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Prepping Siblings For Baby

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I think a concern we have as we bring a new baby into our family is how will it impact our child(ren) who are already here? What will the new dynamic be? How can we best prep the child(ren) for the new arrival? Here are some ideas from me.

Keep Children Involved
Keep your children involved in knowing what is going on with the baby. Take them to appointments to hear the heartbeat and see the baby on ultrasounds. Help them feel baby move. If you are adopting, keep the children as aware of what is going on with the process as you feel comfortable with.

Talk About the Baby
Talk with your children about the baby. My kids always want to know how long she is and how much she weighs.How long until baby comes home? What is baby like in your womb? How does that compare to what your children were like in the womb? My children love to hear about how our baby moves around and how they moved around in the womb. We also look at pictures of me pregnant with them as well as sonogram pictures of them, and then look at pictures of the baby's sonogram.

I also framed a sonogram picture and put it up in the home. We also find out gender, so we refer to her as not only a girl, but by her name. If you do not find out gender, you can have your children guess and even put in ideas for possible names. 

Let Children Help Prepare
You will have preparations even if it is not your first baby. Help your children help with those preparations. When I was pregnant with McKenna, Brayden helped paint her room. You can have them help clean the nursery, sort baby clothes, wash baby clothes, go shopping, etc.

Have Children Give Gifts
I do this to hopefully stimulate a feeling of love for the baby. People love giving gifts. We went to the store and each child chose a gift for her. They will then give it to her when they first meet her. I think this helps ease any potential nerves that come with meeting the baby for the first time. 

Have Baby "Give" Gifts
One of my strongest memories from when my sister was born was the gift I got. I remember exactly what it was. That gift reminds me of my sister. Gift giving and gift receiving is a love language. 

In the end, don't stress it out. Children are resilient and will love having a new sibling even if they feel displaced for a bit. I find these things can help make the transition easier and they help give the children some sense of participation in the entire process.

What have you done to prepare your children for siblings?

Hospital Packing List

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It is major baby-prep week here for me. In fact, if this girl comes the same timing as my other two girls, she will come today. So this week I am posting all things baby and baby prep. Today is the hospital bag.

With Brayden, my first, I scoured every suggested list I could find and packed accordingly. After he was born, I realized we had way too much stuff and then amended my list. When Kaitlyn was born, we had it all just right. When McKenna came along, we went off of our perfected list, but her labor was so much longer that we realized we would have liked some things we had packed with Brayden. 

This is my current list of things I think I need for the hospital. What you will need will vary based on your own personal preferences and your hospital. My hospital seems to provide a lot of what is found on many lists, so I don't need to worry about it. If you are delivering in a hospital you have never delivered in, it would be a good idea to ask the hospital or a friend who has delivered there what to expect for your stay.

I would love to hear what you find essential for your hospital/birthing center/homebirth. Please share in the comments!

Essentials For Me
  • Scriptures
  • Phone
  • Phone charger
  • iPad
  • iPod
  • Book
  • Notebook and pen
  • Journal
  • Pillow
  • Earplugs
  • Toiletries
  • Underwear
  • PJ pants
  • Robe
  • Going home outfit
  • Boppy
  • Nursing bra
  • Lansinoh
  • Pump
  • Nursing pads
  • Camera
I have my entertainment items. My phone and various i-things along with my scriptures and a good book or two is more than enough to keep my mind entertained. My husband and I typically spend a lot of the time visiting with each other anyway, so I don't really need much. My notebook and pen are so I can keep notes of things that come to my mind. When I sit still, my mind starts planning. 

I love having my own pillow with me no matter where I am sleeping. I even took my own pillow to Hawaii. I sleep best with my own pillow, so it comes along. I also sleep best at the hospital with earplugs to block out any hospital noise. 

With Brayden, I didn't have my own PJ pants or a nursing bra. It was okay--I survived without it all, but by McKenna, I had those things with me and just liked it so much more. I like my hospital's gown just fine, but I like to have some pants on underneath and a robe is nice if you want to get up and wander about. 

I have always had a boppy for each child, and I love it. The lansinoh and nursing pads are not necessary--the hospital has them--but I bring mine along "just in case." In case of what? I am not sure. I just do. The pump is something I bring because my pump hooks up to the hospital's several-thousand-dollar electronic pumps. I can use those for free, but it will cost my insurance about 100-150 dollars if I don't bring my own pump along. 

The camera and going home outfit are obvious.

Oh, and let me just say, I shower every day at the hospital. I can never tell you enough how much I love to shower. Showering makes me happy.

Essentials For Husband
  • Scriptures
  • Phone
  • Book
  • Pillow
  • Toiletries
  • Clothes
  • Underwear
  • PJs

My husband is obviously a little less maintenance than I am, but hey, I am the one who just gave birth right? He has no breastfeeding issues going on (among other things).

Essentials For Baby
  • Carseat
  • Going home outfit
  • Blanket
  • Diaper bag
  • Finger nail clippers

This is really an area the hospital pretty much covers. I basically only need what I need for the drive home.

That is my list. What is on your list?

