Babywise FAQs (Frequently asked questions)

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Get your Babywise questions answered. Know what to expect with the Babywise method and why it is awesome despite the controversy.

Mom holding her 11 month old baby

Most often when we read instructions to something, it seems pretty easy. Making a recipe, putting together a bookcase, parenting…it seems simple enough when we read about it.

However, we often find, once we get into it, that it is not as simple as it may have seemed. The recipe doesn’t turn out, the craft is not as cute as it was on Pinterest, and our baby does not follow the book.

This is especially true in parenting because we add a human factor in there. A baby does not always respond the way you expect her to. A baby is an individual, and you can’t have a book that is written for your exact baby.

Babywise FAQs | Babywise | Baby sleep | #babywise

Because of this, questions often come up when people are trying to implement Babywise. Here are some frequently asked questions and the answers to those questions.

Post Contents

Babywise FAQs

When do feedings and naps change?

Feedings and naps change ALL THE TIME throughout your first year. See this post for a full outline of your first year and what age ranges to expect changes:

How do I get my Babywise baby to sleep as long as she should?

Sleep. This is a huge driving reason people are attracted to Babywise.

They want the great sleep in their lives. They know sleep is an important facet of growth for babies and they know if baby sleeps well, so can the rest of the family.

There can be many facets to getting the sleep baby needs. Baby needs to have correct waketime length. Baby needs to be getting enough to eat. The sleep environment needs to be set for success. Baby needs to be healthy and have no medical issues that hinder sleep.

I have a post to help you figure out why baby is waking early so you can solve that. See

Is it okay if baby eats every 3 hours but sometimes wants to eat at 2.5 hours?

Absolutely! You can have different intervals all day long. Just make sure you get enough feedings in the 24 hours that she needs for her age.

What should I do when my baby wakes up from nap early?

If your baby is hungry, you always feed him. If he isn’t hungry, I first try to get baby to go back to sleep. If that doesn’t work, there are a few things you can do.

One is get baby up, play for a bit, then put baby back to bed and see if he will finish the nap out.

Another is to just feed him and move on with the day. You can have him sleep longer for the next nap if he will to try to get back on schedule.


Read: How To Put Baby Back to Sleep


What should I do when my baby wakes up in the morning early but close to normal time?

This is such a common problem that I have a post dedicated to this answer. Know that it happens and that it is very normal.

All four of my children did this for a time as they extended night out but weren’t quite to sleeping through the night status. Read these posts for help.

How do I get my baby to sleep through the night?

Be very consistent with everything you are doing. Make sure you start each day at the same time, no matter what happened in the night.

Make sure bedtime is at the same time each night.

Make sure you have days moving consistently.

Dress baby well for sleep.

Sometimes a larger diaper for night is helpful.

If night sleep is not where you want it, see this post:

How do I know when my baby can go longer in between feedings?

There are several signs that your baby is ready for longer feeding intervals.

First, be sure your baby is old enough to drop a feeding and eat less often than she currently is.

Second, if you always have to wake your baby up to eat, it might be time. If you are waking baby up from every nap, baby might be ready to go longer between feedings.

Third, you ideally want your baby sleeping through the night before you feed her less often during the day.

Remember that it is okay to have different feeding intervals, so maybe she can go 3.5 hours between the first two feedings, but not any of the others. This is okay.

See these posts for more:

When should I drop the dreamfeed? 

The dreamfeed has a lot of questions surrounding it. I have detailed posts to help you out.

The short answer is when your baby has been sleeping from the dreamfeed until morning wakeup time, you can probably drop the dreamfeed.

But of course, real life is rarely that easily cut and dry. See these posts for more:

Babywise FAQs pinnable image

How much sleep is too much sleep?

Sleep totals can vary among age groups.

I wouldn’t worry that sleep is too much so long as your baby is sleeping well at night, seems alert when awake (barring the newborn age group), and is meeting most milestones at a regular time frame.

If you want exact numbers, I send out a freebie on sleep totals when you sign up for my weekly email.

One thing to note, babies can sleep a lot more when they are sick. If your baby is lethargic, feverish, or shows other signs of potential issues, be sure to talk to your baby’s doctor about it.

Babies will also sleep more at the end of a growth spurt.

In general, with babies, you want a 1.5-2.5 hour nap each nap time, and night sleep to be 10-12 hours long.

If baby has more than 2 naps, the last nap of the day might be only 30-60 minutes long.

How long should my baby’s naps be? 

Naps should be 1.5-2.5 hours long. Sometimes later in the day naps will only be 30-60 minutes long.

Our days are never the same. How do I get more consistency?

I was there once! See my post:

How do we do Babywise if we can never be home for naps?

