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Help A Reader Out...Twins Sleep Troubles

Tracy seems to be having troubles with her twins in some fashion. As you will read, she had naptime troubles, but good nights. As she has fixed naps, nights have started to be thrown off. Please read and see if you have any advice and/or experiences to offer! Thanks!


Tracy said...

Hi Val, this is the first time I've posted, but I've used your blog as a research tool since my boys were born. I have twin boys who are almost 11 months old. They have never been great nappers and I feel like it is because I am not good at reading their cues and understanding what changes are going on. That being said, they are GREAT nighttime sleepers and always have been. I think I have let that fact allow me to just say "oh well" to the daytime nap routine. People are always telling me that they are just ready to drop a nap or drop a bottle or something, but I know that is not true. I have two questions for you.

1. Do you always nurse or give milk before solids or meals? I'm confused as I feel like I have read some things about saving the milk for afterwards.

2. Neither of my boys ever sleep a consistent (2)1.5-2 hour naps two days in a row. They either won't sleep one of the naps or will only sleep 45 minutes. Then, the other one will either be really, really long or just an hour. I am so confused and just don't know what to do.

Here is there ideal schedule:

7:00 - wake, bottle, breakfast
8:45 - nap
11:00 - bottle, lunch*
1:45 - nap
3:30-4 - bottle, dinner
5:30 - sometimes a small snack and water
6:45-7 - bottle, bath, pj's
7:15 - bed

*Morning is a tough time, because one or both of them is almost always awake when it should be nap time and I feel like it is throwing everything off. They are great with independent play, sibling play, meals, and nights. I do love babywise, your blog, and really want this to work.

January 13, 2010 6:00 PM

Plowmanators said...


1. Yes, during the first year, I give milk before the meal. I did things differently with my two older children after one year. With my oldest, I still did take a full milk feeding before the meal. That was really the only way he would drink what he needed, plus I would hold him and it was the only time of day he would hold still :) With my daughter, I gave her milk with her meal and she drank it all. I am not sure what I will do with McKenna...we will see what her personality is like.

If they don't drink milk during the meal, I give them a sippy of water to have with them so they can have something ot drink.

2-Do your boys nap together in the same room? If so, that could be part of the overall problem. I think most kids sleep best in the day alone. But, I do have a neighbor wtih twins who has her twins still napping together at 18 months old. She puts a fan in there for white noise.

You might try a bit longer of waketime in the morning. Most kids that age can handle 2 hours waketime. If yours can't and you know it, ignore me :) Go with what you know, but most can do 2 hours. Then your afternoon is waketime length might be the problem here.

I think I will post your sleeping question as a help a reader out question. Is that okay? There are lots of moms with twins specifically who might be able to offer some help.

January 27, 2010 12:12 PM

Tracy said...

Thanks for the response Val and yes, please use my sleep question as a help a reader out question.

Since posting this a couple of weeks ago, I started having trouble with the boys taking a really long time (over an hour) to fall asleep in the afternoon and resorted to the yahoo groups page for any thoughts. I took some of the responses and have tried to extend waketime and shorten the morning nap. I borrowed a pack-n-play from my mom and have them nap in separate rooms (which seems to help). I also made the afternoon just a bottle and snack and moved dinner later to eat with us. It seems like the naps are starting to get better (2 good days in a row, at least), but both boys started waking early in the morning (5:15-6:!5 instead of 7:00). I've stuck to the new plan though and it seems like they are starting to do better (6:40 this morning). Below is closer to what we have been doing.

(~6:30 wake)*
7:00 - bottle, breakfast
9:00 - nap (wake after 1:15 if needed)
11:30 - bottle, lunch
1:30/2 - nap
bottle/snack when wake
5:30 - dinner (I'm kind of moving this back closer to 5:00 to try and help with the bedtime bottle and early morning waking)
6:30 - bath, pjs, bottle
7:00 - bedtime*

*The things that are happening now are taking a long time to fall asleep at night and waking early in the morning. I am also a little unsure on the exact nap times as I sometimes have to adjust based on what time they wake in the morning. I would love for the boys to go back to sleeping 11.5-12 predictable hours at night.

And The Winner Is...


Drum roll please....

Rachel Hockey!

Congratulations! You have won a kit from MD Designs! Please email me at to claim your prize! You have until Friday, February 5, 2010 at 11:59 MST to email me or we will choose another winner. Congrats again!

Last Day To Enter

Just a reminder that today is your last day to enter the giveaway from MD Designs! You have until 11:59 MST tonight.

First Time Mom Reflections...Changing Diapers

Sometimes I look back on how much I have learned since first becoming a mom and really just have to laugh at myself. I have come a long way! Then it struck me; many of you are first time moms and might have a tendency to compare yourselves to me and feel bad. So, I thought it might be fun for me to share some of my first time mom stories with you so you can see that everyone makes mistakes and has things to learn along the way.

This is a story about when we first had Brayden and were in the hospital. A lot of it was kind of a blur for me (unlike my girls). At some point, a nurse walked in and asked us a series of questions, including if Brayden had any wet or poopy diapers. My husband and I kind of glanced at each other, then at her and replied, "No?"

You see, the nurses had taken Brayden out every so often to do some test here and some test there. We assumed they were also changing his diaper for us. Really. We really thought they would be doing that while we were in the hospital. Maybe they were? After that question, we knew we now needed to change his diapers while in the hospital!

Okay, now I must be fair to us. We really didn't know. And, with my girls, the nurses did talk about diapers a lot more and in the case of McKenna told us, "While we had her, we changed her diaper." Of course, this was unnecessary by then because we were seasoned pros and changed her diaper every time she ate--even if maybe she didn't need it. It can be hard to tell with the little newborn and those super absorbent diapers. So we just changed them all the time. We had our routine down. Feed baby. Change her diaper. Let her play if she will. Have her sleep. It is in our blood now.

So go ahead. Have a little chuckle at our expense. We laugh about it often now. We really had no idea what we were doing. We marvel that they just send babies home with first time parents--there should be a quiz or something! ;)

Potty Training is Challenging

image source
I don't mean to alarm you more than you probably already are about this subject, but Potty Training is hard. If you think about it, it makes sense that it will be a challenge. It is hard to try to teach a young child how to pee and poop in the potty. How do you explain it so they can understand? I mean, how would you explain it to an adult, much less a young child? So, yeah, it makes sense that it will be a challenge.