See also: What you should pack in your hospital bag for delivering a baby

Reader Favorites Day

This is the day to share your favorites in any of the following categories. It is great to hear from other moms about what products and toys they love! If you have a category of favorites you would like to see readers share about, leave a comment here requesting it.

Reader Blogs Day

Today is the day to share your blog with other Babywise moms! Here is a list of links to types of blogs. If you don't see your category there, put it in Misc. Blogs. If/when I get several in a similar category, I will make a separate post for it. 


  42 (27%)
  91 (58%)
  22 (14%)

Votes so far: 155 


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

Reader Sample Schedules Day

Today is Reader Sample Schedules day! I know from my blog stats that you all access these quite a bit. Please at least share where your child currently is--other moms love to see samples of what people are doing and variety helps. If you remember other stages, feel free to add to those too!

Here is what you do. Click on the link to the post you want to add a sample schedule to. Then add a comment with your sample schedule. Then future moms can come look at these sample schedules to get ideas for their babies and children! 

Reader Week 2012

Photo by Candid Memories
This is the week you readers get to contribute to help make the blog even better.

Tuesday we will have a Reader Sample Schedules day. I know how much you all love to look at the sample schedules on this blog. On this day, you will all be able to contribute your sample schedules. We will have posts for each age range as well as for multiple children. You can add your current schedule for whatever age group you are in, and you can also add past schedules if you remember them.

Wednesday is Poll Results day, so be sure you vote today and be sure you vote on the new poll Wednesday. Polls are a great resource for people to see what the majority does and also that there are minorities who do things differently. It helps guide people and helps people to not feel alone in the process.

Thursday is Reader Blogs Day. You will be able to share a link to your blog. This helps foster a great Babywise community!

Friday is Reader Favorites Day. On this day, you will be able to share your favorites in various baby products and toys. 

My intention is to add the comments into the main body of the post, but I haven't done that for all of the comments made last year, so look at comments and the body of the post to see what is there. Some day, I would love to have it all in the post, but it does take a lot of time so I do what I can with the time I have.

Let me take the opportunity to thank all of you. Thank you for your comments. I love to read the comments and love the feedback on what helps you in the posts. I like to know what is helpful to you. Feedback is great. I really appreciate them, even though I have never been able to get past that "two week behind" hump consistently since having a third child, I do get to every comment (I am notified of). Hopefully some day I can get on top of it...maybe...but who knows what a fourth child will do to me :)

Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and thanks for encouraging. Thank you for your patience through this pregnancy--it has been a rough one. The end is in sight! Of course my family comes first, but I do spend a lot of time on this blog. This whole blog is obviously done for you, so I hope you know I love and appreciate all of you! 

Let's Ask Auntie Anne {Giveaway}

Today's giveaway is brought to you in partnership with Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. They are giving away the Let's Ask Auntie Anne five book series. This series is different from their other parenting books. These books take on a narrative format with fictional characters. These characters turn to a wise, older woman, Auntie Anne, for parenting advice. The great thing is that Auntie Anne is not a fictional character, so the advice is sage and real.

The five books are:
  • How to Raise a Loving Child
  • How to Raise a Responsible Child
  • How to Raise a Secure Child
  • How to Raise a Trusting Child
  • How to Raise a Moral Child
As you can see, the topics are along the abstract line of thinking. Stories have a powerful way of teaching us (just think of how Jesus Christ taught--primarily through stories and parables). We can lay out facts, studies, and check-lists, but often stories are what reach our heart and help us really grasp a concept. That is a great thing about these books--they are an easy way to internalize the ideas behind each of these topics.

I also love that this series subtly teaches us the value in turning to those who have gone before us in parenting for advice. I love to sit and visit with older women and hear how they parented. They have a unique perspective and can see how things impacted their children as children, teenagers, adults, and parents. They understand the important things in life--what to sweat and what not to. There are always golden nuggets of wisdom in speaking with them. 

Today you can enter to win a copy of the Let's Ask Auntie Anne series! 

For Your First Entry: Become a follower of this blog. Then leave a comment. If you are already a follower (the thing where your cute face pops up with all the other cute faces of people following), comment telling me so. 

Sample Entry 
I am a follower!

For Your Second Entry: "Like" CFH Babywise and Beyond on Facebook. Comment saying you do!

Sample Entry
I "like" 
CFH Babywise and Beyond on Facebook!

For Your Third Entry:
Follow Babywise on Twitter (this is a way you can get a tweet of every post I publish!). Once you have done so, come back and comment saying you have done so. Include your twitter ID.

Sample Entry
I am following Babywise on Twitter! @valplowman

For Your Fourth Entry:
Free Entry! But you must enter.

Sample Entry
Entering for free!

For Your Fifth Entry:
Like Chronicles of a Babywise Mom on Facebook. Already do? Tell me so. Comment saying you like it.

Sample Entry
Hi! I like Chronicles of a Babywise Mom on Facebook! 

For Your Sixth Entry:
Blog, update your status, or tweet about this giveaway. Then comment saying you did so and which you did.

Sample Entry
I tweeted! @valplowman 

For Your Seventh Entry:
Share your favorite advice you have ever gotten from someone older and wiser than yourself.

