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Poll Results: What age did baby start to stay awake for feedings on own (you didn't have to work to keep baby awake to eat)?


2-4 weeks: 43 votes (34%)
4-6 weeks: 40 votes (32%)
6-8 weeks: 26 votes (20%)
8-10 weeks: 6 votes (4%)
10-12 weeks: 4 votes (3%)
12-14 weeks: 2 votes (1%)
14 weeks or older: 4 votes (3%)

Total of 125 votes

Baby Whisperer: Respecting Baby

In the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg outlines seven steps to making sure you show respect to your baby. Here they are (starting on page 135):

  • Be with your baby. This means that while you are spending time with your baby, focus on your baby. Don't spend your time on the phone or off in some other zone thinking about things you have to get done. Now, I am going to say that there will surely be times you need to be on the phone while you are doing something with your baby, and most definitely be times you need to think about other things while with your baby. But try to focus on your baby while you are spending time with your baby. That is what makes it quality. Don't be fooled, your baby can definitely tell if your mind is not with her.
  • Delight in baby's senses, but don't overstimulate. Realize that a baby does not require much to be stimulated. The US is a culture with a lot of stimulation at all times. We have our cell phones and our iPods. Television is loud and fast. We mistakenly try to offer that much stimulation to our babies. They don't need that much. Less is more with babies.
  • Make baby's environment interesting, pleasant, and safe.
  • Foster baby's independence. Help him gain confidence to try new things and play independently. Hogg says when baby is playing, it is better to observe more than you interact. You also have your independent play each day to help baby foster independence.
  • Talk to, not at, your baby. Leave time for baby to respond while you are talking to her.
  • Engage and inspire, but always let your baby lead. Hogg says to never place a baby in a position she can't get into or out of on her own. I don't necessarily agree with this. When you do tummy time with a newborn, she can't get into or out of that position on her own. In fact, you she can't get into or out of any positron on her own as a baby. Also, Kaitlyn was sitting on her own, unsupported, before 5 months old. But it was months after that when she got to sitting on her own.
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Reader Comments:

  • Erin Jensen said...
    I read the baby whispere and I liked the idea of respecting your baby but felt as though she took it to an extreme at times - like saying that you should not buy clothes that you have to pull over your baby's head because that could be traumatic...that seemed a bit much to me!
    September 3, 2008 10:45 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    That is interesting Erin, I don't even remember that part!
    September 8, 2008 1:38 PM

Sleep Begets Sleep

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Many moms worry that if their child gets too much sleep in the day, they won't sleep well in the night. Well, part of that is true. Too much sleep can cause nighttime sleep disruptions. However, you are unlikely to run into that issue until possibly 5 months of age, and only if you aren't dropping a nap when your baby needs to.

A common trend among modern parents is to keep baby up all day in order to get baby to sleep well at night. This just doesn't work. Tracy Hogg, in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, says "...being overtired will actually ruin her sleep" (page 168). Ezzo and Buckman in On Becoming Babywise assure parents their babies need to sleep. They need to sleep for physical, emotional, and intellectual reasons.

The better rested your baby and child is, the better they will sleep overall. That is one reason I suggest you use alternative methods of sleeping during sleep training (so long as it doesn't interfere with the overall process) see Waking Early From Naps/Won't Fall Asleep For Naps: If your child gets overly tired, she will cry longer before naps and have a harder time sleeping. Hogg says, "...when she finally does sleep, it's fitful and abbreviated, sometimes no more than twenty minutes, so she's cranky practically all the time" (page 168).

As the parent, you are in charge of establishing these good sleep patterns. You can't wait for your child to ask to take a nap (some children might, but a small percentage, and only when they are really tired).

Now at some point, your overly tired child will crash and crash hard. He will finally sleep long and hard. But this is a rare occurrence in the overly tired child.

Let me illustrate this point with a recent experience we had. We went to Yellowstone National Park. We left at 3:30 in the afternoon, which was later than we had anticipated. We had hoped to leave by 2:00 or 2:30. Because of that, we had decided to not put the kids down for a nap. We then drove to Yellowstone and arrived at 9:00 PM. Our kids don't sleep in the car, so despite the fact that they had missed a nap and were late for bed, they still hadn't fallen asleep. We got settled and they were finally both in bed at about 10 PM (Kaitlyn--16 months--was a bit earlier). They both slept fine that night.

The next day, we had Kaitlyn take her morning nap in her bed, then set off for seeing the sights. Brayden (3) again missed his nap. Around 6 PM, Brayden actually fell asleep in the car for about 20 minutes, and woke up crying. That is the third time since he turned one he has fallen asleep in the car. We were there with friends (who incidentally don't do schedules or naps) and the dad observed that our kids probably don't sleep in the car because they know they will get to sleep in their beds.

We got back to camp and the kids were put to bed in good time. My husband and I went to bed at 10:30. A few minutes later, Brayden woke up crying. He woke up almost every hour that night. That has never happened in his lifetime. He wasn't sick or scared or cold, he was just tired. He wasn't even really fully waking, just crying for a minute then going back to sleep. We decided that from then on, he needed his nap. We had Kaitlyn skip her morning nap one day to get more sightseeing in, but only once she was rested enough. After a couple of days of naps and good bedtimes, the kids were both back up to par.

There was one day Kaitlyn asked for an extra nap. We were cooking dinner so I gave it to her--she is one of the small percentage of children will ask for a nap.

When we got home, poor Kaitlyn was so tired. She had solo playtime at 5 PM but instead took a 1.5 hour nap (woke because I woke her) then went to bed at 7:30.

Sleep begets sleep. Believe it. If my 3 year old boy who has had good sleeping habits for 3 solid years can get that disrupted after a couple of days of lack of sleep, be confident your newborn can also. Believe that enough sleep is good and important for your child.