In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg says, "It won't go as smoothly in real life as it sounds like it will be by reading the books. But then again, did your pregnancy? You delivery? Breastfeeding?" (page 364).

I LOVE that quote. How true it is. Nothing is as easy in real life as it is when you read about it. And just like most breastfeeding, pregnancy, and delivery experiences, the first time is the hardest. You don't know what you are doing any more than your child does.

What are we? We are many. The stressed out. The potty training mommies. I have a good friend with six children, four of whom are now potty trained. She recently completed training her fourth child and commented on how hard it is and how much she hates it. Sadly, her next step will be potty training twins! The fun :) So even experienced moms don't like to potty train and find it a challenge.

Hogg has some advice for making it easier on yourself. These are basically all about attitude adjustments, but I think they are good to hear, or uh, read (pages 363-364):
  • They Will Learn: Hogg talks about how if you look around you, all adults are potty trained. I have a friend who says this a lot, too. She is a mother of three. When she was training her oldest, she was STRESSED. One day she realized, he isn't going to graduate high school in diapers. He will get it.
  • Pick The Method For You: There are a lot of potty training theories out there, and I am sure the number will continue to grow. You can do anything from starting elimination communication soon after birth on up to waiting for your child to ask to be trained. As your friends what worked for them. Read up on options and choose what route you might want to try.
  • You Are A Novice: Remember that you are learning to potty train just as your child is learning to be potty trained. You will make mistakes. So will she.
  • Avoid A Time Limit: For many people, it is probably a good idea to avoid a time frame in which you want to get done. This puts more pressure on you and thus on the child, and pressure+potty training=disaster.
  • Keep It Secret: Don't tell anyone you are potty training. If you do, they will bug you and bug you about it. Now, I do think it is good to have a support system. So you might have a non-pushy friend you can talk to/vent to about it. Or maybe you are a member of an online community that can provide support when needed but probably won't think to ask you over and over how it is going.
I will say that potty training Kaitlyn has been a much easier process than it was for Brayden. This is actually quite strange if I think about it. I spent much less time overall in the potty training process with Brayden. But with Brayden, I wanted it done in X amount of time and I was SUPER stressed about it, which just made him SUPER stressed.

With Kaitlyn, I have taken it easy. She isn't poop trained yet, and I am starting to feel bits of tension creep up in my body as I realize she is getting older and we need to "take care of this." But overall, it has been a much smoother ride and it is all because of me not stressing over it. It will happen. Just remind me of that in a few months if she is still not poop trained. On to battle! Oh, wait, that sounds aggressive and stress-inducing. On to work? On to train? On to feigning-low-stress-levels-as-they-creep-up-on-me? Hmmm...I will let you know when I get the right phrase.


Poll Results: What was baby's independent playtime length for ages 4-5 months old?


none: 11 votes (4%)
5-10 minutes once a day: 11 votes (4%)
5-10 minutes twice a day: 44 votes (17%)
10-20 minutes once a day: 40 votes (16%)
10-20 minutes twice a day: 112 votes (44%)
30-40 minutes: 38 votes (15%)

Total of 256 votes

Reminder: You can leave comments on poll results posts if you would like to add to the poll after it has closed. This would be helpful for those who have more than one child, those whose children have reached certain ages after a poll closed, and those who didn't visit the blog while that poll was open. To find closed polls, click on the poll results link above.

Blog Button

I am excited to now have a blog button! My friend Amanda directed me to some instructions; thanks Manda! I feel so official now.

If you want to, you can copy and paste the code for it and add it to your blog. If you have blogger, you just
  1. Go to layout > Add Gadget
  2. Then you click on HTML/Java Script
  3. Then copy and paste the code in!
When people click on the button, it will take them to this blog. So there you have it if you want it.


McKenna Baby Summary: Week 43

May I first take a moment to lament that my baby will soon turn 10 months old? Double diget months?!?!?! I just love every minute of her baby life. I know, I know. The future will have much fun. Enjoy the moment. Yes, I know. But I am taking my moment to lament. Okay, moving on.

Things are still going well and we are nursing 4 times a day.

Things didn't really change here this week. I did notice that her little pincer grasp is perfect now. She uses her little index finger and thumb to daintily pick food up.

She started to get some eczema signs on her forearms this week. I had her in a short sleeved shirt and she is an army crawler, so that might have aggravated the skin and caused a little flare up. I think another contributor is that it is hard for me to lotion that area of her body. She doesn't like her arms held still while I lotion, so I don't always do a great job of it.

Well, not anymore! This is one of those things where you have to do what is best for your child even when she doesn't like it. I put hydrocortizone cream on her forearm morning and night for a couple of days as well as lotion, and her skin is back to great now. She is also protesting the lotioning less, though she is still furrowing her brow at me while I hold her arm still. McKenna is a wiggly child.

We are still in the weaning process and have no significant changes this week.

McKenna has a fun new thing where she waves to me every time I go to get her up if she is already awake. Little things like this just make me love this time in a baby's life.

She was great wtih independent playtime this week, but I forgot to write a couple of weeks ago that she started protesting it. I just kept at it with a shorter time period. I also started having her listen to children's hymns while playing. She once again loves it and doesn't complain at all. For now.

8:15 AM--wake, nurse, solids (prunes or peaches/apricots and oatmeal). This is when we do a bath and independent playtime.

10:00 AM--nap

12:30 PM--wake, nurse, solids (green veggie and applesauce. Sometimes mix with blueberries or cherries).

2:10 PM--nap

4:30 PM--wake, nurse, solids (yellow veggie and bananas or pears).

5:30ish PM--dinner with family. Finger foods and what we are having.

6:45 PM--nap. Some nights, she stays up until 7:00. Since most of this week included this nap, I am including it in our schedule.

7:45ish PM--wake, nurse, PJs, story, bed

On nights we dropped the third nap, we did:

7:15-7:30 PM--nurse, PJs, story, bed.



