!

Poll Results: What was/is baby's approximate optimal waketime length for ages 4-6 Weeks? (waketime length includes feeding time)?


30 minutes: 5 votes (5%)
30-40 minutes: 6 votes (6%)
40-50 minutes: 27 votes (31%)
50-60 minutes: 27 votes (31%)
60- 70 minutes: 10 votes (11%)
70 minutes or more: 11 votes (12%)

Total of 86 votes

Falling Asleep During Independent Playtime

There are times my kids will fall asleep during independent playtime. I find this to be a benefit of independent play. If Brayden woke early for some reason, is sick, or just needs more sleep due to a growth spurt, he can lay down and sleep during independent play. It is a rare occasion, but it happens.

Kaitlyn sleeping during Independent Playtime
When my kids fall asleep for independent play, I just wake them and continue on with the day. For Brayden (3 years old), I know that when he falls asleep for independent play he is either sick or just plain tired. I still put him down for his nap at his normal time.

For Kaitlyn (now 14 months), her independent play ends pretty close to her nap time (about 15-20 minutes before), and I am pretty surprised to find her asleep, but it happens sometimes. I always get her up and put her in her bed and she takes a normal nap. She is the type that will do that though.

If your child falls asleep on occasion during independent play, decide what is best for him. Some might need a little longer time before the regular schedule nap. I think for most, though, they are falling asleep because they are tired. So a normal nap can still happen.

If your child regularly falls asleep, evaluate your timing of naps and independent play. You might need to have independent play earlier or end sooner. While it is okay for them to fall asleep sometimes, you don't want it to be regularly.

Here are more links on independent play:

Tantrums: Stop and Think

I have been trying to pinpoint what makes Kaitlyn's tantrums easier than Brayden's were. A lot of it has to do with perspective. A 14 month old tantrum (mini-fit as I call it) is nothing compared to a 2-3 year old tantrum. A 14 month old just isn't going to hold on as long as a 3 year old will. To me, it is nothing, borderline amusing. Not that I think the behavior is okay, but I have absolutely no temptation to give in.

A big part of it is experience. Perspective and experience go hand in hand. I am not tempted to give in to her mini-fit. When Brayden was first starting his fits, it was a bit of a shock to me. This sweet baby suddenly started throwing fits. I wasn't exactly sure what to do about it. Sure, I had read things to do, but in the heat of the fit, it was like I froze and just wanted to get it to end as quickly as possible. With Kaitlyn, I knew it was coming. I knew the day would come when she had her mini-fit. Been there, done that. I have also made the mistakes. I have given in to fits before. I know the consequences. I know it is much easier to stand by your rules now than to fix the even bigger fits that are sure to come after you give in.

A result of my experience is that when the mini-fit starts, I pause and think before reacting. I analyze the reason she is throwing her mini-fit and what it is she wants from it. I run through the possible scenarios from start to finish in my head (which is easier for me to do since I have lived out scenarios). I then decide how to handle it. The process really only takes a matter of seconds.

If you are on your first child, know that you are going to make mistakes. Moms with experience also make mistakes, but hopefully we have learned enough from past mistakes that we make them less often. Try to mentally prepare yourself and think through your reactions so you will be better able to react to these mini-fits appropriately. The better you handle them now, the easier real tantrums will be in the future. So remember, stop and think before you react to a tantrum.

Here are some other posts on discipline:

Creating a "Good Helper"

We have this good, cowboy family in our neighborhood. They have four boys and one girl--all quite young. The youngest is two. The children are all really hard workers and good helpers.

One day, my husband asked the father of this family what they do to get such hard workers. The dad said he just lets them help.

Brayden has grown to be a really good helper (and has tried to be since the moment he could possibly do anything). We often get comments about what a good helper he is and questions on how we get him to do that. Our answer is we just let him help.

I know, believe me I know, that it takes about five times as long to do anything with your little one "helping." But allowing him to help does a few things. It teaches him how to do it. It tells him his assistance is of value. It provides a way for him to feel that satisfaction of a job well done. It takes advantage of their willing hearts. You are able to teach them the value of work while they are anxious to learn.

Once Brayden hit three, he was suddenly at a point where he actually contributed to the job getting done. Now, he is a perfectionist and therefore can take longer to be pleased with his performance, and I am also a perfectionist and can be harder to please (though I try to be very pleased), so it may have taken him longer than some. But he really does help. He puts dishes back in the exact right spot (instead of the general area). He sweeps from start to finish, including sweeping up the pile and throwing it away. He waters plants outside. He weeds. He helps pick up dog poop. He cleans up his toys. He helps make food. This past Monday, he really folded clothes. It wasn't folded like I would fold it, but it was better than the wadding into a ball like he had previously done. He really does help, and he does so willingly and cheerfully.

Another benefit of letting your child help is it teaches him about taking turns. If you are doing something (like watering plants), you can take a turn. Then your child. Then you. Then your child. etc. This gives your child practice sessions at sharing and patience.

Hopefully by this point I have sold you and you are willing to let your child help, even if it means your chores take you longer. Here are more tips to create that good helper.