You really need to have some consistency at home if you want the full benefits of Babywise.

You can’t really follow the tenets of Babywise without offering the sleeps side of things, and it isn’t fair to not really apply it, but be aware of it, and expect to see the results of it.

It would be like expecting purple frosting but only adding the red food coloring.

You could get some benefits of Babywise from working toward eating at regular times and trying to get your baby to take some naps on the go. But do not expect full Babywise results without full Babywise effort.

With that said, see my post Tips for Feeding Baby and Napping Away From Home for help on getting baby to sleep away from home.

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How long do we need to stay home for consistency?

This will really vary from baby to baby. Some are very flexible while others need extreme consistency in life. This isn’t a Babywise thing, it is a personality thing.

I always say to plan on two weeks of very minimal disruptions for two weeks before you start trying to expect baby to be flexible.

After that, your level of flexibility will depend on your baby’s ability to handle disruptions. See:

Are all sleep props bad?

No! Some are so helpful and have a time and place. Here is a whole post on that:

When should I sleep train my baby?

Sleep train your baby as soon as you feel baby is ready.

You also need to be ready to sleep train baby. Sleep training isn’t easy. If you are not ready, you will not follow through and baby will not learn how to sleep independently.

I highly recommend using the Four S’s for sleep training. You really want to start as close to birth as possible.

How do I know how long my baby should be awake in between naps?

Finding your baby’s perfect waketime length takes some effort. I refer to this as Optimal waketime.

See these posts:

My baby suddenly learned a new skill. How do I get her to sleep instead of trying to practice in bed?

This is a very common problem! I have a post on that:

What do I do when my baby is teething and stops sleeping well?

Find ways to help relieve your baby’s pain. You might need to break a few “rules” to comfort your baby while teething. You might rock to sleep or hold to sleep. This is all okay if it is necessary. Most babies go back to the way things were once the pain is over.

See:

What do I do when my baby is sick?

When your baby is sick, do what you need to do to help her sleep. Some sick babies want to sleep more than usual.

This is okay! Let baby sleep more.

Some sick babies won’t sleep unless being held or in a swing or something. This is okay!

Some want to just be left alone and in their bed. This is okay! Baby will be able to go back to normal after the sickness is over.


Read: How To Maintain a Schedule When Your Little One is Sick


How do I travel and still do Babywise?

Some families travel very little when they have young babies, but others travel quite a bit. If you love to travel, you can do this! See these tips:

Babywise FAQs | Babywise | Baby sleep | #babywise

My baby was sleeping so well, but is not anymore. What do I do?

The first thing I do is consider is baby hungry?

If not, is baby sick or teething?

After those things have all been ruled out, I think about what has changed since sleep changed.

If nothing has changed, is there something that should change (like waketime length being longer or feedings being spread out). Here are more tips:

How do I get my baby to sleep in later in the morning?

Part of what time baby wakes up in the morning is dependent on him. If he is an early riser, you can’t fight that.

Before you despair, try the tips in this post to see if you can get a later start to your day:

I just found out about Babywise. Is it too late for me to start with my child?

Not at all! See this post for how to get going:

Why is there so much Babywise controversy? Is Babywise dangerous?

Most people who have negative things to say about the Babywise method have never actually read the book.

People claim that Babywise advocates starving your baby, imposes a strict schedule, encourages cry it out, destroys breastfeeding, and even that the AAP advises against Babywise.

If you have read through this post to his point, you can probably already see that almost every one of those statements is false. I have a lot of posts on this blog refuting most of those points. If you would like to delve in, start here: Myths versus Realities of Babywise.

As for the AAP, this is not true. If it were true, you would be able to clearly find a statement from the AAP on their website. People will claim you can only find it if you have access to their locked files…

Which means this is “so dangerous” that they keep it a secret?

The truth is one doctor, who acknowledges that he never read Babywise, spoke out against Babywise once. Not the AAP.

Read: Does Babywise Work? Observe the End Results

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.

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 oldest 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.

Here are some sample schedules posts to get you going:

When do babies drop night feedings?

This varies a lot from baby to baby. It can depend on how many baby has to start with.

Many start to go around 8 hours at night by 8 weeks old. Some do not until around 12 weeks old.

Be sure to check out my post on Babywise baby’s first year for what to expect when.

What are some things we could say that would sum up Babywise in just a few sentences?

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”? 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.

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).”

Have you read toddlerwise too? I haven’t picked it up yet, and wondered when it’s time.

Yes, I have read Toddlerwise (several times!).

I have also read Pre Toddlerwise, Preschoolwise, Childwise, Preteenwise, and Teenwise.

Babywise Book II goes 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, two overlaps with Pre Toddlerwise, etc.