The Gist of Babywise

I really wish I could take what I have learned over the last 4.5 years and transfer it into your head, but that isn't the way life works. I will attempt to share with you my view of the gist of Babywise. You might not really get it until you have more than one child and a 4 year old, but I shall try!

The Gist of Babywise
I see and hear lots of comments about how "Babywise" something is or how much or little people follow Babywise. Here is the thing; it really isn't about that. It isn't a list of dos and don'ts. It isn't a ratings scale (from one to ten, how Babywise are you?). It really isn't even a program.

So what is it then? Simply put, it is a lifestyle. When you get to know the why of what you are doing, you don't reference the book to "tell you what to do" with your baby. It just all comes naturally. You don't worry and stress out about meeting that sleeping through the night goal by 7-8 weeks because "the book says that is the norm." You know and can tell baby is headed in that direction and these night wakings will soon be a distant memory. You also know that if your baby starts sleeping through at 14 weeks instead, that is fine. No problem.

This doesn't mean you have to follow Babywise principles with an "all or nothing" approach. I think that in just about any parenting book you read, there will be things you agree with and things you don't agree with. There will be things you will do and things you will think, "not for me." I think the only way you would agree with something 100% is if you wrote it yourself--and in a couple of years, you will likely find things you disagree with!

I try to stress over and over the theory of Babywise on this blog. My theory posts are never as popular as my "how-to" posts. I hope you are reading the theory just as much as the how-to. Once you really understand the theory, you won't have to stress so much over the how-to. You will be more flexible. You will be more relaxed. You will not stress over every little "set-back." I am reading a delightful parenting book right now that has nothing to do with Babywise, but she does talk about why vs. how. She says "If you don't know the why, the how will not be nearly as effective" (The Parenting Breakthrough page 5). I absolutely love that quote. I could ramble on for an entire post based on that quote alone.

So what is the gist of Babywise? The premise? The abstract? The basics? The bare theory? Let's put things simply, chapter by chapter. Here is a list of each chapter, my personal abstract of each chapter, and my thoughts on each chapter. These are my personal viewpoints on each chapter; what each idea means to me.

Chapter One: Family
The gist of this chapter is that your baby joins a family. You should not bring your baby home and have everything revolve around the baby. Maintaining your other relationships is important.

The Gist of BabywiseThis doesn't mean, however, that you cart baby around with you while you live life precisely as it was before baby was born. Once baby was born, the dynamics of the family changed. The family needs to adapt to the baby as much as the baby needs to adapt to being here. Probably more. There do need to be sacrifices by everyone.

Dad needs to chill out and realize that Mom has a lot to take care of with the new addition. He needs to be an adult and accept that the focus he used to receive won't be the same.

Mom, on the other hand, can't let baby completely take over her mind. She needs to nurture her relationship with Dad. There will be times she will need to sacrifice even more sleep to spend some time with Dad.

Siblings need to accept that there is now another person taking up their parent's attention. My kids have always done fine with this. Parent's need to learn to balance all siblings needs. No one sibling needs to sacrifice everything for the other. This means baby doesn't need to sacrifice stability so big brother can meet all of his social engagements. But it also means big brother doesn't need to give up all of his activities so baby can sleep. Big brother will miss some activities. Baby will take some naps on the go. Overall, my view is that baby needs to sleep a lot for a short period of time, so I think more give can be from the older sibling initially. As baby gets older, things will even out more.

There will also be extended family issues. These can be the hardest to deal with; I see a lot of questions about it. I will be blunt. My basic feeling on it is that extended family (such as grandparents) are adults and can act like it. They can relinquish some of their selfishness and allow the parents to do what is best for the individual baby. This doesn't mean baby's life is never disrupted by family, but it does mean that family can be mature about it and have some patience and understanding.

Chapter Two: Feeding
The premise of feeding with Babywise is that you use Parent Directed Feeding (PDF). You work to establish feedings every 2.5-3 hours initially and try to stabilize metabolism. Let me stress (as the book does): You always feed baby when baby is hungry. The clock does not rule your life. If baby is hungry, you feed baby.

If and when your baby has a growth spurt and wants to eat every two hours instead, you do it! You don't worry about ruining what you have accomplished so far. Don't fight growth spurts. Feed your baby as needed. Things will get back to normal again.

Chapter Three: Sleep
Sleep is important for babies. They need to sleep. You need to have regular naps for your child throughout the day. Provide that opportunity for your child. Feed your child, play with your child, then let the child sleep. Then do it all over again. You also want to move toward your baby sleeping on her own. She falls asleep and stays asleep on her own.

Will there be times she has a hard time going to sleep? Yes. There will. It won't ruin things for you to help her out at those times.

With newborns, I have a hierarchy with sleep. Most important is that baby sleeps when baby should sleep. Second is that your baby falls asleep on her own. Third is that she stays in her bed and makes it through a transition on her own.

Chapter Four: Feeding
This chapter discusses breastfeeding. There are a couple of important things to take away from this chapter. One is that for the first two weeks, you do not need to stress and worry about any "rules." Just feed your baby as needed in order to establish supply. For some, this will be every time baby asks for it. For others, you will have to rouse your baby to feed her every 2.5 to 3 hours. This chapter then goes into bottle feeding.

I love the thought on page 61 that says guilt or quest for approval is never in line with clear thinking. When deciding how to feed your baby, make the decision based on what you think is best for your baby--not what anyone else thinks. I think it is great to get input from other people. It can help you make a more educated decision. But ultimately, make sure the decision is yours.

Another thing I loved was the thought on pages 64-65 that says no matter what theory you subscribe to or what you call it, it is always parent directed. The parent is always deciding.

Chapter Five: Monitoring Growth
This chapter talks about monitoring growth. I don't care how you feed your baby and what theory you use, you should monitor your baby's growth. If this wasn't important, I don't think pediatricians would do it. Watch diaper output. Watch for contentment in your child. Watch for appropriate growth. No matter what philosophy you follow, monitor your baby's growth.

Here is something important for you to note. Page 95 says that if you have a low weight-gain baby, seek your pediatrician's advice on how often to feed. This means you listen to your doctor.