Reader Thank Yous and Comments
  • The Traveling Turtle said...
    This is so true. The other day I was trying to keep my little one up a little longer and she was clearly tired. It took her a long time to get settled back down and when she did - she only took maybe 1 hour naps all day. She is 6 months old and usually takes 2 two hour naps and then one 1 hour nap in the late afternoon - then goes to bed at about 7:00 at night. When I put her to bed that night she screamed and cried for a little while (maybe 15 minutes, which is a long time for her - she usually doesn't cry when going down anymore). I got her up, changed her diaper and sat with her for a moment to calm her down. When I put her down again, she screamed like I have never heard before. She was SO overtired. It took maybe 3 minutes of that and she was fast asleep. What a great post. I can't even count the number of times older moms (mostly grandmothers) have told me to keep my baby up later if I want her to sleep in later. As we know - that is not the case.
    August 27, 2008 2:36 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks for your added experience Traveling Turtle!
    September 2, 2008 10:57 AM
  • Abby's Mom said...
    When Abby was a month old her doctor actually suggested that I keep her up during the day to help her sleep at night. Can you imagine keeping a one month old awake all day? Needless to say, I ignored that advice!
    August 28, 2008 10:51 AM
  • Mockabee News said...
    I agree so much with sleep being needed in the day. A lot of my friends call my kids "coma" kids because they sleep so well day and night. Although it's a bit offensive, I know that they love their sleep and need it so much developmentally. (well the second doesn't love his as much as my first!)
    August 30, 2008 3:28 PM
  • Rachel Stella said...
    Research has shown that if you keep a baby/child up late or skip naps in the hopes of getting them to sleep longer at night they might at first, BUT over a short period of time will then start to sleep much worse at night. Maybe this is why some people thing this method will work, because it sometimes does at first.
    September 2, 2008 1:54 PM

Baby Stuff I Love: Bathtime

I am starting a new series of baby stuff I love. I thought it would be fun for everyone to share things they have found to be useful or not useful when it comes to baby stuff. We are a target group companies go after. We have so much to choose among, and we want to buy it all. Through these posts, perhaps we can help each other know things we have loved, and perhaps things we haven't loved.

Bath Stuff I Love

  • Munchkin Bath Toy Turtle Scoop. This is something that benefits mom. When I only had Brayden to care for, I took each toy individually out of the tub and dried it off by hand. Well, time just isn't as free-flowing with two children. I found this at a store and have loved it. You put the turtle in the tub, still full of water, and the toys flow into it. It works really well. Then you hang it and let the toys dry. Love this. Munchkin Bath Toy Turtle Scoop

  • Shampoo Rinse Cup. This has been great for Brayden (3). Brayden hates to get water in his eyes. We got this cup about a month ago, and he has loved it. He is so happy to not have water in his eyes. This cup does work, though I find it harder to use with Kaitlyn (16 months). For one, she really doesn't care if she gets water in her eyes. For another, she doesn't hold still, and getting the cup against the head is a big reason this cup works. Shampoo Rinse Cup

  • Safety First Bathseat. I liked this for both of my kids, and it was especially nice when Kaitlyn was tipsy and bathing with her brother. This way she didn't risk getting knocked over. Safety 1st Tubside Bath Seat

  • Toys. Toys are fun, but keep in mind bath toys get gross. I do not think of bath toys as a long term item to own if the toy has a hole in it (you can try to plug the hole with hot glue to try to prolong the life of that toy). Both of my kids really love their toy boat. I don't think it would matter much which boat it was, just that it is a boat. Ours is the Parents brand sold at Target. Tubby Tug Boat in Clear Packaging . They also really like the foam letters and numbers. A lot of Brayden's letter-learning has happened in the tub. Rub A Dub Abc & 123 They also like the Sassy Snap and Squirt Sea Creatures Sassy Snap and Squirt Sea Creatures. I will make a recommendation when you are buying bath toys. Don't go overboard. I am pretty meticulous with our toys. I keep them dry and clean them in vinegar ever so often to remove water spots and mildew. However, I have noticed that some of the toys Brayden had as a baby are getting close to being done. I will soon be throwing them away. So I would get some toys, but be prepared to need to throw them out and replace them. This is especially true of toys that can get water inside. It is hard to keep the inside of those clean.
The gear you need is dependent on your setup and your baby's age.
  • Bath tub/bath sponge/etc. Brayden hated baths. We did most "bathing" as sponge baths for the first two months because he hated it so much. Kaitlyn loved baths. For both, I used a simple, inexpensive baby bath tub. A good friend of mine (and my mom) used a sponge you lay baby on and put in the tub. Some can do baths in a sink when old enough. If I were buying a baby bathtub right now, I would buy one that can be used for a newborn up to an independent sitter such as this one: The First Years Sure Comfort Newborn to Toddler Tub. I hated that when Kaitlyn got to a point of sitting, we wasted so much water in the tub because she sat in one little spot. A friend told me she used a wash basin in the tub for her daughter. I thought that was a great idea. This is a similar idea: Safety 1st Kirby Inflatable Tub in Blue
  • Towel. You can use a hooded baby towel or a normal towel. The hooded are nice to keep baby's head warm if you transport from the tub to the changing table after a bath. Super-soft Hooded Bath Wrap
  • Washcloth. I like to have washcloths that are used only for baby just so I know where it has been.
  • Cotton balls. I never had to use these for Brayden, but Kaitlyn had a clogged duct for her first 6 weeks and the cotton ball was good for cleaning that.
  • Shampoo/baby wash. Be sure you have something "tear free" and safe for baby.
  • Lotion. This will depend on your baby. Consult with your pediatrician about it. Some babies need strong lotion, some need none.
  • Non-slip mat. I use this in the bathtub to prevent the kids from slipping.
  • Bubbles. Fun for older infants or toddlers (and older).
Stuff I Can Do WithoutI was given some calming milk bath stuff at a shower. I have never used it. That is about it, though.