I would recommend getting Toddlerwise at around 11 months so you can mentally prepare yourself for anything new you want to implement.

My son just turned 2 last week and I have already read Toddlerwise. It seemed like Toddlerwise dealt mostly with the second year of life. Is it too soon to start with Preschoolwise?

Preschoolwise is for kids 3-5.

I would stick mostly with Toddlerwise right now so far as rules and expectations, but I read Preschoolwise right when Brayden turned two. I am sure I employed several things with him, and definitely with Kaitlyn and my other girls just because it was who I was as a parent by then. So I would get it now. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared!

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16 thoughts on “Babywise FAQs (Frequently asked questions)”

  1. Help! My baby is 6 weeks old and I’m trying to teach him to fall asleep on his own. I’m doing everything right: following his sleepy cues, setting the environment, placing him down and leaving the room. He can’t fall asleep! I tried for 45 min today. Did the shh/pat method and he cried harder. I picked him up til he was drowsy then placed him down. No luck! How was it so easy for you?!

    Reply
  2. He does have reflux 🙁 he’s visibly uncomfortable. It affects his sleep. Lately I’ve been letting him sleep in the boba wrap just to ensure he gets rest for the next cycle

    Reply
  3. Hi,

    It seemed as though my son was going into merge 1 – he was sleeping 3,5 to 4 hours each night and sometimes only waking up to eat once, or the 2nd time was early in the morning. Now, however, he’ll sleep 4 hours once, and then wake up every 2 to 2,5 hours and only drink 5-10 minutes (breastfeeding). Do you have tips for us?

    Sincerely,
    A tired mom

    Reply
    • Hello! It is hard to say without knowing his age for sure. Something to consider is if he is having a growth spurt or not. As babies get older, they eat faster, so he could be just eating faster and able to get a full feeding.

      If you are sure he isn’t hungry for those feedings, then the trick is to figure out WHY he is waking. Is he able to self-soothe? Is he cold? Is he uncomfortable? Is his diaper bothering him? Decide what you think is the most likely WHY and address that issue.

      Reply
  4. Hello. My son is 12 weeks old. We’ve been doing baby wise probably since he was 4 weeks old. It was hard in the beginning but he got the hang of it. For the past two weeks it’s been better. But sometimes at night he sleeps almost 10 hours and sometimes he’ll sleep only 6-7 hours and I have to feed him around 3:00-4:00 a.m. Why is his sleeping so inconsistent?

    Reply
  5. I need some help! This is the first baby I have used babywise on. She is 6 almost 7 months old. Her schedule is
    Wake and eat 8:00
    Solids 9:00
    Nap 9:45
    Wake 11:30
    Eat 11:45-12:00
    Solids 12:30
    Nap 1:30
    Wake 3:00
    Eat 3:45-4:00
    Nap 5:30
    Wake 6:00-6:15
    Bed 8:15-8:30
    So our problem is that she wakes at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30 then sleeps till 8…. Why??? I have been doing a 9:45 dream feed but didn’t last night and it’s still the same. We have been going and sshing her and have tried letter her cry but that’s so hard. We usually don’t let her cry more than 10-15 min. Any advice would be great. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • I think there is an excellent chance your issues could be tied to having your feedings so spread out through the day. The whole premise of the feeding part of Babywise is to get full feedings every 3ish hours (more or less time depending on age). In reality, you have feedings every 1 hour, then 2 hours 45 minutes, then 45 minutes, etc. I would combine your breastfeeding and solids all to be one eating session without the 30-60 minute break in between.

      I would start there.

      Reply
  6. My ten month old baby girl and I have been spending more time outside lately. She crawls around in the grass and plays independently.
    When we get back inside to get ready for her nap, she sometimes has trouble falling asleep and when I offer her the breast she takes a full feeding. I think she might be extra thirsty from playing outside but I don’t want to get in the habit of nursing two hours apart. What would you suggest?

    Wake 630 Nurse/eat solids
    Play inside
    Nap 830 to 1030 Nurse/eat solids
    Play outside
    Nap 100 to 200
    Nurse/eat solids
    Play outside or inside
    500 nurse
    Dinner around 6
    630 nurse and bed by 7

    Reply
    • Hello,

      You definitely can do aspects of Babywise. You can still go for regular feedings and have naps at regular times. You can follow the eat/wake/sleep pattern.

      If you had baby in a wrap for every nap, you couldn’t do the aspect of having baby to learn to sleep without sleep props/sleep aids. That is fine if that is what you would like to do, but it would most likely delay the ability of baby to sleep in a crib through the night without assistance. So you would want to just keep that in mind when you are setting your expectations.

      Reply

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