Chapter Six: Establishing Your Baby's Routine
This chapter discusses establishing a routine with your baby. It talks about different lifestyles and how to apply the theories of the book based on your personal lifestyle. It talks about flexibility. Then comes the part that I reference more than any other part of the book. The "milestones." Lists of what babies typically do when, and what you can do to perpetuate these milestones.

What are some key notes here? Page 107--wakefulness is a goal to strive toward. Your newborn will not be awake after every feeding immediately. It takes time and effort.

Another is on flexibility. True flexibility is not a lack of routine, but a temporary deviation from normal (page 110). I think the idea of flexibility can be hard for new moms to fully grasp. Don't worry. Flexibility within context gets easier as you come to understand theory better.

Chapter Seven: Waketime and Naptime
As the title of the chapter suggests, this chapter talks about waketime and naptime activities and norms for different ages.

Here is a very important piece of information to take from this chapter. Getting your baby to sleep through the night is not the final goal in parenting. But it is a right beginning (page 134).

Chapter Eight: When Your Baby Cries
This chapter talks about babies and crying. It talks about ways to respond to crying. It talks about reasons for crying, and it discusses what to do to help stop the crying if possible (some crying, like witching hour, might be able to be alleviated some with some babies, but not really "stopped").

All babies cry. The trick here is to respond to the "why" of the cry, not just the fact that baby is crying. Attending to the why truly helps baby (page 139).

Another great point in this chapter in relation to sleep training is that your goal is not to teach baby not to cry, it is to teach baby to sleep (page 148).

Chapter Nine: Colic, Reflux, and the Inconsolable Baby
This chapter is new to this version of the book. I love it. It talks about these three issues and gives stories of moms who have been through it. I think it is a very encouraging chapter on what to do and assures moms you won't be ruining baby for life when making adjustments as needed for these babies.

Here are my favorite points from this chapter. Nobody knows baby like the parents do (page 159). Trust yourself. This chapter also says that Babywise is most beneficial to colic and reflux babies. I found this to be true with Kaitlyn! She did great with Babywise. Yes, we had adjustments we made to tailor to her specific circumstances, but she really benefited from the routine feedings.

The authors point out that some days will go great and others will require that you focus on the overall picture rather than that day (page 172). What great advice! We all have good days and bad days.

Now for one of my favorite lines in the entire book. It is okay if baby doesn't follow the book exactly--no baby does (page 168). It is impossible for a book of 252 pages to cover every possible stumbling block along the way for one child, much less all children. This is a key reason as to why it is a good idea to get to understand the why behind what you are doing. That way, you can realize what is best, normal, and okay for your individual child.

And another great one: you are not competing with anyone (page 168). Not your friend, not your neighbor, not the baby outlined in the book, not my baby, not your older one. This isn't a race or competition.

Chapter Ten:  Multiple Birth
This chapter is on multiples, which of course I have no experience with :) There are a lot of great little tidbits in this chapter even if you don't have multiples.

One great tip is that playpen time (independent play) becomes a time of refuge for multiples (page 187). This is also true for siblings. I think one reason Kaitlyn loves independent playtime is so she can go in her room by herself and just do what she wants to without her brother telling her how to do it, where to stand, and what to say ;).

Chapter Eleven: Problem Solving
This chapter takes you through common issues and the process of solving those issues. This chapter can help teach you how to problem solve yourself. It give some logical guidelines for what to consider at different ages.

There are some important things to note here. Jaundice babies usually need to nurse more often (typically every two hours). Page 192 says to do that if needed.

Also note the times that the book says to feed baby when hungry. It doesn't matter why--if baby is hungry, you feed baby.

Chapter Twelve: Parenting Potpopourri
Don't let the random mod podge of categories in this chapter fool you--this chapter is full of valuable information.

Chapter Thirteen: Principles for Starting Late
I would guess there are a lot of parents out there who start Babywise late for their first Babywise baby. This chapter helps give you some basic starting points to get going.

A great point no matter what age you start--start with day first (page 230). Once the day is in place, the night usually follows.

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Product Review: MD Designs--Prize Claimed--Giveaway Closed

Item: Leg Warmers for Babies (with optional bow or hat and bracelet)
Company: MD Designs
Website: MD Designs
Contact: Melanie

I think you will love these. Melanie creates these kits for babies and toddlers. For boys, you will get some leg warmers and a matching crocheted hat. For the girls, you get leg warmers, a matching headband/bow combination, and a matching bracelet. You can also buy leg warmers alone. Here is Melanie's story:

"These little leg warmer kits came about when my sister introduced me to a great tutorial on how to make leg warmers from socks. I ran to my stash and cut up anything I thought I could spare. Now every time I go to a store I have to check out their sock selection. My husband teases me about it, but I can't help it. I'm addicted to socks!

But I couldn't stop with just socks. I decided that my daughter also needed a matching bow and bracelet to go with her super cute leg warmers. She wears them quite often and always gets compliments on how cute she looks. People kept telling me that I should sell my kits. I thought that was a pretty good idea since my little girl has a ton of these kits already and I keep wanting to make more! :)

So I started an Etsy site to try and sell my stuff. It's fun to be able to make as many of these as I want knowing that somebody out there will fall in love with them. Hopefully you guys will enjoy these kits as much as I have."

I have to tell you that Melanie is my sister-in-law, but I think you will agree that her stuff is adorable no matter who she is related to :). Since I know her personally, I can tell you that she is definitely honest and you can trust her completely. I also know how amazingly crafty she is--your products will be quality. She is a hard worker who will put as much time and effort into making your prodcuts as she would her own.

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Become a follower of this blog, then leave a comment saying you did so. If you already are a follower, comment saying you already are. You can be a follower via the blog or via facebook.

Sample Entry
Hi! I am already a follower!

For your second entry:
Go to Melanie's Etsy shop, come back here, and leave a comment telling us the description of your favorite kit she makes (hint: if you mouse over the kit, an alt tag will pop up giving you a description, so you don't even have to come up with it on your own).

Sample Entry
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For your third entry:
Blog about this giveaway and MD Designs. Once you have done so, come here and leave a comment saying you blogged it and leave a link to the post (hint: to blog, you need to have a blog).