  • Be an example. Don't only clean up while your child is asleep. Let him see you working. Also, show him that you are a hard worker. Be a good example to him. Do it cheerfully.
  • Be honest. If your child asks to help with something, are you ever tempted to say, "This is no fun, you go have fun playing while I clean this up." Okay, maybe you are being honest. Maybe it isn't fun. But can you see the pit you are digging for your future? You are teaching your child that work is not fun and that he should desire to play instead. I know it is easier without him. If you are in a particular rush, be honest with him. Tell him you are so glad he wants to help, but you are in a hurry right now because you need to get to XYZ, but next time you will be sure to let him help.
  • Give him something to do. Even if what you are doing isn't something he can do, give him something to do. For example, let's take cleaning the bathroom. Most of my cleaners are basically just vinegar, water, and baking soda, but I do have some store-bought cleaners. Those are not safe for Brayden. But of course, he wants to help me clean the bathroom. Now that he has a potty chair, I give him a sponge and a spray bottle of water and tell him to clean that. Before the potty chair, I would have him scrub the outside of the tub with his bottle of water and sponge. He loves it.
  • Get him his own tools. Get him a wheelbarrow so he can help Daddy haul dirt. Get him his own gardening tools. Get him a broom his size. A snow shovel. Before you know it, he will be using those tools to really help. You can also get fun stuff like a small lawnmower and vacuum.
  • Take turns. As I mentioned above, this is a good opportunity for you to teach about sharing. Taking turns also is a good way for you to get the job done faster. Brayden loves to help vacuum. He used to help hold the vacuum while I vacuumed. As you can imagine, it took forever. I finally started having us take turns. I would vacuum, then he would vacuum, then I would vacuum, etc. I could move a lot faster that way. Also, you can often multi-task. For example, while Brayden is taking his turn watering, I can pull weeds or draw with sidewalk chalk with Kaitlyn.
  • Thank him. Thank him for his help and being such a good helper.
  • Let him help. As I explained above, let him help.
  • Don't redo the job he just did. This can be a hard one, and is one you need to judge based on your child's age. But don't follow him around fixing what he just did. Don't remake his bed after he makes it. If he isn't old enough to do it, help him. Don't just stand and watch and then remake it. Also, relax your standards. He probably won't want to help for long once he recognizes that all he is doing is being redone.
  • Point out the benefits. Point out how nice things look after they are cleaned. Point out how good that pancake tastes that he just made. There is satisfaction in a job well done. Help him to recognize it and feel it.
  • Require it. We have a few things that Brayden is required to do. You need to decide what is age appropriate for your child. Two of Brayden's things are clearing his plate/dishes from the table and cleaning up his own toys. He has his moments where he doesn't want to help clean up. The other day he even told me to just take all of his toys away because he didn't want to clean them up (I had told him in the past that if he didn't help clean up his toys, I would have to take them all away). I told him he needed to help clean up. He insisted I take his toys away, but I told him he needed to clean up even if he didn't feel like it. I told him it wasn't nice to make Mommy clean up all of his toys when she didn't even play with them. He conceded and helped to clean up. This brings up a good learning moment for me. Both my parents and my husband's parents took toys away if they weren't cleaned up. Well, that fixed the problem temporarily, but the problem of messy toys inevitably came back up. I want to find a solution to the problem, not a temporary fix or improvement. This can go back to being honest. Give them the real reason they need to help clean up, the moral reason (you help clean up because it is not loving to make Mommy or Daddy clean up messes alone). Not just the selfish reason (you help clean so that you can keep your toys). For more on moral training, see this post: Moral Training: Love :
  • Don't work too hard. I am guilty of this. Take the time to enjoy the work you have done. Be sure to have fun time to balance out that work time.
Reader Advice:
  • mmonfore said...
    Another thing to think about when teaching kids to clean up is to clean up everything together, no matter who played with what. This comes into play with siblings. My niece and nephews are always complaining about having to clean up, saying "But I didn't play with it. That's his, not mine." My theory is that everybody has to clean up everything so everybody can enjoy a clean house.Also, my motivation to get William to clean up is he can't watch TV unless he does. It used to work really well. It was his pattern. He would do a quick clean up after breakfast and then sit down to watch. Now, he'd rather just play and not watch. He hasn't watched TV in 3 days. But there was definitely a time today that I wanted to plug him in, but I couldn't. And his toy room is a disaster! Now it's gotten to the point that it's a huge job to clean up. Last time, I just did it after he went to bed. I think tomorrow, we'll just do it together. It won't be fun, but the cleaning fairy isn't coming to this house anymore! I'm going to have to change my tactic. Maybe make it a rule before lunch time or something. Doing it at bedtime is just asking for trouble. He's too tired.
    June 25, 2008 10:46 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    mmonfore, Thanks for your added tips and thoughts!
    June 26, 2008 11:12 PM

Camping Tips

My family loves to camp. Camping can be difficult with little babies and young children. We took Brayden camping the first time when he was two months old. He loves it.