Please leave your own thoughts! I will add them to the post.
Reader Advice/Comments:
  • Don & Denise Sullivan said...
    At our shower we were given an "over the door" bath organizer by Fisher Price. It's great because we can keep all the wash cloths, shampoo, etc. in it and it zips close so everything's neatly concealed. Hangs over your door. Someone gave us foam shaped jungle animals, palm trees, etc. that are like the foam letters. They can pretend play and stick them on the tub and walls. Looking forward to everyone's comments!
    August 26, 2008 10:20 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Sounds cool Denise. Those foam animals sound especially fun. I am going to have to watch for those!
    August 30, 2008 8:41 PM
  • Lorri said...
    Maybe this isn't so safe now that I think about it. But once in a while my husband will take our son in with him when he showers. He started doing this at 6 weeks old. This has helped the water in the eyes fear and our son loves bath time AND shower time.I have used the Mother's Touch Baby Bather by Summer Infant we got as a shower gift. I like it when I first saw it because the mesh is machine washable-but it is very hard to try and fit back on. It isn't very practical though, it doesn't have any straps to hold baby in and I find myself holding on to him and he just floats in the water so I end up not using the chair anyway.
    August 26, 2008 10:42 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Lorri, We also take showers with our kids on ocassion. Thanks for your tips!
    August 30, 2008 8:42 PM
  • The Traveling Turtle said...
    I love the disposable pads that you can put under your little ones while they are on the changing table. They have come in handy the most when my husband changes our daughter. I have figured out her potty cycles and know that it is a bad idea to change her directly after a bottle - but he is still learning. The pads save me from having to wash the changing pad cover every time. You just throw away the little disposable thing. When I was told about them to begin with I thought they would be a waste of money - but they have been a HUGE help and it is the #1 thing I tell all my pregnant friends to ask for or buy themselves. Maybe that is a boring item to not live without - but it is handy for sure!
    August 26, 2008 11:19 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Traveling Turtle--I didn't even know about those!
    August 30, 2008 8:43 PM
  • bradysmom said...
    We use a rubber duck tub in the bath tub. Mine loves it, and it's great because I stand him up to get his rear-end and legs, and he can hold onto the head. he loves that part! Munchkin White Hot Inflatable Duck Tub. Another thing I wouldn't do without - the water thermometer. It's great!
    August 26, 2008 11:20 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Bradysmom--that duck looks really fun!
    August 30, 2008 8:45 PM
  • mmonfore said...
    I love the bath sponge and often give it as a gift. It's great and so simple. Much easier than the baby tub. You just fill the bath tub with a few inches of water and lie them down on it before they are sitting up. Once they do sit up, they can sit on it for comfort. The shampoo cup is an interesting invention, but I would caution against it. I always dumped the water on William's head, from day one, and he never had an issue with it getting in his face. With Lucas, I was more careful to keep it out of his eyes, then one day, I got it in his eyes and he freaked out. From then on I resolved to start dumping the water over his head. Now he's fine with it. It's definitely something to think about as kids get older and need to get their faces wet in swimming lessons.
    August 26, 2008 12:13 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Maureen, I really think the water in the face has more to do with pain in eyes with water than anything. When I get water (just nice plain water) in my eyes, it really hurts. I think Brayden is the same. He took a shower with me every day from 7-16 months and got tons of water in his face. He also got water in his eyes every time I washed his hair until we got this cup a month ago. He gets splashed in the face by Kaitlyn quite often...while he doesn't mind water in the face while playing (playing in the tub or in a pool or in the lake), he does not like it while washing his hair. Since we got the cup, he has been awesome about it and comments every bath how much he likes the cup because water doesn't get in his eyes. For Kaitlyn, I don't even use it usually because she won't look up so the water goes in her eyes anyway, and it doesn't bother her in the least.
    August 30, 2008 8:49 PM
  • Christie said...
    My little girl loves bath paints, it is basically colored liquid soap, but she can rub it on the tub or herself. I also use her baby body wash/shampoo as "bubble bath" because it is made for baby and I know it will not irritate her skin.
    August 26, 2008 12:27 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Oh Christie, I loved those as a little girl too! So fun.
    August 30, 2008 8:49 PM
  • Melissa said...
    What a fun post series! We have very limited space right now, so my husband takes our son into the shower with him. We find that it works great. I wrap our son in a hooded towel when finished, then he gets a little massage. :)Looking forward to more great ideas!
    August 26, 2008 2:07 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Melissa, showers can be fun with the parents.
    August 30, 2008 8:50 PM
  • david, blair, and sadie beth said...
    I am definitely a huge fan of tear free shampoo - however, Sadie Beth had pretty yucky cradle cap. I've seen it worse, but I just don't like it. Anyways - our pediatrician suggested using Selsun Blue shampoo, and this worked great. For that reason, I really like the shampoo rinse cup. Also, we dealt with some dry sking. It wasn't severe, just winter. I found that using plain Dove soap for both her hair and body worked the best. It definitely dried her out less than the Johnson's baby products which seem to be what you get tons of for baby gifts! :)
    August 26, 2008 3:15 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Blair, thanks for that info. I will have to remember that in the future if needed (and I can remember because it is here! lol).
    August 30, 2008 8:51 PM
  • sarah84m said...
    My daughter loved baths and it helped her sleep.....I guess I went a little overboard because I started bathing her everyday before bedtime not realizing she had eczema and the baths were drying out her skin to no end. I didn't use any hydrocortisone on her skin since she was so young --4 weeks-- in tead I used burt's bees baby lotion and put it on her entire body including her face. This cleared up her eczema almost overnight plus I cut down only bathing her twice a week. I love burt's bees baby products!
    August 26, 2008 10:56 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Sarah, I have heard good stuff about Burt's Bees stuff also.
    August 30, 2008 8:52 PM
  • Matt and Brooke said...
    Daddy takes care of bath time with our 5 month old daughter. He's 6'4" and has problems getting comfortable around the bathtub. Thankfully, my stepmom found this tub side kneeler Tubside Bath Kneeler and Step Stool that suctions to the tub. That way he can kneel comfortably and later, we can use it as a step stool for our daughter.
    August 27, 2008 8:12 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Brooke, I always wondered if those things really were worth it or not.
    August 30, 2008 8:53 PM
  • Kerri said...
    Best Bathtime item: Laundry Basket.Before your child can sit up very well and falls over a lot plop them in a laundry basket in the bathtub. If they fall over a little it's just on the sides of the laundry basket. It also works well for bathing an older and younger child together -- just put the younger child in the basket with a few toys and everyone is happy.
    August 27, 2008 9:08 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    That is a very good, creative idea Kerri!
    August 30, 2008 8:54 PM
  • nicole viola said...
    I love the California Baby brand bubble bath & shampoo/body wash. Not only is it truly natural & non-toxic (unlike johnson's and other baby brands), but the "calming" flavor really does calm our little one down!
    August 27, 2008 1:17 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Nicole, I hadn't ever heard about it. That is good to know.
    August 30, 2008 8:55 PM
  • jessica babcock said...
    I really wanted to do cloth diapers with my LO but I was nervous about the pins, and oh boy was my husband terrified! but last minute my friend gave me "mother-ease" fitted diapers with snaps that adjust from newborn all the way untill who knows when. and the cheap plastic pants work just great over top and we have had no leaks! as frugal and "green" as i would like to think I am, I know I wouldnt have stuck it out with cloth without this brand. other brands are not as convienient
    August 27, 2008 4:58 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Jessica for your tips!
    August 30, 2008 8:56 PM
  • Lorri said...
    I have to say, as far as shampoo/body wash goes-Aveeno Baby has worked great for our little one. We had been using the johnson stuff the hospital sent us home with and at 1 week old he started to get a little dry. He is now 4 months old and since we bought and started using the Aveeno he never has had a dry flake of skin, no cradle cap or rashes. We always get complimented on how nice our son smells. He has gotten water and the body wash in his eyes when he splashes and never complains.
    August 29, 2008 2:29 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Lorri. My son has really dry skin (got it from me), so it is always good to hear of good products for that.
    August 30, 2008 9:05 PM
  • Rachel Stella said...
    I love this new idea for posts!I love the little pads that you put under your baby when you change him. They are not disposable, but are cheap, easy to clean, and you can get them at BRUS. Sorry I don't know what they are called.Wanted to remind people that you really don't need to use soap on babies everyday. 1-2 times a week is probably plenty. Just plain water is fine otherwise. Also, if you decide to give a bath everyday (maybe as part of a night time ritual), if you put on lotion right after it will help to reduce dry skin. What exactly is a bath sponge? Sounds useful but can't figure out what it is.
    September 2, 2008 2:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Rachel, except I have heard to not put lotion on baby every time. I personally need lotion every time since my skin is so dry. I put lotion on Brayden every time, who also had really dry skin. But Kaitlyn does not have dry skin so I don't always do it.the bath sponge is a sponge that fits the whole baby on it to lay on for the bath. Summer Comfy Bath Sponge - one color, one size
    September 7, 2008 8:48 PM
  • Jennifer said...
    This is the bath sponge we used: It's only a few dollars and it lasted about 3 months until it got smelly. We used it from day 1 since none of our sinks were conducive to bathing. At that point, I just laid my baby in the tub for her baths with out anything underneath her.
    September 7, 2008 9:57 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Jennifer. I haven't ever tried this (I have a baby tub), but I have heard of graduating up to a folded up towel under baby after the sponge (for those with younger babies who are considering it).
    September 11, 2008 1:48 PM
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Baby Whisperer: Growth Spurts