Sample Entry
Enjoy the moments--they grow up so fast.

Entry Rules
  • You must leave a comment in order to have an entry.
  • You must 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. Plus, it makes sure I don't miss an entry.
  • You don't have to do all seven entries...for example, if you just want to follow this blog, you can just do entry one.
  • One entry per comment.
  • Up to seven entries per person.
  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will disqualify your entry. Trust me, I check.
  • Entries will be accepted until I choose the winner sometime August 3-4--we will see when the day comes what I do.
  • The winner will be randomly selected at
  • The winner will be announced Friday August 3 or Saturday August 4.
  • If you would like, you can add your email address to your entry. If you are the winner, I will email you to let you know. You do not need to add your email address in order to win. I understand not everyone wants to share their email addresses with the world. I will announce the winner on the blog, so you can check the blog Saturday to find out if you won.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time!
  • Open only to US mailing addresses.

Babywise Works Again and Again

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I stumbled across Babywise a few months after my first son was born in 2008. Dispite some of the negative comments I saw I decided to see for myself and read the book. I understood the concept but did not full grasp the idea of Babywise until I found your blog. Within a few weeks my once "wakeful' 2 month old was sleeping much better. Even when my mom would chastise me for "waking a sleeping baby" to keep him from over sleeping his schedule, I still felt it was going to work. My son started sleeping through the night after just a few weeks of Babywise and after a few months was easily going 12 hrs a night plus right on schedule for each nap. The best part was I knew exactly when he should be sleeping, eating or playing. I could plan my day around his schedule every day. I never fought with him for naps or bed time. Even now, at 4 years old he sleeps 10-12 hr a night and still takes a good 2-3 hr nap a day. It just works for us! So when I had Kt 2nd son in 2010 I quickly fished my babywise book out and again followed the plan. We got right back I to it and I was able to work baby #2 schedule with #1. He too is a great sleeper with no fuss at bed or maps. I just welcomed our daughter a few weeks ago into the world and yes, we are Babywising it again!! Of course I would have been lost without your blog. The book is great but your blog really ties it all together and answers my millions of questions!! So thank you for your dedication!!

Tania H

So Worth It!

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I'm not the most patient person in the world.  I have a plan and I want the plan to work when I want it to work.  God knew what I needed though and when I needed it.  It took 7 years of trying to conceive until we found out we were pregnant with our little girl.  Those years were heart-wretchingly painful at times.  You can imagine how ecstatic I was to see those two pink lines! 
When I was about 4 months pregnant, my sister-in-law told me about Babywise.  I got the book and read it like three times before my daughter was born.  I was familiar with the wake, eat, play, sleep routine, but the other information was new to me.  I drilled it into my brain to focus on getting full feedings the first two weeks.  And then I had my baby.  The rubber met the road.  And all that I learned seriously felt like it went out the window, except for focusing on getting full feedings.   The first two weeks were a dream and I would cry joyful tears knowing that we finally had our little one we waited so long for. But at 3 weeks she started to transition and I was still in my state of forgetfulness.  Suddenly, we were allowing her to be awake for hours and then we were wondering why she was so fussy.  One time we just let her fall asleep on the floor because that was the only place she would sleep.  Weeks 3-5 were tough; I was constantly doubting if she was getting enough to eat, she was fighting naps, and crying more.  But with all of that she slept very well at night, with some wakings for feedings, but she would go right back to sleep with no problem.  Finally, my brain turned back on and I realized I needed more of a routine and structure, so I got onto the Babywise discussion forum and found the support and help I needed to get on track.  Mostly I just read through other postings and maybe asked a question or two.  One of the most helpful bits of information I received was what an ideal wake time would be for my baby.  And I learned to look for the signs that she was ready for another nap.  Once we figured out sleep cues she was so much easier to put her down to sleep.  By 6 weeks we were learning so much about what it meant to put what we learned from Babywise into action, and right around that time she started sleeping longer stretches during the night.  It was wonderful!  But there were bumps along the way.  I'm a perfectionist and I like to "go by the book".  I had a hard time relaxing and going with the flow.  One night I realized that I was expecting my daughter to perform under my expectations.  I wish I would have been more flexible!  I remember crying because I realized I wasn't having these high expectations of my daughter.  It wasn't easy, but I realized that no day was going to be perfect and that all I could do was my best with what I knew to do.  I could have a plan, but I needed to be flexible when that plan changed.  And now my daughter is almost 11 months old and she sleeps like a dream for naps and night time.  I'm SO thankful!
The best thing about Babywise for me (besides my daughter sleeping through the night) has been the huge amount of support and help I have received from the Babywise community.  I really don't know where I would be without it.  Through the community I have learned what being flexible looks like.  I have seen other Babywise families with children of all ages and I have seen the hard work paying off.  It's SO worth it!  Yes, those first few months might be crazy, but it's all worth it.  Having a schedule and routine has done wonders for our family!  I wouldn't want it any other way!  Thank you, Babywise!