Camping can be hard for many reasons. One is the temperature. If you camp in the mountains, it is ridiculously cold and night and then gets really hot in a tent in the day. You don't really know where to have the children sleep. You feel the need to pack everything under the sun because you never know what needs will come up while you are there. There is no doubt that it is challenging. But if your family loves to camp, don't let the difficulties keep you away from camping. I have fond memories of camping with my family as a child.

While you don't have to cut it out, you might need to modify your pre-children practices. For example, my version of camping does not involve a camp trailer. I think camping should be in a tent. However, after camping with Brayden as a baby and having him freeze, we thought we should get something for climate control with the kids. They just don't keep blankets on them. Even Brayden at 3 doesn't really stay in his sleeping bag. So for now, we have a camp trailer. No big deal, and I will most likely change my mind after enjoying the trailer :).

Here are some camping tips:

  • Dress appropriately. Keep in mind the temperature variation. Layer. Layer at night. Bring blankets. Try to keep your child at a comfortable temperature. Bring clothes from every temperature extreme, especially if you are camping in the mountains. Remember good, sturdy shoes also.
  • Timing. Certain times of the year have warmer nights than others. Try to plan your vacation so that you can have better sleeping conditions.
  • Sleeping arrangements. We have always brought our pack and play along. It fits in the tent just fine, and in the camp trailer, we just remove the mattress and put the pack and play on the wood bed frame. A really nice thing about the pack and play is that you can put blankets hanging off the side and over the top to help trap heat inside. When Kaitlyn was small enough, we brought the bassinet.
  • Keep it short. Keep your vacation length at whatever length you think will be good for your family. We tend to go shorter amounts of time right now. Remember that it is only for a season. You can of course go longer if you want to. If you do, be prepared for more adjustment when you get home.
  • Bring sun hats and sun shades, especially if you have a baby who is too young for sunblock.
  • Bring medication you might want. Bring that Tylenol. Bring the diaper rash ointment. Be prepared.
  • Bring a potty chair. If you have a child who is using the potty, a potty chair might be a nice thing to bring. I know my son would not poop in the wilderness, and he is even resistant to peeing in the wilderness.
  • Vinegar. I have read that you can apply vinegar to your skin to keep mosquitoes and bugs away. This is great for children and for avoiding chemicals.
  • Expect the early waketime. Kids often don't sleep as well when camping. It is cold at night and hot in the day. It is worth the effort to get those naps in, even if they are short. Don't be discouraged if your children wake up early. The sun is usually much brighter. This past weekend we camped with the youth of our church, ages 14-18. They went to bed around 1:30 AM and woke up around 6 AM. If the sun is going to wake up a bunch of sleep-loving teenagers who were up late, it will certain wake your little children.

Have fun! As always, please add your tips if you have them!

Related Posts:

Reader Questions:

  • Emily said...
    We're going to be at an outdoor event this weekend where there will be tons of mosquitoes! I really don't want to use any products containing DEET. How does the vinegar work? Do you apply it to clothes?If anyone else has any tips I would really appreciate it. (It's going to be very hot, so I don't think I could cover her completely with clothing)
    June 24, 2008 2:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    You apply the vinegar to skin. I haven't tried it, but the source I read it from has been "spot on" with everything else I have tried. You could also try one of those candles that is supposed to deter the bugs.
    June 24, 2008 2:29 PM
  • Rachel Stellaaa said...
    Where do you have the kids sleep when it is really hot during the day (especially in the tent/camper)? Thanks!
    June 25, 2008 1:49 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Rachel,I just try to have the tent in a place where there is shade for the day. I would open all the windows as soon as everyone is up so there can be some good air in there. And, I remember that with Brayden we would leave some windows open while he napped so there would be some cross breeze. It isn't an ideal sleeping place, and naps will likely be shorter than usual, but it is better than nothing.
    June 28, 2008 11:19 AM

Comments Update

I am once again not getting notified of comments. I get notified of a couple in a 24 hour period, and there are obviously more than that. So please know I am not ignoring you. I look through and try to see them. If it has been more than 2 days since you post a comment, please re-post. You can post just so simply say, "I posted a comment." Hopefully I will then get notified of it and be able to go to the page. Thanks for your patience!

Reader Comments:

Poll Results: What was/is baby's approximate optimal waketime length for ages 0-4 Weeks? (waketime length includes feeding time)


15-20 minutes: 10 votes (7%)
20-30 minutes: 13 votes (10%)
30-40 minutes: 27 votes (20%)
40-50 minutes: 46 votes (35%)
50-60 minutes: 24 votes (18%)
60 minutes or more: 9 votes (6%)

Total of 129 votes

Dropping a Feeding

When you drop a feeding, you don't decrease the amount of food your baby eats. You rearrange it. More gets taken in during fewer feedings.