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Growth spurts are something that seem to cause a lot of problems for moms who follow a schedule. Some are afraid to feed more often and start a new habit. Some feed more often but don't know when to stop or are afraid to stop. Growth spurts seem to be quite mysterious. Here is what Tracy Hogg has to say about the growth spurt in Secrets of a Baby Whisperer (found on page 116).

Growth spurts seem to be more of a "problem" for breastfeeding moms than bottlefeeding moms, but both have problems. If your baby has been eating well on your 2.5-3 hour schedule then suddenly seems to want to eat all day, there is a good chance it is a growth spurt. Hogg says this lasts a day or two. I want to add, though, that it will only last a day or two if you attend to the growth spurt. If you refuse to feed more often, then the need for calories for the growth is going to take longer to fulfill. Hogg says, if you feed your baby, it will last about 48 hours. Then your baby will go back to the schedule.

How often do growth spurts happen? They seem to happen constantly for the first four months. Hogg says they are around every 3-4 weeks. Hogg cautions against confusing a growth spurt with milk supply lessening. Be mindful of that.

How does a growth spurt work? Mom starts to produce more milk because she is receiving more stimulation. Your baby will eat more often (or possibly nurse longer periods) to produce more milk. Your body will then produce more milk for baby to drink. If you feed formula, you can increase the amount of formula eaten--that is assuming baby can take in more in one sitting. If not, you will have to add an extra feeding to your day by feeding more often.