Sample Entry
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  • You must leave a comment in order to have an entry. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. This is not so I can get lots of comments--it is because it makes it a million times easier to choose a winner. It takes less time, and less time is good.
  • You don't have to do all three entries...for example, if you just want to blog about it but don't want to do one or two, you can just do entry three.
  • One entry per comment.
  • Up to three entries per person.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count.
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM Friday, January 29 Mountain Standard Time.
  • The winner will be randomly selected at
  • The winner will be announced Saturday, January 30.
Good luck to you all!

If you would like me to review an item of yours, please go to the post Product Reviews and follow the instructions there.

And The Winner Is...

The winner of our giveaway from KnottedWear is...

Mama Tully!

Please email to claim your prize!

You have until January 29 or we will choose a new winner.

Thanks for playing!

Giveaway--Last Day To Enter!

This is a friendly reminder that today is your last day to enter for a chance to win something from KnottedWear! If you have no idea what I am talking about, or you do and want to enter, see this post. You can enter until 11:59 tonight MST!

Reader Babywise Questions

  • CTGirl said... I am due at the end of March with my first baby and have just read BW. I was wondering if you have a sample schedule for a newborn and how early you recommend starting BW on an infant. Thank you.
    February 26, 2008 6:31 PM
    Plowmanators said... Congratulations on your new baby! Be prepared to need to read the book a few times once the baby actually comes (not necessarily from cover to cover, but you will refer to it often). I really think the best time to start is from birth, just like the book outlines. You spend the first week concentrating on feeding, and then at one week old you start with the whole thing. But you can start slowly. My daughter was a sleepy baby. We had to work on one waketime per week. It took her several weeks before she could stay awake for every waketime. Here was our original eating schedule: 7:30-10:30-1:00-4:00-6:30-9:00-Then she had two night wakings.

    After a few weeks, it switched to this: 7:30-10:00-1:00-4:00-6:30-8:30 and two night wakings. She first dropped one night waking, then the other. Please ask away as you prepare and once you get your little one here!
    February 26, 2008 8:57 PM

    CTGirl said... Thank you. This is very helpful. When did your daughter drop the first and then second night feeding?
    February 27, 2008 6:13 PM
    Plowmanators said... She dropped one around 8 weeks. I couldn't get her to do a "dreamfeed." Ideally, she would have had a final feeding at 10:30 or 11:00 PM, but she wouldn't wake up and eat no matter what I did. So at 8 weeks, she dropped one night feeding, and that took her down to 7 feedings a day. The other night feeding was dropped between 3-4 months? Probably closer to 4. At that point, the feedings had extended to the point that 8:30 was now 9:30. I think that helped. When your baby is a newborn, 8 weeks feels like an eternity. But it gets better, and now at 10 months, I think 8 weeks is nothing. :) February 28, 2008 10:09 AM

    See these posts for more sample schedules

    Sample Schedules :

    Sample Schedules: One Year and Up :
  • mommytogirls said...
    I love your website and recently saved it as my homepage. I have used the concepts addressed in Babywise with both my girls and just ordered Preschoolwise--and will continue to follow what is suggested. Your dedication to maintaining this site is phenomonal! I appreciate it so much, as I am sure others do too.I didn't take the time to look at entries from over a month ago, so I thought I would just ask. Have you addressed what to say when people comment on your happy baby or that your baby is sleeping through the night or that she is on a schedule? I know the book says to take credit for it, but how do we do that without sounding like we "know it all" or "have all the answers"? What are some things we could say that would sum up Babywise in just a few sentences? Just yesterday someone asked and I found myself babbling and I think I lost them...but really they would benefit so much from this parenting philosophy.Respond whenever you have a chance...mommytogirls
    March 19, 2008 1:08 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Mommytogirls,Thanks! As to your question, I usually just say thanks. :) If they ask what I do, my answer is dependent on how much time I have and how interested I think they are. Some things I think are key to note are that they are on a consistent schedule. They eat and sleep at regular intervals. They have independent play. You could say, "Oh, thanks. I follow the principles of Babywise, so my kids have a consistent schedule. They have things regular naps and independent playtime, so those things really help them to be good. You know, kids are always better behaved when they are well rested (just like adults)."
    March 20, 2008 10:27 AM
    mommytogirls said...
    Thank you so much! I have said similar things, but recently it seems more people are asking (I think because they have children the same ages and there are clear differences). Again, I love your site!
    March 20, 2008 1:05 PM

Salina said...
Have you read toddlerwise too? I haven't picked it up yet, and wondered when it's time. I know the Babywise II book goes to 15 months. My son is almost 9 months.
January 8, 2008 1:39 PM

Plowmanators said...
Yes, I have read Toddlerwise (several times!). I have also ready Preschoolwise and will next ready Childwise. BW II does go to 15 months, but Toddlerwise starts at 12 months. There is some overlap, and that is true of all the books. One overlaps with two, etc. I would recommend getting it at around 11 months so you can mentally prepare yourself for anything new you want to implement. Oh wow, my daughter is almost 9 months also. She is getting so old! Sniff!
January 8, 2008 1:53 PM

Five Love Langauges: Children Need To Feel Love

Do you love your children? My guess (my hope) is that the answer by everyone reading this is a resounding yes. Of course! Of course you love your children. How could you not?

Now, have you ever known anyone to believe their parents didn't love them. Did you ever think that? Did you/do you have a friend who thought that? Why is it that some children believe their parents don't love them? Parents who provide for the child and try to be there? Parents who make an honest effort at doing all they can and think is best for their child? Looking at it logically, basically all parents out there really love their children. So why do some feel unloved?

I think the answer comes back to a point made by Kevin Leman in Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours: The only reality that matters to your child is what they view to be real. In The Five Love Languages of Children, Chapman and Campbell point out that only children who feel loved can do their best. You loving them isn't enough; the need to feel it.

Some of you might be thinking, "well, if I love them, then they should feel it." Unfortunately, children don't get the "should" memo. Your job as the parent is to discover how your child feels love and work to show your love in that way.