There are three ways described in On Becoming Babywise to drop a feeding:

  • Dropping the middle of the night feeding. This usually happens between weeks seven and nine--though it is perfectly normal to be later! Some babies drop it altogether, while others gradually stretch it out. By this I mean your baby was eating at 2 AM. Then moves toward 3 AM, etc. If you have a "stretcher," see this post: Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime. There are some who don't go by the book. Don't worry if your child is one of these. It doesn't mean you are doing anything wrong or that you are a bad mom or that your baby is difficult. It just means your baby is one of those babies described in Babywise: "not all babies go by the book" (page 124). See the Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime for strategies on helping your child drop this feeding.
  • Dropping the "Dreamfeed" or "late evening feeding." Babywise says this typically happens around three months old. My daughter didn't drop it until six months old. For more on dropping the dreamfeed, see: Dropping the "Dream Feed."
  • Extending your routine. This is moving to a 3.5 or 4 hour routine. In this case, a daytime feeding will usually be dropped. Baby is usually ready to move to a 3-4 hour routine between three and four months, but there is no rush to get there. For more on this, see: When to Move to a 4 hour Schedule. You can also read Baby Whisperer: Four Hour Schedule.
I have listed these in the order they should be dropped. First, the middle of the night. Then the "dreamfeed." Finally, you drop daytime feeds as you extend the schedule. Be sure your baby is ready to do these things--don't force it. If you wonder what ages your child should be doing things, be sure to see: Babywise Milestones or Your Babywise Baby: First Year Overview.

Reader Questions:
  • Emily said...
    Hi,Question for you (long, sorry!)I have been weaning my daugher off of night feedings. She was not eating well during the day, so my pediatrician recommended diluting her bottle each night slowly over the course of a few weeks (ie putting less formula in the same amount of water) until she was just on water, and then when she was making it through the night on that, cutting out the water and letting her CIO.

    I've been doing this for 2 weeks, and was down to 1 ounce of formula in a diluted bottle. Well, my helpful husband got up just now at 2 am when she was crying and gave her a full strength 8 ounce bottle. I won't even get into how irritated I am, but I'm wondering what your advice would be on what to do next. Should I start all over from 8 ounces and work my way down to 1 AGAIN? Or since I KNOW she'll make it through the night on just 1, should I just go back to the 1? The other issue is that since she had that full bottle tonight she probably won't eat well tomorrow and will need a night feeding again tomorrow night....ugggIt's 3 am, sorry if I'm rambling. Thanks for your help :)
    October 10, 2008 12:44 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Emily, I would just go back to 1 unless she eats so terribly today that you need to offer her a bit more. That is good advice for dropping the night feeding.
    October 10, 2008 2:44 PM

In Action: "Yes, Mama"

The other day, I was in the kitchen and heard Brayden (3) talking to Kaitlyn (14 months). He has this tendency to parent her--something we are working on. I heard him telling her not to do something, then he said, "Say, 'Yes, Brayden', " pause "Say, 'Yes, Brayden!' " The frustration was building. "Say, 'Yes, Brayden'! "

Yes, I started laughing. I composed myself and went in to the two of them and explained that Kaitlyn couldn't say 'Yes, Brayden' at this point in her vocabulary. That appeased him. I had to smile at the situation. It was one of those moments where I knew without a doubt that he understood what was supposed to happen after an instruction was given. He knew the importance of a response. He knew the reason behind me requiring that.

Our children of all ages understand more than we realize.

Problem Solving Using Beliefs, Goals, Why, and How

Before you read this post, be sure you have read these two posts:

Beliefs and Goals (Toddlerwise)


Why vs. How

Here is a refresher of the equation:

Belief + goal = Why + How = Solutions that Satisfy Needs

Toddlerwise says "Take whatever you believe about life and turn these values into goals. Let the goals determine your training priorities, and use methods to facilitate your goals while meeting your child's needs" (page 78). So you have sat and thought through and written down your beliefs and set goals based on those beliefs. You then know your why. Here is a breakdown of the equation a bit:

Belief + goal = Why
Why + How = Solutions that Satisfy Needs
Now that you know what you are trying to accomplish and why you are doing so, you can decide how you are going to get that done. Brainstorm. Think through the options. You know the phrase, "There is more than one way to skin a cat" (by the way, I love cats)? There is more than one way to meet your goals. This is covered extensively in Why vs. How .
So that is the "Mayberry" way of using this equation. This would be prevention at it's finest (Prevention : Everything is smooth.
Then you have the real world way of using this equation. Not to say "Mayberry" never works, because it does. I am a firm believer in prevention. It makes everything much easier. It is a lot easier to use "Mayberry" with subsequent children because you have been there, done that. You are better and looking to the future and seeing potential pitfalls or gaps in your parenting. It is all more second nature to you.
But you will always have that oldest child. With that oldest child, you will always be a first time parent. Don't get me wrong, I love oldest children (I love both of my children ;) ). I myself am an oldest child. Let me tell you, we know that we are able to work our parents over. We know how to work the system. We understand the fact that our parents have as much experience in this parent/child dynamic as we do. We don't have other children to worry about, or a house, mortgage, etc. We have more time to strategize.
You will also have those quirks in younger children that you never faced with your oldest. You think you have parenthood all figured out when they throw you a curve ball. Parenthood is an adventure. So you will need to be able to use this equation in a practical way.
So you have a problem. You see a Need. That is not strange. You will have problems constantly as you are raising your children. The moments without any problem and any need are few and far between. That is because we can always be improving on something. Parenthood is round-the-clock job :).