If your baby is hungrier only at night, then it is most likely not a growth spurt. It is that your baby isn't getting enough calories in the day. You would then need to add a feeding to your day. Another option would be to pump the extra milk your baby doesn't drink after the first feeding of the day. Save that milk and give it to your baby at night in a bottle. I love that idea.

Related Posts:

Reader Questions:
  • The Traveling Turtle said...
    Does Hogg say what ages the spurts happen around for children a little older. I think our 6 month old may be going through one. She will eat like a horse for a few days and then on others it seems like it is a bother for her to eat. But yesterday she wolfed down a TON of formula AND food. Every time we fed her (4 hour schedule) it was as if she had never eaten.
    August 25, 2008 12:00 PM
    mmonfore said...
    Traveling Turtle (cute), I've heard/read that growth spurts happen at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months, so it definitely makes sense if your LO is 6 months.
    August 25, 2008 11:27 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Traveling Turtle, pretty much everyone agrees that there is a growth spurt at 6 months, so that is perfectly normal!
    August 28, 2008 9:19 PM
  • Ihave2boys said...
    First of all, congratulations on the pregnancy Plowmanators! I hope you are feeling well. I have a question about getting back into the schedule after a growth spurt. My 3 1/2 month old hit a growth spurt the beginning of the week. He was waking after 45 min, I let him cry for about 10 min., and then fed him and quickly figured out that's what was going on. And so the pattern continued. This started Monday, now its Friday, and he's still waking early. Last week he stretched his feedings out to 3.5 hours and sometimes 4. This morning when he woke early, he was definitely not hungry. I waited until the 3 hour mark to feed him, and he didn't take a full feeding. I'm not sure what to do. He seems to not be hungry anymore, but hasn't gone back to taking full naps. Is this common? He's so fussy in the evening due to lack of rest during the day. He won't fall asleep to finish his nap in the swing (he doesn't fall asleep in it period). He's still sleeping great at night (about 10 hours). My sweet 2 1/2 year old has had a hard time with all the extra attention little guy is getting this week. Sorry, I know that was long. Thanks in advance!
    October 10, 2008 12:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Ihave2boys, Many babies have a hard time around the 4 month mark. See this post:4 month Sleep Problems :
    October 20, 2008 4:22 PM
  • abbie said...
    I am assuming this question falls under the category of growth spurt, but I'm not sure. About 2 weeks ago my daughter had a very obvious growth spurt. She started drinking 6oz (from 4.5) really quickly and got noticeably bigger it seemed. Her sleeping wasn't effected much, except that it seemed to solidify her sleeping through the night (about 10:30-7:30). She is 3 months old exactly. But- in the last week, she has become not as interested in those 6 ounces--she seems uninterested in eating period after like 3.5 ounces! I have tried moving to a 3 1/2 hour schedule but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. She just acts like she's "full" even though it doesn't make sense that she could be? Mainly I'm worried that she is not getting enough or that she has become suddenly averse to this formula. But I would think if it was the latter, she'd be more cranky--and she isn't. She weighed 12lbs 6oz at her 2 mo. check up so I'm assuming she's 13lbs+ by now? I just have that "at least 2 ounces for every pound they weigh" rule in my head so if she's only having 5 feedings, in my mind she needs at least 5 1/2 ounces to be getting "enough." Is this not a hard and fast rule and/or is this normal after a growth spurt? I am worried something might be wrong even though she doesn't seem upset. She has also had some "pooping" problems in the past few days so I thought maybe constipation was causing a lack of interest in eating...but the problems have just turned out to be trouble going, and not so much not being able to go at all. And according to the nurse at my pediatrician's office, her stool looks maybe she isn't really that constipated at all...just transitioning to formula poop from breastmilk? (She's been on formula 100% for about 2 or 3 weeks, I was doing some of BF and formula before... and originally exclusively BF.) Sorry this is so long-- any ideas?? Thanks!
    October 16, 2008 6:11 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    abbie, I don't have experience in feeding with a bottle, but I would say she would return to what she was eating before the growth spurt. She sounds like she is eating less. If she is happy and diaper output is normal, I would try to not worry about it. Also, babies grow at their own pace. They don't steadily grown X number of ounces per week. It seems to be more of a burst, then not much, then burst, etc. When I look at Kaitlyn's numbers over her life, she had visits where she was in 80% and visits she was less than 20%. She is currently about 60%. Her doctor has never shown concern over it. She has had visits where she was 20% one week, went in the next for whatever reason and had shot up to 50%. I am sure it is easy to stress when you see every ounce your baby is or isn't taking in. I would try to just watch diaper output, sleep patterns, and disposition and go off of that.
    October 20, 2008 4:27 PM

Comments Update

The good news is that I am once again being notified of comments. The somewhat bad news (for those who left comments) is that I have been out of town for a while and so I have a lot of comments to catch up on. I will respond to them in the order I received them. Thanks for your patience!

Character: The First Principle (Childwise)

This is my latest article on

Up until about nine months ago, I, in my naivety, truly believed that people as a whole desired to be kind to other people and treat them well. Where I live, that is just the way people are. Sure, there are people who are unkind and motivated by selfishness, but the majority of people try to be kind to others and treat others with respect.

About 9 months ago, I was on a parents social networking site–my first time ever. In one group, one woman was basically getting roasted. She was being called all sorts of mean names and being ridiculed. Thinking these women who were being rude had simply lost themselves in the comfort of hiding behind their computer, I stuck up for the lone woman and suggested we all be nice and if we couldn’t say something in a nice way, don’t say it. I pointed out that you can disagree without being rude or belittling.