For some parent/child combinations, this will be easy. For others, it will mean the parent will have to practice a new language. I see this example easily in my family. Kaitlyn definitely has a high need for physical affection. My husband is a very physically affectionate guy who loves to cuddle. Kaitlyn easily feels loved by him through his actions. I, however, am extremely not a physically affectionate person. It doesn't come naturally to me. I have to make a conscience effort to make sure I give Kaitlyn the physical affection she needs from me.

The Five Love Languages of Children talks about the five different love languages and how to figure out what is primary for your child. It also has many great examples of how to express love in that way, which is great for people who need help with certain languages.

The authors caution, however, that you cannot know for a certainty what the primary love language is for children under five (page 27). They say you just can't tell. I think you can get a good idea, but I agree that you don't know for sure. So what does that mean for children under five? I think most of us reading this blog have children under five. What do we do?

We make an effort to show love in all five languages. This book says over and over that you want to teach your child to be multilingual with love--meaning the show and understand love in all five languages. Think of what a great benefit this will be to them throughout life! They will understand love in every way shown, which means they will always feel love from their spouse. They will show love in every way, which means their spouse and children will always feel loved! What a great gift!

Even if you think you know your child's primary love language, that doesn't mean you should ignore the rest. The primary love language means it is primary--not the only. Give tender touch. Speak supporting words. Spend quality time. Give gifts (gifts don't need to cost money). Do acts of service.

During the early months, take great care to show love to your child. I think this is pretty easy. A baby can't move anywhere on her own, so you carry her everywhere. Those cheeks are irresistible, so you kiss them over and over. She is constantly meeting new milestones, which brings much praise and admiration from all around her. You can't help but spend a lot of time with her throughout each day. Plus, you know that she will only be awake a short while, so it is easy to devote chunks of time to playing with her. She receives gift after gift--especially considering that she needs a new wardrobe every three months. Then everyone around her does nothing but serve her because she is unable to do much of anything for herself.  Yes, babies should feel great love. Here are some quotes to motivate you to be sure to show it:

"A great deal of research indicates that the emotional foundation of life is laid in the first eighteen months of life, particularly in the mother/child relationship" (page 23). During these months, be sure to offer physical touch, kind words, and tender care. Like I said, I think it is quite natural to fulfill this; if it isn't for you, you can work on it! You can always do better.

"During the next several years, the child's ability to express love increases, and if he continues to receive love, he will increasingly give love" (page 23).

"The foundation of love laid in the early years affects a child's ability to learn and largely determines when she is able to grasp new information" (page 23).

Making sure your child feels loved by you won't make it so life is perfect and your family will float off into some happily ever after. This is real life :) But you will be in a happier ever after than you would have otherwise been.

So let's all make an effort to make sure our children feel our love. Yes, we need to feel it. Yes, we need to show it. Most importantly, we need to make sure our children feel it. If not, humble yourself and think of additional ways to show love.

Like I said in a previous post, this is a great book. I really think every parent should read it. I really do. Of all the parenting books I have ever read, I think this is the only one I believe every parent should read. It doesn't matter what your main philosophy is. Whether you are an attachment parent, Babywise parent, or one of your own design, this book will apply to you.


Diapers At Night

Once our little ones are sleeping through the night, we love Huggies Overnites for keeping them dry. 
Sometimes, your little one will start waking in the night all because of a diaper. The diaper will be overly wet, making your baby uncomfortable and unable to sleep. This can happen even in the young newborn months. Sometimes you child will get so wet he will leak through and get his clothes all wet. I always hated that the most because not only did you have a diaper change, but a wardrobe change as well, which really wakes baby up. Here is how I avoid diaper issues at night.

First, I keep a couple pairs of pajamas on the changing table at night just in case I need them. Diaper leaks are going to happen despite your best efforts, and it seems they happen much more often with boys. The change of clothes makes it easier on everyone because you don't have to turn on the light and search through a drawer all while holding a crying baby. I do this until baby dosen't wake up wet anymore on a pretty regular basis.

In order to prevent nighttime leaking, I always change the diaper at the dreamfeed until baby sleeps from dreamfeed to desired waketime. The more baby eats, the more baby pees. By changing the diaper at the dreamfeed, I usually don't have to change the diaper at the night feed if there is just one. However, in the first few weeks, I change the diaper at every single feeding.

If you have a sleepy newborn, changing the diaper between sides or halfway through the bottle can help rouse baby to hopefully take a full feed. If your baby is completely roused by a diaper change, do it before you start the feeding so you can put a sleepy baby back in bed rather than a wired baby.

I like to do this because I am already up with baby. This way, baby will hopefully only wake when hungry without adding wet and cold to the mix.

At night, I put the next diaper size up on baby if baby is close enough to the upper weight limit of the diaper. Let me explain in case that is confusing.

Say baby is wearing size one diapers during the day. Say size one diapers are for 8-12 pound babies. While baby is 8-9 pounds, I leave baby in size one for the night. A diaper too large will cause leaks more often than one that is the right size.

But pretty soon baby is 10-11 pounds. Baby is still in size one range, but very close to size two range. At this point, I put baby in size two just at night.

This works very well to keep baby comfortable. And a great thing is that you won't be wasting diapers because your baby will be in a size two some day (believe it or not).

I also hear from a lot of parents who say they love Huggies Overnights, so that is an alternative option to the larger size at night. We love them, also. We often go one size up and in the overnights if the baby is a super peer at night :)

Remember to put your favorite diaper ointment on your baby's bottom at that last diaper change of the night to protect the skin. I have tried several, and my top three are Boudreaux's Butt Paste, Lansinoh Diaper Ointment, and Burt's Bees Diaper Ointment. The Lansinoh and Burt's Bees worked best on McKenna with eczema. The Butt Paste was great on Brayden and Kaitlyn--who had normal skin.

If you cloth diaper, then you will have to figure out what works best for night time. I am sure you can find info on the internet (or someone can leave a comment with info! :) ). I have heard from a reader that she put extra absorbency packets in? I don't really know anything about cloth diapering, so I am sorry I can't share good info. If one of you has tips, please share!

Hopefully these tips can help you and your baby to sleep well through the night :) If anyone has additional tips, please add them!