Let's approach this equation differently to solve this need. Here are the steps as outlined in Toddlerwise. I would encourage you to stop, sit down, and think through this. Don't just think about it while you are changing diapers and doing the dishes. I find certain chores to be great brainstorming times, but you should first sit down and go through the steps, then continue on with your normal brainstorming.
  • Start with a question: What behavior are you trying to fix? What is your need? What is the problem. Do we have a discipline problem? A sibling problem? Are you wondering what age to start preschool? Is there a playgroup starting up? Are you considering potty training? You have a need and are looking for the solution.
  • Beliefs and goals: Think about what your beliefs and goals are on this topic. If you have already thought them through, then you will have the benefit of knowing what they are in more of a vacuum situation rather than in association with your current need. Not that you want to only look at each belief in a vacuum setting--you don't. But if you first think through your beliefs, you know what you believe and can apply the other factors to the situation, knowing already what that fundamental belief is. Remember that you cannot have beliefs that are antagonistic to each other. This doesn't mean you will never have values that you have to choose between; you will have your hierarchy of goals. For example, we find visiting family to be of great worth. We also value our children getting regular, complete sleep. Sometimes those two values conflict with each other. Sometimes one gives, sometimes the other, and sometimes both give a little to form some sort of compromise.
I will then add:
  • Why: you can know understand the why. You can formulate it. You see your need, you know your beliefs, and you have set your goals. Keep the why in mind.
  • How: apply the how. Give it a try. See how it works.
  • Evaluate and Adjust: be honest and asses if the "how" is working to meet your goals. If not, pick a new how. You don't pick a new goal or pick a new belief, you pick a new how. Some things might be put off for a bit. Take our potty training experience. We tried it, but he wasn't ready. I decided to wait and try later when I thought he was ready. I didn't set a new goal. I didn't decide I don't want him potty trained after all. I simply changed my approach. We waited until he was ready, we changed a few of our "hows," and we had great success (see the posts under Potty Training for more on this). Sometimes, you might have set the wrong goal. Maybe you set the goal that your child would be pitching in the majors by 12. If you set the wrong goal, of course you should fix it. My goal with potty training was that he would be completely trained 1-3 months after starting. That didn't happen. We tried for a week and a half and it just wasn't working. We were both putting 100% of our energy into it, but it wasn't working. So we stopped all together for several months. When we started again, he was completely trained within a few days, with minimal effort on either of our parts.
So why is this equation something that is so important to you as a parent? Other than the obvious as outlined in this post, it goes back to the fact that no book or blog can give you the solution to each need and problem you encounter. It is completely impossible. There are so many different circumstances out there. There are so many different cultures, traditions, religions, etc. that all impact who you and your family are. No two children are alike, so no one solution is going to work for all children. It is of great benefit to your family for you to be able to problem solve based on your family. Again, I encourage you to really learn the principles and theories behind the -wise series. Learn from the examples in the books. Look at those examples and see how the theory was applied. Look through the posts in this blog to help you get ideas and problem solving tips. Then problem solve with all of that knowledge you have from the books, the blog, your family, and your life experience.

Beliefs and Goals and How They Impact Parenting

The idea of beliefs and goals is talked about in On Becoming Toddlerwise in the chapter entitled "The Land of Good Reason." This chapter is also included in subsequent books in the -wise series. This chapter is quite applicable to moms with babies also.

When you are making decisions for your children of any ages, here is the equation (found on page 76 of Toddlerwise):

Belief + goal = Why + How = Solutions that Satisfy Needs

I have covered Why and How already (see Why vs. How :

Let's talk about beliefs and goals. Understanding your beliefs and goals will better help you to understand your "Why" and keep things in perspective.

These are your beliefs about different areas of training for your children. You know these, but it might help you to write them out, or at least sit and purposefully think them out. Here are some sample categories of beliefs. You can of course add to them:

  • Morality: What do you view to be morally right and morally wrong. Really think through situations. What is your view on stealing. What is your view on modesty. In our church, we stress morality to our youth. In teaching them, we tell them that they need to decide now what they will do in any given situation. It isn't enough to think, "I will not do drugs if a friend offers." You need to think, "If a friend offers me drugs, I am going to decline and then immediately leave the situation" or "If a friend offers me drugs, I am going to say 'blah, blah, blah." I was also taught this as a youth, and as I have gotten older, I have seen the wisdom in this council. Here is a simple example. When I was pregnant with Brayden, I had extremely bad morning sickness. I was throwing up all day and all night for all nine months. Well, six and a half. I didn't get sick until I was eight weeks along. But I even threw up a couple of hours before he was born. Up to that point in my life, I hadn't thrown up very often. I could count on one hand the number of times I had thrown up in life. I couldn't even do that for one day of my pregnancy! I think you get the picture, and I know some of you are nodding your heads knowingly while others are shaking them in disbelief. One day early in my pregnancy, I suddenly needed to throw up. I was in the kitchen, and despite the fact that we lived in a tiny little apartment, I didn't make it to the bathroom in time and threw up in my hand. I was immediately grossed out and flung my hand. I then had throw up all over the floor. I hadn't ever thought to myself, "what will I do if I throw up in my hand?" Well, I did after that. I had every throw up scenario played out, and believe me that it helped me in restaurants, grocery stores, and the car. You have to think your morals through.
  • Education: What are your education beliefs? What are your values? Is a high school diploma important to you? A college degree? How will you educate your child? What practices will you follow? What will you personally do? Where will you educate him? What do you want him to learn? Is an education only found in books? What topics need to be taught? What other things need to be taught?
  • Faith and Religion: What role does religion play in your family? What do you believe about God? Is prayer and scripture study a regular part of your life? How will you pass these beliefs on to your children?
  • Family/Parenting: What is your parenting style? Mother-led, father-led, child-led, co-regent leadership? What is the role of the parent? What is the role of the child?
  • Friendships: What are your beliefs about friendships? What about community? Think these through.
  • Finances: What do you believe about earning money? What do you believe about spending and saving? Do you pay tithing? Will you do allowance? What will you pay for versus your child paying for?
  • Children: What do you believe about the nature of children? What do you believe they are capable of doing and understanding?
  • Other.
As you think about it, you will be able to see how these beliefs will help you make your goals. Your beliefs will help you decide what you want to accomplish. For example, if you believe strong personal friendships are important, you will likely have a goal for something like a playgroup for your child. You would then structure your day to fit that goal in. Your goals exist because of your beliefs. Sometimes we have goals without really thinking about the belief behind it. Knowing these beliefs will help you understand the reason you are doing something (why).
As you make these goals, realize that you often need a number of small goals to reach your main goal. You can't teach a child to be perfectly moral in one day, or with one goal. You need age appropriate goals that are manageable for both you and your child.
Also, bear in mind that there are a variety of goals that can be set to satisfy the belief. For example, let's continue on with the friendship belief. You want your child to make friends, but you also have a young baby with a tight schedule. You have a belief that babies should get rest and not be disrupted often. Or maybe you have a belief that babies should eat every so often, and the time of the playgroup makes it so you couldn't nurse your baby at regular times. This makes having a structured playgroup more of a challenge for you. So instead, you get a group of moms together to go to the park once or twice a week. Then you don't have a lot of children in your home disrupting the baby and you have a situation where the disruption is less often. Your older child is then able to play with kids at the park. You can always find many solutions to meet your belief. This is in line with why vs. how, as linked above.
If your goals conflict with your beliefs, you will not meet them. You need to line up the two. Decide which is more important. Most often, it will be the belief. Occasionally, you will find that you need to change one belief to meet a higher belief. Knowing your beliefs will help you reduce frustration in your parenting. You will have a destination beyond getting through the day. You will set your child up for success because he will be reaching for something and you will be helping your child get there, in contrast to your child's goal being to simply stay out of time out or have as much fun as possible in one day. You still have fun with goals, but you are going somewhere. Children and eager to learn, so let's take advantage of it!
See Problem Solving Using Beliefs, Goals, Why, and How for steps to put this equation into practice.
Related Posts:

Reader Thank Yous:
  • The Pinnt's said...
    I LOVE this post Val. I think that it's very important not only with teaching/training our children but with most everything we do as adults. There are so many people today who have a lousy work ethic. This can help teach our children and we can also use it with ourselves to help figure out our own goals and to meet them. I love your blog! Thank you for all your hard work you put into it. You can tell that you have an amazing work ethic! =) Just don't run yourself ragged doing it, k? We need you happy and sane so you can help all of us out here in Internet-land stay happy and sane too.
    June 18, 2008 9:45 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks! Thanks for the reminder, too. Sometimes I have too good of a work ethic ;)
    June 18, 2008 11:53 AM
Reader Questions:
  • mmonfore said...
    Hi Val,I love the last paragraph of this post! I never thought of it that way before. With my baby, I'm constantly working with him, thinking through his schedule, trying to teach him how to sleep on his own, etc. But with my older son, we just try to get through the day, like you say. Can you give me some more specifics on how you make this work? Are there certain goals you have for a certain day/week? How do you teach them? How do you decide what goals to teach when? Can you give me a play-by-play on how it works for you? Honestly, right now when I think about teaching him, I'm overwhelmed by the prospect. He's not very good at obeying me right now. But I think I need to have an attitude shift about teaching him things and not just getting through the day. Any advice on how we can get started? Thanks!P.S., You have no idea how much I appreciate your blog! Thank you!
    June 25, 2008 12:05 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    I would set up your goals based on what works for you. I would start with your discipline issues. Think through those and get going on that. Then, as that becomes more second nature to you, move on to other goals. More structure should help with your discipline problems.I would then re-read whichever book is appropriate for the age of your son and set some goals. It is very overwhelming to start out these new goals, but just set small, managable goals. See this post also:Learning Activities (Preschoolwise) :
    June 26, 2008 10:32 PM

Throwing/Dropping Food off of the Tray

Intentionally throwing food off of the tray is not something I ever experienced with Brayden. Sure, food fell off the tray while he was eating sometimes, but he never intentionally threw it off.