I was shocked at the responses. “That is just the way I am. If she can’t handle it, she should leave.” “I am just a blunt person.” ”I have to be nice to my kids all day; I don’t want to have to be nice here too.” Those are just a few. Wow. I was shocked. I pointed out that I consider myself to be a blunt person, but you can be blunt and tactful. Nope. They weren’t having it. This was an eye opening experience for me.

I will point out that I received many personal notes applauding me and agreeing with me. A few brave souls dared to agree publicly. As I have gotten to know these women better, I see that this situation really epitomizes who they are. There are some who are always nice. There are some who just don’t care how they treat others. If they say something rude, that is the problem of other people. They have the “right” and the “freedom” to act as they choose, and it shows in their parenting and parenting advice. That isn’t acceptable to me.

On Becoming Childwise operates under the premise that the readers of the book are the sort of parents who want to instill morality and good character traits into their children. When I first read that over a year ago, I thought, “Of course, all parents would want that of their children.” Sadly, that is not the case. I learned that nine months ago.

Childwise points out that without mutual morality, your child might become a bully or a victim. I can easily see this. You can’t expect that other parents are going to be teaching their children right from wrong. You have to teach your child to have character, and you have to teach him to have it in the face of adversity. Often times to stand up for what you believe in means you are standing alone. Very few will have the courage to stand beside you, even when they agree.
Good character is attainable, but you must teach it. I believe children have an innate desire to do good, but they need direction from you to teach them what good is. Whether you intend to or not, you are the greatest influence on your child, both by what you do and what you don’t do. You have the choice and the option to raise good children. And we, who care, must stand strong and valiantly. Perhaps our children can have a positive influence over those children raised by parents who don’t think it is necessary to be moral. Each generation finds it more difficult to stand strong and adhere to the morals taught them. It was harder for us than our parents. It will be harder for our children than was for us. The difficulty seems to be growing exponentially. This only strengthens the urgency that we take an active role to teach morals to our children.

Children have four general capacities. They are found on page 66 of Childwise. They are:

  • Children have physical capacities. You must provide food, shelter, clothing and encourage necessary skills for life. We also should teach them how to care for their bodies. Teach them which foods are good for the body. Teach the importance of exercise. Remember, you must lead by example.
  • Children have intellectual capacities. You must stimulate. You must teach your child. You must teach logic and useful knowledge along with basic skills. It is really easy to go throughout the day and do what I call “surviving.” Get from sunrise to sundown with the fewest number of difficulties and conflicts. This is especially easy to do with a child who has been raised on principles of Babywise. They are good kids who generally stay out of trouble. Mom could busy herself with housework or hobbies while the kids entertain themselves. It isn’t enough to simply survive a day. We must be actively engaged in teaching our children. On Becoming Preschoolwise offers many ideas for doing this. Simple structure and routine can help you ensure your child receives the needed intellectual stimulation.
  • Children have emotional capacities. Nurture your child’s emotional well-being. You must help your children to monitor and control emotions. We all get mad. But we work to not get mad. We try to control our tempers. We take control of our emotions. My in-laws were very good at instilling morality into their children. Brayden (my son who is 3) has a short fuse. He can go from frustrated to mad almost immediately. If he is trying to do something and doesn’t get it perfectly the first time (he is a perfectionist), he would throw the item across the room. I have worked with him on this from the age of 12 months when it first cropped up. He is much, much better about it now. I can’t even remember the last time he threw something in anger. My husband tells me he was the same way. He tells me he still works with it. The amazing thing is that I have never seen his temper. He has never even raised his voice to me. He has amazing control over his emotions. We can control our emotions, and our children can also. We also want to teach our children how to control displays of positive emotion as well.
  • Children have moral capacities. Teach your child to internalize virtues that reflect your values and the values of society. Yes, the values of society get more fuzzy as the years pass by, but there are basic societal morals.

We must give time and attention to each of these facets. Ezzo and Buckman point out that you don’t want a smart child who cheats. I remember in high school I had a friend who was really smart. She had a perfect grade point average. We were in Chemistry together our sophomore year. She stressed over maintaining her perfect grades. In order to maintain it, she cheated. She ended up being valedictorian. Now, I am one who would have been considered smart (and I hope I still am), but I did not cheat. Yes, it was frustrating to see someone be rewarded for cheating, but I honestly felt sad for her more than anything. I went on to college where I continued to work hard and not cheat. College was not that difficult for me because I knew how to work for my knowledge. I graduated with almost a perfect grade point average, above a 3.9. I was named most outstanding graduate. My name is hanging on a plaque in my department to this day. It all paid off in the end.

There is one of these capacities that requires more priority, or first priority. That is moral training. “Moral training provides the objectivity needed for emotions to function freely without overpowering the child” (page 68). When you train morally the right way, you can have a child who is emotionally balanced, intellectually assertive, and morally sensible. Our society needs as many of these people as we can get!

Teach your children to do unto others as they want done unto them. To do this, you must yourself behave this way. You must treat others with kindness. You must be honest. If you don’t get charged enough money for something, you go back and pay for it. Almost two years ago, my sister-in-law and I got up early and went shopping the day after Thanksgiving. We went to a store where we quickly got our items and got in line. We then spent the next 3 hours in line, waiting for our turn to check out. If you do your math correctly, you will realize I was pregnant with my second child, Kaitlyn. My back hurt. My everything hurt. When we finally got out to the car, we realized they didn’t charge us enough for one of the movies we bought. With a sigh we went back into the store and spent another hour trying to pay back the correct amount. Needless to say, I have not shopped at that store since, but I knew what was right and I did it, though I admittedly could have done it more cheerfully :).