How Baby Wise Made Cancer Diagnosis Easier

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When we got the shocking news that our two (almost three) year old daughter had Leukemia, our second child was only 6 months old.  We were just getting past the adjustment to life with two kids.  He was on a solid four hour schedule which made the chaotic life of packing up and moving to Memphis for 2 months a little easier while she began treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

We had been blessed with our first to have been surrounded by several families who had success with Growing Kids God’s Way whom I could call at a moments notice for wisdom.  That experience made using Baby Wise principles for our second child come naturally (well, at least for the most part).  I also frequently visited this blog to "refresh" my memory during the newborn stage.

One of the biggest benefits included how easy it was to let friends and family members watch him for extended periods during her treatments, particularly since he had a solid routine.  Also, we were blessed that he was sleeping through the night (usually) and beginning to eat solid foods while still very young, making it much easier for us (and others) to care for him and focus on more important things (like keeping him from climbing all over the place).  His routine was so regular that I even saved a copy on my iPhone so I could e-mail to whomever would be watching him, and it also meant that it was easy to return to “normal” after any event.  

Overall, he was an easy baby who returned to routine like clockwork almost on his own (Although I know that NOT ALL BABY WISE BABIES WILL DO THIS ON THEIR OWN, even ALL WILL WITH EFFORT).  So anytime he spent extended time with grandparents or if we got off schedule being at the hospital for appointments, it made the transition back super easy as we all knew what the plan was.  

During the past year we have spent almost half of it traveling back and forth for treatment.  When visiting the local clinic, he goes with us for all of her appointments--and it helped knowing what time was “wake time” and what time was “sleep time”, and to know how to handle any fussiness.  We have continued to use the Baby Wise pinciples, and still have many “off” days, but having a routine has been a blessing to us, to others watching him, and most importantly to him.  I am sure that it has helped the craziness of life for him to have a sense of “normal”.  

We are thankful to say that he is a happy 18 month old who naps once a day and still has a very regular routine during the day.  The same sense of “normal” was also beneficial to our daughter as she goes through treatment (her cancer has been in remission for almost one year, with another year or so of treatment to go).  She knows what is expected at home, when to have room time, etc--so we can look forward to normal days when not inpatient or receiving treatment.  This would not have been possible without having a routine for her in place beforehand.

Sharon and her husband Tom are grateful for the lifesaving treatment their daughter receives from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  You can read more about their daughter's cancer journey at

Babywise and Adoption

I have two daughters. My oldest is 3 and my youngest is 10 months. They were both adopted at birth. My youngest was born addicted to methadone and she had to go through withdrawals. The main thing that was affected was her digestive system. She had a very sensitive stomach and would writhe in pain after feedings. Over the first several weeks of her life, we learned what would help her: Zantac, ready made similac allimentum formula, Rock n Play sleeper, mylecon and Gripe Water. However, I believe the foundation of all that was Babywise!!

I vowed to start my second child on Babywise from birth - and I did. The first 2-3 months with her were tough as we tried to manage her "reflux-like" symptoms from the drug withdrawal. The stability that Babywise gave us was simply amazing. I know Babywise made all the difference in the world with her. The stability and predictability that Babywise gives was what her little body needed while going through those withdrawals. 

My daughters are 26 months apart but I never wanted my children 2 years apart (God had other plans, thankfully!). However, this past year with a 2-year-old and baby has really been smooth sailing overall, thanks to Babywise. I pictured chaotic days with both girls needing me at the same time and both girls crying while I feel frazzled and pulled in two different directions. Because of Babywise it is a rare day for me to feel that way at all! We have our daily schedule/routine and the girls know what comes next. 

People are always concerned about bonding when it comes to adoption. I feel that Babywise allowed me to bond and know my baby's cries and what it meant from a very early age. When my baby is upset and crying I always know exactly what the problem is or, with some troubleshooting, I am able to figure things out pretty quickly. 

Babywise works for my family beautifully. It has given me the ability as a mother to know my children and meet their needs before they even have to ask and it has given my family as a whole stability and consistency, even with two small children. 


Babywise totally saved my life.

Some friends recommended it to me before my son was born, but my mind was still on all things pregnancy so I didn't think much about it.

All it took was 3 weeks - 3 weeks of not knowing what to do with a newborn baby while being absolutely sleep-deprived and hormonal.  I was losing my mind.  I experienced  crazy baby blues and post-partum depression.  It felt like someone had taken my life away from me.  There was no structure to my day and I had no idea what I was doing.  

Then, I had a little flashback and remembered my friends suggesting this book.  I didn't care what it was or what it said, but I was going to read it.  I needed answers.

As I read it, I started implementing different concepts in the book.  It was amazing.  I was automatically seeing results and I felt like a new person.  Within days of starting Babywise, my son was sleeping 5-6 hours straight at night.  By 2 months, he was sleeping 8 hours at night. 

I think a common misconception about Babywise is that it's too rigid.  It provides routine and schedule, yes, but you can mold it to fit your baby's needs.  My son has dealt with extreme acid reflux all of his life and just now (at almost 8 months) it's starting to calm down.  His reflux influenced a lot of different factors in our day and we were able to make Babywise work perfectly for us.  

Thanks, Valerie, for the time you put into your blog.  You have certainly helped me!  I can't say enough positive things about Babywise.  I recommend it to all of my friends and I write about my experience on my blog (  Come check it out!