Then Kaitlyn came along. She is such an easy baby in so many ways, but she does have her vices. One of those is dropping food off her tray. I wasn't sure she was doing it on purpose at first, but after some observation, I came to realize she was.

She doesn't do it immediately; she signs and says "all done" first, but if I don't respond fast enough and she is feeling impatient, she starts to throw her food on the floor. I am pretty sure she has learned that I quickly respond when she throws her food. The problem here is that with two kids, I can't always immediately respond to the desires of one, so when she is done, I can't always get her out right away. Another problem I have is that she is trying to get my attention in the appropriate and polite way first, then moving on to other means.

My personal solution for this mostly lies with myself. I have made more of an effort to respond to her as soon as she asks in her appropriate way. If I can't get to her right away, I at least look at her and tell her I will be there in one minute. She is less prone to throw food if I at least acknowledge her.

If she announces that she is all done but I want her to stay in her highchair for a bit longer for whatever reason, I will immediately remove her food from her so she can't resort to dropping her food off her tray if she gets impatient.

But maybe your child is throwing/dropping without using better means of communication first. If that is the case, I would use the firm voice, "that's a no," 'mommy glare,' and then take the food away and tell her she can get out when she signs or says all done, not by throwing her food. If your child is old enough to be sitting and eating finger foods, then she is most likely old enough to communicate in some way that she is done (other than throwing food).

The first couple of meals, I would take her hands and physically sign all done for her and also say it. I would then tell her good girl and get her out. After a few times (based on age and ability), have her do it herself. When she does it, praise her for being a good girl and obeying, etc.

If you are sure your baby just can't communicate that yet, then I would say you need to watch more closely for other cues. You want to catch her before she gets to the food-throwing point. Get her out before that point. Before you get her out, ask if she is all done and sign it to her and/or for her.

What you don't want to do is have baby throw food because she wants out and you then immediately get her out. That is reinforcing the wrong behavior. That is the reason I suggest you remove the food, then have her sit and ask nicely.

If your baby is throwing food just randomly throughout the meal, then you can take the food away immediately and wait for 30 seconds to a minute. Then give it back to her and tell her she can have her food but may not throw it. At some point (up to you) you would take it away for good. You could also take her out of the highchair and tell her she can go back if she will not throw her food.

Don't underestimate the comprehension ability of your children. They understand much earlier than we realize, and much earlier than they can really show their comprehension.

See also this post:

Baby Highchair Manners:

Poll Results: What age did you introduce solids?


4-5 Months: 55 votes (32%)
5-6 Months: 73 votes (43%)
6-7 Months: 26 votes (15%)
7-8 Months: 5 votes (2%)
8-9 Months: 3 votes (1%)
9-12 Months: 3 votes (1%)
12 Months or older: 3 votes (1%)

Total of 168 votes

Resistance to Independent Playtime

image source
Brayden was doing so great with independent playtime. He was up to about 30-40 minutes. We had worked to get there. He didn't love it initially. But I had persevered, and he was up to 30-40 minutes quite happily. Then around 7-8 months, he started standing up in the play yard and for some reason that set him off and he hated independent playtime again.

My reaction wasn't necessarily the best. I just didn't do solo playtime for a few months. Every now and then I would try it, but he would still scream, so I just put it off until he was old enough for roomtime.

Now that I am wiser and more experienced, I would stick with it. I would be consistent--do it every day. If all you can get is 5 minutes, take it. Work your way back up to your optimal length.

If your baby is old enough and you feel comfortable with it, you can also start to have some roomtime. The hard thing with roomtime is that it takes a long time (for me) to work up to it. I sat with Brayden for weeks and slowly became less interactive. I also watched him carefully to be sure the room was totally baby-safe. I am lucky that we have the space that I can make a room baby-safe like that.

I really think oldest children are often the hardest to get solo playtime going well. Younger children get it from birth just because mom can't pay all of her attention to every child. The oldest is accustomed to mom doting over every little chirp, while younger children share mom's time with siblings. Despite the difficulty, independent playtime is definitely worth the effort.

If you could make sure you had a safe room, you could put a baby gate in the doorway so you could hear better, or a monitor in the room, and let her play in there. I would work up to it slowly again.

Brayden now does really well with independent play, and has since he was 14ish months old. He loves it. He tells me he wants to play longer when I go to get him. So if your child starts to protest independent playtime, don't fret. You can get back to where you are.

Kaitlyn has never resisted it. She has always been just fine, and at 14 months, we have never had a crying session in conjunction with independent playtime. I attribute that to a couple of things. One is that she is not the oldest. Another is that I started having her have forms of independent playtime from birth really. It has always been a part of her life.

Here are the other posts on independent play:

Moral Training: Love

Our son Brayden recently turned three. Before he did, I of course read On Becoming Childwise. While I was reading it, one section really jumped out to me for him. It was the section about providing the “why” of your moral training to your child (starting on page 79). I especially like the thoughts about teaching your child we do things because that shows love.