We teach our children that other people matter. Their feelings matter. Their possessions matter. Ask your child if he wants to be treated the way he just treated someone. Think back to when you have served others. Do you feel better about yourself? I know a woman who served others in her lonliest hour. When her mother died, she made bread. She made a lot of bread and delivered it to her neighbors. She felt so much better. She had served others.

Take advantage of your child’s young years. I believe the first 8 years of your child’s life provide you with an opportunity to train that you will never again have. Teach and train your children while you are still “cool”—while you are still the center of their universe and have an influence over their every action. You child is like a young sapling in the preschool years. You can direct his growth. Don’t wait until he is a strong tree—you can’t move him then. It takes work, it takes effort, but you can do it and it is certainly worth it.

Related Posts:

Reader Comments:

  • mmonfore said...
    Wonderful post! I am also astounded by some of the personalities you meet online. When William was a colicky baby (just a couple weeks old), before we figured out what was wrong, I got online and asked people about letting him CIO. Based on their responses, you would think I was asking if I could throw him in a pool and let him drown. My goodness, they were so incredibly mean at a time when I was most fragile, a new mom with a colicky baby who wouldn't stop crying no matter what I did. It's incredible that you stood in line to pay for the item. I need to be better about stuff like that. Just the other day, I cashed in a coupon for 75 cents and the guy gave me 4 quarters. I should have given it back, but it was in my wallet already and would have caused confusion. I rationalized it thinking it was just a quarter. As my kids get older, I'm more aware of my own moral actions and how they will see them. In general, I'm a rule-breaker. I always question authority and never blindly follow rules. I always need to know the reason for the rule in order for me to follow it. My DH on the other hand, is completely opposite. I suppose we balance each other out, but it does drive me nuts sometimes. It will continue to be a lesson for me though, since my kids will learn from what I do. Those little eyes and ears are watching and listening!
    August 22, 2008 2:26 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Maureen! It is amazing how much your kids catch. They catch on to things you don't even realize you or your spouse do! It places an incredible responsibility on us as parents.
    August 28, 2008 7:28 AM
  • Don & Denise Sullivan said...
    Very helpful post! Unfortunately, I find that there are many rude and self-centered people commenting on forums, articles and blogs, regardless of the subject.
    August 22, 2008 11:15 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Yes, Denise, some people seem to simply enjoy being rude to other people. I honestly thought that was over once we all left high school :)
    August 28, 2008 7:29 AM
  • ProudMum said...
    Hello Val,Thanx for this lovely post. it was an eye opening blog. Normally I dont like to criticize others because we must consider that we are all human beings and prone to mistakes if Allah can forgive ours big sins , why we cant we forgive others behaviour.
    August 23, 2008 9:27 AM

Reader Questions:

  • Micah, Amy & Nicolae said...
    i love, love this post! i do have a question though: what did you do for your son when you realized he had a short fuse? my son just turned 1 and is beginning a serious anger problem (which many men have in my family). he'll get frustrated with his toys and 2 seconds later is screaming and throwing them. So far I have taken the toy, and while he doesn't understand the logic, I explain that if he can't control himself, he cannot play right now. If there is something I can do or if what I have done isn't correct or should be changed, please let me know (and be blunt, I can take it :) )thanks!! and again, thanks for this post!Amy
    August 22, 2008 10:33 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Amy, I will do a post on this, but for now I will say sign language was the biggest help. Also, make sure toys are age appropriate, meaning he can completely control any toys you give him by himself (at least with practice).
    August 28, 2008 7:26 AM

Baby Whisperer: Eating Profiles

Here is what you can expect from your baby and eating based on his personality profile, as found in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer on page 99. This really applies to nursing/bottlefeeding.

  • Angel baby: Good feeder (true with Kaitlyn)
  • Textbook baby: Good feeder (true with Brayden, but after Babywise)
  • Touchy baby: Often get frustrated, especially if they are breastfed. They aren't very flexible. They like extreme consistency. (this wasn't necessarily true with Brayden. He was always a faster eater through a bottle than the breast, but he was flexible even before Babywise on where I fed him--but he definitely was not a "natural nurser")
  • Spirited baby: Good feeder
  • Grumpy baby: Impatient. They don't like to wait for the letdown. They will sometimes tug at the breast. Usually fine with a bottle if it has a free-flowing nipple.

Related Posts:

Structured Playtime

There is some confusion as the the distinction between each of the playtimes described in the -wise series. This article discusses Structured Playtime. Structured playtime as defined in On Becoming Babywse II (page 71) is simply independent playtime where mom chooses the toys played with and the time it is done.

In On Becoming Toddlerwise (page 49), it progresses. Mommy picks the activity and the time it happens. This is a good skill because the child needs to learn that he can't always choose the activity. Once your child gets to school, he will have very little freedom about what he does and when he does it. Structured Playtime can be playing puzzles or coloring. It can really be any activity. I would choose an activity that is going to require some concentration and focus. I believe this can be something done in teh presence of others. Perhaps you are making dinner while your child colors at the kitchen table. You can also have all of your children color together. You can have your children play in the yard together. You can overlap structured playtime and sibling playtime. When you instruct your children to play with each other, they can develop important social skills. If your child is resistent to structured playtime, you can start with short increments of time and work up--using a timer.

In On Becoming Preschoolwise (page 97), the rules for structured playtime are the same as in Toddlerwise. Mom chooses the activity and the location of the activity.

I view this activity much like free playtime. It is a good activity for you to turn to when making dinner or other chores. It is good practice time for preschool and on.

See these posts for more on other playtime activities:

Poll Results: At what age did baby start to consistently wake up happy from naps?