McKenna Baby Summary: Week 42

Things are still going well and we are nursing 4 times a day.

This week, I did something I never did with either of my other children before age one: I gave her meat. We had BBQ chicken sandwiches. The chicken was very, very tender and we had shredded it up, so I have her a bite. And she loved it! She wanted more and more.

I have been much more adventurous about offering McKenna a variety of foods. With my other kids, I thought they would prefer more bland flavor and I worried about them getting hooked on flavorful foods and ignoring the less flavorful foods. This time around, I am just trying to let her try everything we eat that is safe for her to eat.

He skin is still great. We have gone down to lotioning once a day instead of twice. My friend is a lactation consultant and RN. She told me about a new study on vitamin D3 that found it helped minimize (or totally eliminate) eczema. She said if I took it, it would get to McKenna through my breastmilk. So I gave it a shot.

Two weeks later (it takes some time because it is fat soluble), my skin is softer than ever (I don't have eczema, but do have dry skin)! And McKenna no longer needs to be lotioned twice a day!

Another bonus of D3 is that it will increase the fat content of your milk! Talk to your doctor if you would like to try this.

We are still in the weaning process. She has it some days and not others. She rarely can go two days in a row without. She usually is on an every other day schedule.

The Baby Whisperer talks about starting early potty training at 9 months. She says to eat, sit baby on potty, then play. This helps baby learn to potty on the potty.

For Brayden and Kaitlyn, the biggest obstacle with potty training was just figuring out how to pee/poop in the potty (we are still working on pooping with Kaitlyn). It is a new way of doing things. So I thought I would give it a try.

Well, that is a no go. I did it on one potty chair and McKenna really cried like I have never heard before. I gave it a couple of days and tried on a different potty chair. Still a no. She was terrified--and it was just a little potty chair. So we won't be doing that for a while :)

McKenna is still taking baths in her little tiny tub. I tried moving her to sitting in the big tub, and she was so scared! It is so weird. I even tried it one day with Kaitlyn in the tub. I am not sure what it is, but maybe she doesn't like sitting on things with a bare bottom (related to the potty chair). I don't think it is a fear of the tub itself because I always put her little tub in the big tub. She just prefers to take her bath that way.

McKenna's second tooth is close to making its appearance. She has handled it better than she did last time. I can tell it bothers her, and she will be a bit more fussy during playtime sometimes, but naps are not disrupted in the least.

I have to tell you about a really great teething toy. At Christmas, I was trying to figure out a good gift for McKenna. She is our third child and second girl, so we have lots of stuff for her already. But I still wanted to give her some gifts. We got some books, which she loves. But what else? I searched Amazon and found Sophie the Giraffe. I was looking at their best seller list. Sophie is number one and has been in the top 100 for over a year. It has 444 reviews and a rating of 4.5 of 5 stars. I wondered what it was about this toy. It had great reviews. So I tried it.

She loves it! Really, really loves it. It is easy to hold, light, and soft. It squeaks and is a great teether. I very highly recommend it.

8:15 AM--wake, nurse, solids (prunes or peaches/apricots and oatmeal)

10:00 AM--nap
12:30 PM--wake, nurse, solids (green veggie and applesauce. Sometimes mix with blueberries or cherries).
2:10 PM--nap
4:30 PM--wake, nurse, solids (yellow veggie and bananas or pears).
5:30ish PM--dinner with family. Finger foods and what we are having.
6:45 PM--nap. Some nights, she stays up until 7:00. Since most of this week included this nap, I am including it in our schedule.
7:45ish PM--wake, nurse, PJs, story, bed
On nights we dropped the third nap, we did:

7:15-7:30 PM--nurse, PJs, story, bed.



Child Spacing

I have gotten several questions over the years about my thoughts on spacing between children. Several people have asked for a post on here it is! So the questions is, what is the best spacing for your children?

The answer is, you have to figure that out! I don't think there is one right spacing for every family out there. There are so many factors to consider, and a lot of those factors are depended on your individual personalities as parents. There are also individual circumstances to consider.

In the end, I think it is best to make this a matter of prayer. But I also think it is right to gain information on a topic so you are well-informed as you approach the Lord in prayer. So, here are my personal thoughts on child spacing.

My children have come a little less than two years apart. Brayden and Kaitlyn are 22 months apart. Kaitlyn and McKenna are 23 months apart. I really like this gap. Here are some reasons:
  • Stay in the Groove: I am the type of person who likes to stay in the groove of what I am doing. Having my kids in this age range helps me keep in that groove of taking care of babies.
  • Less of  a Shock: I think that having my children with this gap provides less of a shock to my system in regards to "freedom." When you have a baby, you have a lot less freedom. I think for me, going from a 3 or 4 year old then back to baby life would be more challenging mentally than a nearly 2 year old. But I think there are people out there who will do better with more of a break between baby life. It will recharge their batteries.
  • Best Friends: I think after viewing Brayden and Kailtyn's relationship with each other, this is my number one reason I like my children close in age. Brayden and Kaitlyn are best friends. When Kaitlyn was born, Brayden really had no interest in playing with her, which is good because she couldn't :) He liked to look at her, but he wasn't wondering when she was going to play with him. As she got older, he would naturally start to play with her. By the time she was one, he was ready for a friend and she was able to be one--in a baby way. Today, at 4.5 and 2.5, they have such a great time together. They are close enough in age to be interested in similar activities and they have so much fun.