Rest for the Whole Family

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While pregnant, I dreamed of what life would be like with a new baby. I had experience with kids and newborns, my husband did not. I thought I would be the tough one and he would be the softie. Our beautiful son was born and exhaustion set in. At the time, we lived in a one bedroom apartment that we had set up like a studio. Most of our belongings were packed in boxes from floor to ceiling in the bedroom and we made the living room our bedroom/nursery/dining room. It was tight quarters, but it worked for the time being. We were under contract to buy a house, so it was just a short term solution. 

The first few weeks or two our son would sleep in his crib and I would feed on demand. I was utterly exhausted. One night, in a zombie state, I brought him into our bed to nurse and both baby and I fell back asleep. I found this to be easy. I could sleep and he could eat. There I no longer used the crib and when it was time for my son to sleep I would lay down with him and sleep too. There was only one problem. We had a queen size bed and my husband is a very heavy sleeper. I awoke one night to find my son trapped under the weight of my husband. I began sleeping at the very edge of the bed to give my son the most amount of room possible. After a couple weeks of this I discovered the little sleep I was getting wasn't quality. I was waking multiple times in the night to nurse and when I was sleeping, it was always a light sleep so I could watch over my little one. I needed more sleep and I realized it. We tried to transition our son back into the crib, but he wasn't having it. I didn't like letting him cry himself to sleep, so I would walk him, rock him, hold him on the edge of the bathtub while the water ran. I tried everything. Whatever worked that night was my life saver. Too bad it took 45 minutes to get anything to work! I honestly had convinced myself if was easier to do it that way.

Around 5 or 6 weeks into my son's life, my husband's coworker suggested we read Babywise. My husband was all for it. We bought a copy and while he read aloud I would tune him out. I was not on board. I don't remember how it happened. Somehow I too became a fan. Maybe because I saw it was working. We would put our son in the crib and comfort him every so often. There was no extra room in our apartment for his crib to go into, so we were right there while he screamed. The first night I think he lasted for 3 hours. My sweet husband sat by the crib all night comforting as needed. He also had to spend some time holding me in the bed while I sobbed. The first night was rough. The first couple of nights were rough. I would take a bath while he went to sleep or make a trip to the grocery store. It was tough on me hearing my baby cry. Gradually things got better. My son spent less time crying and more time sleeping. After a few weeks there was no crying. We would lay him down and he would fall asleep. We all began sleeping better and life was great! 

I no longer nursed on demand and loved the schedule I was creating. I'm a person who likes routine, so everything was working out great! My son is 11 months old now. He is a great sleeper. He loves his crib! He sleeps at least 12 hours a night and takes 2 naps a day. There is no more crying when it's time to go to sleep. In fact, the few times I have tried to rock him to sleep he fights me, but the second I lay him down in the crib he goes straight to sleep. I am so thankful that my husband took charge and convinced me that Babywise would work. It really was a life saver for us!


Not All Rainbows & Unicorns

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I’ve told my success stories before, but last year someone mentioned that they wished people weren’t saying it was all rainbows and unicorns (paraphrasing J) so I thought, instead, I’d write down my challenges and frustrations with it this year.  While, I’m a huge Babywise enthusiast, and could go on and on about my successes, I’ll focus on the challenges, in my opinion, if that’s ok.
·         On Becoming Babywise really opened my eyes up about the importance of sleep, marriage and family first, focusing on why vs how, and introduced me the eat/wake/sleep cycle.  Many concepts that really just clicked with me, which I didn’t realize until I read them.  Even so, I found the book to be disorganized, repetitive, and difficult to read.  Not that I couldn’t understand it, I just wished it was organized better, didn’t bash other parenting styles so much, and actually dug into the details a bit more in places.  If not for Val’s blog, I’m not sure I would have latched on to Babywise like I did.  Sorry this is a critique of the book.  I have recommended the book/series to others, but always with the caveat that it’s not well written (in my opinion) and tell them to also go to the blog.  I’m not saying this to be disrespectful to the authors (and I really wish I didn’t have that caveat) but I would be worried someone would give up on the book/approach without my acknowledgement of this.  I have some other caveats with my recommendation, but this is the main one.
·         While the book says repeatedly, and I mean REPEATEDLY, that every baby is different, that the timelines suggested in the book are just typical ranges, that you feed your baby when he/she’s hungry, etc., I still couldn’t help but feel I was doing it wrong or not really doing Babywise most of my daughter’s infancy.  I was being consistent yet flexible when needed, which is what I read in the book a million times, but I still got the sense that a stricter schedule was really the intention and I was falling short.  I would see people post their schedules on the Yahoo (now Google) Babywise group and wonder how they could even write a schedule down, were their babies that predictable?  If one feeding got off, then the whole day was off and how could you know from day to day?  I got so wrapped up in trying to figure every little thing out, I drove myself a little nutty.  But I just focused on the basics and establishing a routine and all was good … eventually.  I’d say I had a nearly textbook BW baby now looking back.  Not knowing how another parenting approach would have weighed on my psyche (maybe I’m just nutty? J), I sort of “blame” trying too hard be perfect on Babywise.  That’s probably not right, on several levels (who can be perfect?) but it is how I felt.
·         While I know many tout the importance of blanket time suggested in On Becoming Babywise, I did not do it.  I think independent play is very important and I did do that, but I didn’t feel strongly about an obey-me-for-the-sake-of-obeying-me exercise of keeping a baby on a blanket.  Of course, I think a child should most definitely obey the parent but for a purpose and not just “because I said so” which is what blanket time felt like to me.  I know this is a key area in which I am “not doing Babywise” and some people think “because I said so” is a great reason – but, oh well.  My daughter obeys me (in her toddler way!) to my satisfaction and happily entertains herself, so I’m not kicking myself over this one. 
·         Overall, explaining to friends and family about keeping to your routine or following this weird thing called Babywise  was not the greatest.  People not understanding or feeling like I would never leave the house again while other moms cart their babies all over creation, made me feel quite doubtful if it was all worth it, and kind of resentful, actually.  Honestly though, how else would I do it if I decided to stop Babywise?  I couldn’t un-know the importance and benefits of consistent eating and sleeping.  I couldn’t decide that a cranky, overly tired or demanding baby was better.  But in the end it wasn’t so much that I had to follow through with Babywise, but that I knew the routine I established and my approach was healthy and a good one and if that meant being  more homebound, then that was an acceptable sacrifice and I’ll just call it parenting rather than a book title.
My daughter is now 3 and I still read Val’s blog daily and feel like the –wise approach is part of my everyday routine with her.  Just last night after putting our daughter to bed, my husband and I were chatting on the couch about our day and basically marveling at how great she is, like we often do (we just stopped short of high-fiving each other, LOL!) and he asked, “Do you think we’re just lucky and she was born that way or is it something we did?”  I said both.  He knew that was the answer, but you can’t help but think it’s gotta be something else besides what you might have done.  You can say you’re lucky and point to her great disposition only so much.  I’m not too proud to say that I’m a good mom and really credit Babywise for inspiring and confirming the inner-parent I already had in me.