The Golden Rule. Treat others how you would want to be treated. My minor in college was speech communications. Through those studies, I learned of another rule: the platinum rule. This rule states that you treat others how they want to be treated. This is an excellent way of treating people. Anyone who is married can attest to the fact that two people do not want the same response in every situation. In most cases, for me to treat my husband would want me to treat him is far different from how I would want to be treated.

That is a tangent and above the analytical skills of a three year old. Back to the Golden Rule. I had already introduced this rule to my son. My son can probably be best described as dutiful. I have to be careful of what I tell him because he carries out my instructions as well as he can. He also has a rather large capacity for sympathy and empathy for others. Despite these qualities, we were still having troubles with sharing with his little sister. I don’t want to discredit him. By troubles I mean that I often found myself reminding him that he needed to share. He would then do so. Things were slowly progressing, but I found myself repeating my instructions to him every couple of days. I wanted him to naturally share.

I attempted to reach this goal by saying, “Brayden, do you like it when Kaitlyn shares her toys with you?” He would always respond, “Yes.” Then I would tell him that he needed to share with her so she would want to share with him. He would then hand her a toy. Sometimes I would follow it up with, “Doesn’t that make you feel good to share!” He would kind of nod.

I doubt it really did make him feel good to share because he wasn’t sharing for the right reasons. I was attempting to use the Golden Rule, but I was missing the mark. After reading through Childwise, I came to realize I was trying to motivate him to share by putting forth selfish reasons. I thought those reasons would appeal to a 2.5 year old.

Ultimately, I don’t want him to share only to get something in return. I want him to share even if he gets nothing back. I want him to do nice things for others not for the physical reward or the many thanks received, but because it does make him feel good inside. Because being kind and serving others shows our love for others, as well as for the Lord. How was I going to get there?

I got there by emphasizing the love part of it. I read Childwise on a plane while my husband and I took a vacation without the kids. When we got home, I was very excited to put this new idea into practice. The next time Brayden was hesitant to share, I changed my approach. I asked, “Brayden, do you know why we share with Kaitlyn? We share with her because that shows her that we love her. When you share with Kaitlyn, she knows you love her.” That is all I said. I didn’t further lecture and insist that he share. He thought about that for a minute. He then chose a toy and shared with her.

I soon found that I wasn’t repeating myself to share like I had been. Just like that, he began sharing. Yes, we do have our days I remind him the reasons we share, but instead of being every couple of days, it is every couple of weeks. Vast improvement.

Soon after I had introduced this new idea to Brayden, we went out to dinner as a family. The waitress brought Brayden an ice cream cone at the end of the meal. He was enjoying it and was soon sharing licks with me and with Kaitlyn. He wasn’t, however, offering any to his Daddy. I quietly whispered to Brayden that he could share some with his Daddy too. He responded that he didn’t want to. Instead of lecturing him that he wasn’t being nice and that if he couldn’t share I would take the cone away, I simply said, “If you were to share a lick with Daddy, that would show him how much you love him.” I left it at that. He was soon passing his Daddy his ice cream cone to share.

Children are loving. They want to be good. They want to show their love. When we put faith into the innate pureness and goodness of children, and show them how they can express that, they far exceed our expectations. Of course they need reminding and further training, but they can do it. They have pure, willing hearts. They aren’t born knowing what is appropriate and how to express different emotions (and what is appropriate varies from family to family and culture to culture), but as we train them, they will likely surprise us on how willing they are to learn, and how quickly they respond to the correct method of training for them.

Related Posts:

Reader Comments/Thank Yous:
  • Jordan & Nikki said...
    What a wonderful approach for toddlers. They are so pure and good, it makes sense to tap into their sincere goodness. I am eager to try it!
    June 11, 2008 4:01 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Nikki, it really is wonderful. But do take note that for a two year old, the "why" might be a bit over the head. The -wise series suggests training the actions of your child until age three, then start adding the moral training. But of course, if you think your child is ready before then, go for it. Just keep the three year old mark in mind so you aren't disappointed if it doesn't work right away.
    June 11, 2008 10:53 PM
  • Markus said...
    Thank you for all your work and encouragement. Reading your blog is often the extra boost and help I need to keep going. - SRJ
    June 11, 2008 4:18 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    SRJ--I am glad to boost you up! Thanks for the thanks!
    June 11, 2008 10:53 PM
  • loves2stamp said...
    My 4 yo just learned Eph 4:32 in Sunday school: Be kind to each other. When I see that he is not sharing or being kind to another esp. his brother I remind him what the Bible/God says about being kind. I think I will also add that being kind shows our love to others. And eventually he will come to understand that through us God shows his love to others. :)Thank you for your enouragement through your blog. We did GKGW with our oldest, not to the tee, and life got in the way and we moved and didn't have the ministry where we lived and all the principles we leaned kinda fell to the side. But as my oldest got older I soon realized that we needed to change things. I started reading the -wise books again and started implementing the things that needed change immediately and it didn't take long for my son to pick them up. And I have now leanred, the hard way, to keep up the hard work becuase a day will come when I see the fruits of my labor and my youngest isn't too late to lean them also!
    June 12, 2008 12:40 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks for your thoughts!
    June 12, 2008 11:05 PM