    When McKenna was born, Kaitlyn had great interest in her and wanted to hold her all the time. Brayden was anxious for McKenna to play with them and would often ask, "Will she be ready next week?" As she has grown, they have both come to realize that it takes time. As she gets more interactive and able to crawl, they get more excited.
  • Similar Stages: With my children 2 years apart, they are in pretty similar stages. There is obviously a big difference between a 4 year old and 2 year old, but they can do similar activities. When we do learning activities, we can usually do them together with slight modifications as age appropriate. Brayden and Kaitlyn now enjoy similar shows, similar music, and similar activities.
  • Life Is Simple: A two year old doesn't have a lot going on outside the home, so it keeps things simple for the baby at home. There isn't a lot of running around necessary. A two year old doesn't have social needs outside the home; the family is enough. Not that having playdates and going to the park every so often is bad, but it isn't a necessity like with older children.
  • Nap for You: You can get naps in much easier with a two year old than with an older child. Older children take shorter naps, if they take them at all. I found opportunity for a nap for me much more consistently with the two year spacing than with a baby and a four year old.
As with all things, there are cons with this spacing. Here are the ones I see:
  • Can Be Hard: A two year old is still very much in need of your care. For me, this is good because I am staying in my groove, like I said above. For some, this might make baby life more overwhelming. You do have fewer breaks than you might if the older sibling were older.
  • Diapers: You might have two in diapers if you go two years apart. This could be undesirable for some. I actually don't mind changing diapers (strange, right?), so this really didn't bother me.
  • Leave All At Once: This is many years down the road, but I think it is worthy of consideration. The closer your children are in age, the faster you will suddenly become an empty nester. I do think that will be a challenge.
Brayden and McKenna are just about four years apart, so here are some pros and cons with this gap. I am taking the two year old in the middle of them out of the equation--pretending that there are just Brayden and McKenna. First, the good.
  • More Independent: A four year old can't do everything for himself, but he can do a lot. He goes to the bathroom by himself. He can get simple food for himself if needed. He puts his clothes on by himself. He can be trusted with things more than a two year old. This can make the overall load of newborn life a little lighter.
  • Helper: A four year old can really help with things. You can definitely have a two year old help where she can, but a four year old can help with things well enough that you don't need to feel the need to go over it when he is in bed. He can sweep, entertain the baby, help with dishes, vacuum...he is old enough to be contributing to helping with things around the house. He is moving out of the practice and learning stage and entering the "wow, that really helped" stage.
  • Different Worlds: There will be years when they will play fine together, but there will also be many they are in very different stages. Brayden will play with McKenna (now 9 months), but it is very different than his play with Kaitlyn. My little sister and I are just two months closer in age than Brayden and Kaitlyn. We had many years as younger children that we played together and had fun, but then something interesting happened. I entered the teenage, "too cool for baby toys" (and everything else) stage while she still wanted to play with them. Then as I was getting over myself, she was getting into the "too cool" teenage stage.
  • Long Time: If Brayden was just waiting for McKenna to be old enough to be a real playmate, he would be pretty old before he got it.
  • Busier Life: Life with a preschooler is a lot busier than life with a toddler. You need to get out more, and you might have activities like Preschool or sports activities you attend.
Those are some thoughts on spacing I have experience with. In the end, there are good points and bad points to any situation. You can learn to minimize the cons and maximize the pros of whatever spacing you end up with.

I have heard from and know moms with a wide variety of spacing, from 10 months to 10 years (and more). I have heard of moms who love 18 months, moms who love 3 years, moms who love 5 years...I also remember thinking once Brayden hit about 19/20 months old that a new baby would have been pretty easy at that point. 18 months would have been hard for us because 18 months old was Brayden's hardest time period behaviorally. It would have been difficult to deal with that and throw a newborn in the mix. But that was just him. Kaitlyn's hardest month was more like 20/21 months.

In your decision, you might also want to consider how many children you think you might want. I know lots of families who like to do their first two close in age, then take a little break and do the next two close in age. Of course, the number of children you end up having will likely be different than what you initially might think.

In the end, you can't see into the future so you don't know what life will be like. You can take your best guess, but that is all it is, a guess. That is why I think it is best to take this matter to the Lord. Get to know your child(ren), your family, and yourself and decide what you think is best for you all, then pray about it. Good luck with your decision!

Please feel free to share the spacing of your children, along with your favorite things and the hard things.


White Noise

Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine--this is the sound machine we use
Many moms wonder if it is okay for them to use white noise. They of course are concerned over sleep props and don't know if white noise is one, and if using noise will create sleep problems at some point.

We first started using white noise last year when Brayden was 3.5 and Kaitlyn was 1.5. It was purely accidental. We have dry winters and their skin was getting dry, so we put humidifiers in each bedroom. I realized it created some white noise for them, and I liked it! We have since started keeping a humidifier in each child's bedroom all year round.

I really, really, really, really (etc) wish I had thought to use white noise when Brayden was a baby. We lived in a house that we were remodeling, and there were no finished bedrooms. We all slept in the formal living room. We were basically living in a studio apartment. A humidifier next to his bed would have made it so I could move around more without waking him up. At about 6 months old, we finally realized we could move him into the bathroom, which was big enough we could put a crib in it and still have plenty of room. This made things much better, but white noise still would have been helpful.

Having the humidifier in McKenna's room has been really great. The other two children are able to be kids all day without me stressing out over them being noisy during nap time. I still teach them to be respectful of others while sleeping (something I wished some of my roommates in college would have learned!), and we have rules about inside and outside voices, but they can be kids in the house even while McKenna was asleep.

This wasn't a problem when Kaitlyn was a baby because Brayden just isn't a noisy person by nature. Plus, you get two kids together and you have a lot more noise than you do with just one child.

So how does McKenna sleep when there isn't white noise? She still sleeps just as well. We have power outages often. We also have gone camping. When we visit grandparents, we don't bring white noise with us usually (at Christmas, we took her humidifier to my parents because we were going to be eating right above the room she sleeps in...with a wood floor beneath our feet). When she doesn't have the white noise, she still sleeps just as well. She can fall asleep without it. She can stay asleep without it.

You can use lots of different things for white noise. There are Humidifiers. There are white noise machines (I have heard moms like DEX Products Sound Sleeper SS-01). There are tracks on iTunes or other sites where you buy your mp3s. You can get free tracks here: There are box fans (Lasko 3733 20-Inch Box Fan or Holmes #HABF120W White Pers Box Fan). Maybe the room baby is in has a ceiling fan. These are just a few examples--if you have a favorite, please share!

This is ultimately the way I see it. Sleep is important. Using white noise allows the noise of family members to be drown out. Then the family can move around normally and the child can sleep. When you visit family--let's face it, some of them are loud!--you can bring along white noise. Then you can relax and enjoy yourself rather than stress out about the noise going on.

Read Aloud Handbook Index