Ministry Success

Each of my children have been born during different phases of being in the ministry. As a pastor's wife, I have had to participate in many church events with my children in tow at a variety of different times of the day and night. This has forced an element of flexibility into our lives, despite wanting to give our kids structure. I wanted to write a success story focusing on this, because I have a heart for women trying to be mom's in the ministry.

When my oldest was born, we were youth pastors. This meant Wednesday nights were late, as well as special events on the weekends and then camps in the summer. Therefore, I set the schedule to start later in the morning, so that we could accommodate late evenings. We had an 8am wake up time, which allowed her "normal" bedtime to be 8pm but I could fudge it just a little and put her down at 8:30/9pm without disrupting our week. She got good at taking naps in a room off of our youth room or in my husband's office. We purchased a Kidco peapod and she did great with that. 

When my 2nd was born 18 months later, we were still youth pastors for the first 6 months. He was a very flexible sleeper. We still went to youth events on Wednesdays and added in small groups (growing to about 60 teenagers) on Sundays. Eventually these small groups took over our house which meant at about 3 or 4pm, teenagers would fill our house for games and fun and then small groups would happen in multiple rooms of our house with snacks and singing and the teens would be there until about 9/10pm (later even for the college aged at times)! My kids were amazing at getting up from nap to see a bunch of crazy teenagers, doing dinner in an abnormal setting, hanging out, then even going to bed at the normal 7:30/8pm with the full house. Yes, we used sound machines to help, but they learned to go to bed and sleep through any noises the youth may make. It was amazing. Looking back, I'm so impressed that my kids adapted so well to this setup!

I can attribute my confidence walking through this season to all I learned through Babywise. I learned the checks and balances of our schedule. I learned how to treat it like a deposit and withdrawal system when it came to consistency. If I knew we had a crazy week of evenings ahead, I would lay low during the days. I tried to pick and choose carefully what was important and what could be left out if the kids seemed to be on overload. I also set up a closet (large closet) with toys so they could do "room time or sibling time" during youth or Sunday services at the church. There was even a time (when my oldest was about 6-12 months) that we did blanket time on the stage while I helped lead youth worship (and YES she stayed on the blanket the whole time!)! All of the elements of Babywise helped keep our kids in good behavior and adapting well to our life in the ministry.

We then began a transition out of that church as youth pastors and my kids had to learn a whole new kind of flexibility as we moved in with my in-laws. This was NOT a fun experience, but if I had not been doing Babywise and being structured and proactive, I would not have survived it. We stuck to our routine and made it through a whole year of living in someone else's house with two young children. Living in someone else's house means dealing with their loud noises early and/or late at night, disruptions to sleep, lack of respect for Independent Playtimes, and a whole slough of other issues. Regardless, we survived and I thank Babywise for a lot of it!

I had our youngest while living there and she had severe reflux and feeding aversions (and that's a whole other story) . She still actually STTN at the same age that my others did (8/9 weeks) and slept great with the exception of flares and feeding issues that occurred (which did happen often, but when we solved her problems even ever so slightly, she bounced back to sleeping well immediately, no bad habits to fight!). We have had a long journey to work through with her, but she is an AMAZING sleeper and I attribute that to the consistency I've learned in Babywise.