3-4 months: 50 votes (42%)
4-5 months: 22 votes (18%)
5-6 months: 20 votes (16%)
6-7 months: 10 votes (8%)
7-8 months: 6 votes (5%)
8-9 months: 4 votes (3%)
9-12 months: 2 votes (1%)
12 months or older: 4 votes (3%)

Total of 118 votes

Baby Whisperer: Feeding a Sleepy Newborn

Kaitlyn was my hardest baby to wake up to feed

A sleepy baby is really an exhausting thing for a mom who is trying to get a full feeding in her baby. When Brayden was a baby, I wasn't doing Babywise yet and I would let him be done if he fell asleep eating. With Kaitlyn, however, I worked and worked to get her to eat. She was a really sleepy newborn. Tracy Hogg lists some ideas for keeping a baby up for a feeding in the book Secrets of the Baby Whisperer. Here they are (found on page 99):

  • Use your thumb to rub a circular motion on the palm of his hand.
  • Rub his back or underarm.
  • "Walk" your fingers up and down his spine.
  • If none of these work, leave baby for 30 minutes and try again (as also suggested in Babywise).
Hogg says to not to use a wet washcloth or tickling feet. I have to say though that those techniques would often work for Kaitlyn.

In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg states that baby is less likley to fall asleep during feeds after 6 weeks of age (page 30). That doesn't mean it never happens; some do and some don't (some really never did). But it might give you something to look forward to. With Katilyn, I remember a significant improvement after 4 weeks, then steady progress from there. [added February 7, 2009].

Related Posts:
Reader Advice:
  • bradysmom said...
    My baby was a very sleepy newborn as well. I always found the wet wash cloth did the trick. I would always have to feed him in only his diaper as well. Usually, between being naked and the wet washcloth, I could keep him awake!
    August 19, 2008 5:58 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Bradysmom--ugh, that was so much work! I don't miss that :)
    August 19, 2008 9:11 PM
Reader Questions:
  • jencwu said...
    One thing I have struggled with is how do I know when my baby is done eating? He is 4 weeks old and still quite sleepy when he's eating, so I will try to make him go 10-15 mins on each side, sometimes longer if he is really sleepy. Usually after that amount of time I am really fighting to keep him awake and I usually just figure he's had enough so I break his suction and take him off. Is that the right thing to do or should I wait for him to do that on his own? If I wait it might take forever since he is always going in and out of sleep. Also, my husband feeds him 1 bottle of breastmilk for his DF and he usually eats about 5 ounces, which from what I've read is a lot more than typical at this age. He is growing a lot faster than typical too. So I know he has a big need for food, but I just really don't want to spend my entire day nursing a sleepy baby.
    August 22, 2008 1:10 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    jencwu, This is a hard one, especially for the first time mom. My son took an hour to eat (at least) at that age. Looking back, a lot of that was me not really knowing what was going on. Just work to keep him awake (I know it is draining, but it should improve soon). At 3 months, my son went down to 30 minutes and was really easy to see when he was done eating. It will get easier with time and experience.
    August 28, 2008 7:48 AM
  • jencwu said...
    I looked around and wasn't sure where else to put this question, so I'm including it here. I know BW says not to nurse your baby to sleep, but what about at nighttime feedings? What I have been doing is when he wakes up at night, I feed him on one side, change his diaper, then feed him on the other side. I try to keep him awake to get a full feeding but then after a certain amount of time he is just so sleepy he won't wake up for anything. I really press the issue if I feel he hasn't eaten enough, but usually he gets that sleepy after I feel he's eaten enough. So I just burp him (he usually even sleeps through that at those times!) and put him down. Do you think this is okay or could it be messing up the daytime routine (as in maybe it is making him feel like he needs to feed in order to go to sleep for naps?)? If I shouldn't be doing this, what would you suggest for nighttime feedings?
    August 22, 2008 1:19 PM
    Krystal said...
    Jen,In BW it says that during the nightime feeding you are suppossed to feed him and then immedietly put him back down. I don't think there is any problem w/ nursing and then putting him back to bed. This is what I did w/ both of my kids, and it didn't cause a problem w/ naps during the day. Just be sure and keep the eat/awake/sleep cycle (makeing sure you don't nurse to sleep)during the day and you are set. :)
    August 24, 2008 9:55 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    jencwu, I think that is fine for that feeding. Just do your best to be sure he gets a full feeding so he can get some good sleep.
    August 28, 2008 7:50 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Thanks Krystal--good tips!
    August 28, 2008 7:50 AM
  • juls1974 said...
    I can totally relate to Jen. My 5 week-old does the same thing when I'm nursing, whether it's day or night. He falls asleep within 10 minutes of nursing and then wakes up briefly to suck every minute or so (especially if I try to take away the breast). I usually change his diaper and that will wake him up for a few more minutes of nursing, but then it's back to sleep again. I realize now after reading many posts/comments that I need to work a little harder to get in that full feeding. My question now is what can I do to keep him awake during "waketime?"Many times I end up burping him after nursing and then putting him to bed right away because there's NOTHING I can do to wake him up. If he does wake up a little he's so drowsy that I can't tell when I should put him down to bed (overabundance of sleepy cues). Does that make sense? So, he sleeps so much during the day that he sleeps poorly during the night which makes him extra sleepy the next day, and the viscious cycle continues... Any suggestions?
    September 11, 2008 2:12 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    The fact that he isn't sleeping well at night tells you that he needs more waketime in the day. I would think through his day and figure out when he is most awake. For one week, focus on keeping him awake for that waketime. At the same time, figure out his optimal waketime length. At that age, my guess would be 30-45 minutes, while some could do 60 minutes. After a week, choose another waketime so you have two waketimes in the day that he is awake, and so forth. If he responds well, you can move faster than one week at a time.To keep him awake, sit him up, talk to him, keep things interesting (but remember for a newborn it doesn't take much to be interesting).
    September 17, 2008 8:11 AM