As we have gotten to transition back into living in our own home, each of our kids are incredibly flexible in many ways and thrive off of routine and independent play times. In fact, my son (middle child) recently asked for room time when we had a bunch of company and he was feeling overwhelmed. I was so proud of him for asking, which shows that he's learned a good tool to use if he's feeling overwhelmed or out of place! We have also transitioned to a new church and new type of ministry and all 3 of the kids (now ages 1, 2.5, and 3.5) have adapted well to our new ministry and church schedule.

So, I share my little glimpse into our life to say that if you are in the ministry, you CAN still do Babywise. Yes, things are different on Sundays being at church all morning and Wednesdays doing services and then even Saturday night services (which we have at our newest church we are in!) and the random other events that come up. But your kids can learn to be flexible inside of the structure that you provide and even learn to nap in random places regularly. You can completely create the consistency that these things are a part of your life on a regular basis and just insert them into your schedule.

If you ever want to talk the logistics of ministry and Babywise, I'm completely open to it! I know it's hard to figure out how to do it, but it is not impossible! Please feel free to contact me anytime!


Sleeping Through the Night Success!

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After being home with my sweet daughter, Farrah, for a few weeks and adjusting to life with very little sleep, I decided it was time to do some reading to help me figure out how to help her get in a good routine and get the sleep she needed.  I was completely clueless when it came to babies. I have never really been around many babies. I am also a planner/scheduler who is a little OCD. So, I needed a plan! I was given the book On Becoming Baby Wise as a Christmas gift, so I decided to start with that.  Everyone kept telling me that Farrah had her days and nights mixed up.  I really feel that the book, On Becoming Baby Wise, helped me help Farrah figure this out.  On Becoming Baby Wise gave me a plan to follow to help my baby learn the difference between day and night.  The main goal of the book is to have a healthy, growing baby who sleeps through the night by 8 to 12 weeks.  I do feel that the book helped me accomplish this goal.  I did not follow the BW plan completely.  After reading the book, I was definitely a little confused and trying to figure out how I was going to do everything on the plan.  After searching the Internet for some help, I came across the blog Chronicles of a Babywise Mom.  Wow! What a lifesaver!  The blog helped me understand parts of the BW plan that I did not understand as well as showed me that I did not have to follow it exactly.  I simply used the parts that I felt would work for us.  Farrah started sleeping through the night at 9 1/2 weeks.  What a welcomed milestone!  At this point, Farrah was eating on a combination 2 1/2 - 3 hour schedule.  She had a bottle at 8:00 PM and then went to bed.  I would wake her at 10:00 PM for one last feeding.  This was supposed to be her "dream feed", but I never was very successful at keeping her from waking all the way during this feeding.  During the second month, she had stopped waking to eat in the middle of the night.  The next big step was to cut out the 10:00 PM bottle.  I had not even thought about trying to cut out this feeding in fear that she would start waking to eat in the middle of the night again.  One night while we were in out of town, I fed Farrah at 8:00 PM and put her to bed.  I typically would stay up until her 10:00 PM feeding.  Well this particular night I accidentally fell asleep.  I woke in a panic scrambling for my phone to see what time it was.  It was 4:00 AM, and Farrah was still asleep!  So I decided to just go back to sleep and see if she would sleep until her first bottle which was usually between 6:00 AM and 6:30 AM.  Of course I figured as soon as I got back to sleep she would wake up, but she didn't.  She slept through the night!  So, that was the end of her 10:00 PM bottle, by accident.  Farrah is now almost 6 months old.  I really feel that the combination of the book, On Becoming Babywise, and the blog, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom, really helped me "figure out" how to help my daughter get a goo, restful nights sleep.  I plan on getting the second BW book, On Becoming Babywise II, soon!  Check out my blog, Being Farrah's Mom, for more of my adventures of figuring out this whole "Mom" thing!


Happy Baby, Happy Parents

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Before our son was born, a good friend of mine mailed me a beat up old copy of BW and swore that it was and continued to be the reason her children (now 6 and 10 years old) slept so well.  When Charlie arrived, as new parents we were just trying to find our way.  I assumed because he was so young, I was breastfeeding,  and that I was on maternity leave, I didn’t need to really worry about a  schedule just yet and let him eat/sleep without any kind of consistency.  I had supply issues that forced me to stop breastfeeding at 5 weeks and at my husband’s prompting we decided to implement the BW schedule at that time.  Charlie took to it immediately and I realized that for the past 5 weeks I  was not allowing him to sleep as much as he should be!  By 7 weeks of age he was sleeping through the night in his crib in his own room.  Although I had prepared myself for it, there was never really a big CIO period and he continues to go down for naps and bed time easily.  He loves his crib, wakes up with a smile and can play/sing in there independently.  Everyone considers Charlie to be a happy baby and tell us all the time how “lucky” we are that we have such a good baby.  We try to explain to them that it is not luck, it is taking the time to implement the BW schedule that has made for such a  happy baby.  I don’t need to tell you that happy baby means happy, well-rested parents!  We never went through a time where we were exhausted from being up all night with him.  BW was a lifesaver for us and has helped with a smooth transition to parenthood!


Blessings for Military Family

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When I was pregnant with my first child, I found myself wondering how I was supposed to know when to feed him after he was born.  Weird, I know, but I really wondered how to figure all that out.  I can't remember how I heard about Babywise, but I'm so glad I did.
I LOVED the predictability of Babywise.  I very rarely had to wonder what was wrong with my baby.  I could, in most cases, look at the clock and know exactly what the problem was.  Knowing what baby's needs were and when they would occur made planning errands a breeze.  No wondering whether I should pack a bottle/nursing cover, etc., knowing whether he would be cranky for a nap before we got back, etc.  My husband really appreciated the predictability as well.  He's really not a fan of surprises, and he liked not having many.  :o)
As baby grew, I continued following BW principles, but I never went on to read Book 2 or ToddlerWise until I was having trouble managing time, schedule, etc., after baby #2 joined us.  Since then, I've implemented roomtime with my toddler and tightened up Baby #2's schedule and routines.
The fact that we are a Navy family makes the routine and discipline of the Babywise lifestyle that much more crucial and appreciated.  We've moved 6 times since #1 was born (he's only 27 months old now), and though the schedule always gets a little wobbly with the upheaval of a move, he quickly snaps back into it once things calm down.  Also, there are long stretches of time when my husband is not around to give a hand with the children, and our families are far away, so it is absolutely vital to mine and the children's well-being to have predictable routines in place.  Babywise has probably saved my sanity in that regard.  I can't imagine going through our days helter-skelter, especially with no husband around to help.
Babywise has been a serious blessing to our family!


Structure Brings Freedom

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I've always known that I loved Babywise and that it was great for our family. Both of our kids slept well from early on and we didn't have much of that newborn fog that lots of parents get into because of sleep deprivation.

Now that my kids are older (almost 2 and almost 4) I am seeing the benefits on the rest of the -wise books. I have taught my kids to come to the call of my name right away every time. I have taught them that when we're out in public they are to stay near me and not run off.

I was at the park with my two kids and a friend and her 2 year old. Her son would not stay near her and kept running off without looking back no matter how loudly she called his name. I felt badly for her having to chase him all over the park and worry about him near the pond. Meanwhilei my kids stayed near me and were able to enjoy more freedom because they have earned my trust that they will stay near and they will come when I call them.

Christine, mom to 2 and 4 year old

The Blessings of Babywise

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Back then when my husband and I were not yet married, a couple we are very good friends with shared to us their experiences as new parents using Babywise method. I thought maybe I could adapt the same method when we have our own baby. When I became pregnant, I bought myself a copy online and in few weeks I had the book in my hands. I read it and tried to understand everything. But I realized that it's easier to follow the guidelines in actual situations. I took down the first things I should do when the baby arrives. I was excited. I can't wait to apply the things I've learned and see if the method really works.

Being a first time mom with this kind of parenting takes a lot of discipline and dedication. One must go as the book teaches in order to achieve the goal.I did some compromising within the first 10 days, putting her on a demand feeding at times. You see, it is so disturbing to wake your baby when she seems to be sleeping soundly. So I allowed Yohan to sleep up to 5 hours and she would wake up to feed then back to sleep again. I know I was not going by the book, but my milk production was not stable, and I was still recovering. But I resolved to really do it right and face the ordeal. I was left alone in the house to care for Yohan during the time I was closely implementing the method which was more convenient for me because I won't be mindful of the opinions of others. Of course, my husband was very supportive.

CIO is certainly a tough one: I let my baby cry for 10-15 minutes in her crib to let her soothe herself to sleep. But if the time lapses and she's still crying, I check on her to look for reasons why she is still not sleeping. In the beginning it was a huge struggle bearing with my baby's cry when I put her to bed for her nap. My lack of sleep and certain adjustments made her cries a bit hard for me to bear. It's like pounding your heart into pieces. Many called it tough love. I kept telling myself that it's for the best. Back then, I can hardly wait for my husband to get home from work so I can be comforted by his presence after my baby's crying session. I got used to her cries as I continue to be consistent with the routine and eventually as the weeks progressed, her crying time shortened. Today, when placed in her crib she can easily put herself to sleep without even crying! I now understand what she is trying to tell me through a cry and respond to it appropriately if necessary. I got away with the traditional props like "dancing" her to sleep, pacifiers, etc. I got a lot of tips on understanding CIO and more about the book from this blogsite.

Yohan began sleeping throughout the night by around 8 weeks and is now consistent with it. At almost 5 months she sleeps for 9-10 hour. We're in a dreamland every night . We've got a cooing happy baby every morning. Oh, she smiles a lot and it's priceless! She behaves herself very well too. I can just put her down in her stroller and she sits there happily. She hardly cries a lot now. Not only that we can rest well at night but also the routine schedule conveniently allows me to do my daily household chores. I can't imagine myself as a mom have I not known Babywise. The hard work paid off. We are a happy couple with a happy, healthy baby. :)

Tonette, -Philippines