I am a Babywise quitter. Yep, I said it. I started with it when my son was born, then quit for a few months. I was a first time mom looking for a way to learn how to do this parenting thing. I knew I wanted to have a baby on some sort of schedule, but I didn’t know how to make that happen. I didn’t know how much sleep a baby needed. I didn’t know about wake times. I didn’t know overtired babies sleep less. I googled and started trying some of what I found from Babywise. (No, I didn’t read the book, just websites.) Then I googled more and saw all the backlash against it. Seriously, to a sleep deprived first time mom it sounded like I was going to ruin my child. I backed off right away. And you know what? For a few months that was fine. I had no real routine for my child. I found some things that worked. I found if I fed my son at the same time every morning the rest of the day fell into place a bit more. I learned that a good bedtime routine didn’t have to be too long, just consistent. I noticed my son did well with a good eat, play, sleep pattern. We still didn’t have a solid enough schedule for my taste. I decided to take another look at Babywise. I actually read the book this time.
You know what? The things I found to work best were exactly what Babywise told me to do. Have a consistent morning wake time. Use the eat, play, sleep routine. Look for hunger cues and sleepy cues. All the things I read about that said Babywise was so terrible just weren’t there. The book never told me not to feed my child if he was hungry. It never told me to use the clock as my master for my day. No, it gave me tools to shape our day in a way that benefited my son and my husband and me. With the suggestions from Babywise I was able to really get nap times down. (I was blessed with a good nighttime sleeper, so no real issues there.) My son, who was doing well, did even better! He was well fed, rested, and happy. We had a predictable routine which enabled us to get out and do things.
When I got pregnant again I wasn’t too worried, I knew I was going to follow the Babywise ideas I had used with Ben. Then we found out we were having twins. We heard, “Get those twins on a schedule!” “You are going to need a solid routine from the start!” “You are going to need to schedule those babies!” from everyone! Seriously, it was usually the first thing people told us. Almost everything I googled about twins said to get the babies on a consistent routine right from the start. My own doctor said a solid routine would benefit my children. I found this very interesting. I mean, it was completely my plan to get my girls into a routine as soon as possible. I had success with Babywise with my son, and I knew I would use those tools again. But why is it when people have one baby, the thought of scheduling such a little person is almost frowned upon. You are told that scheduling feedings will ruin a mom’s breast milk supply. The baby will grow stressed from being taught how to fall asleep on their own. The baby will be malnourished and dehydrated. Yet even medical professionals told me to get my twins on a schedule as soon as possible. The double standard just doesn’t make sense to me.
Another thing we got a lot of was horror stories about having twins, especially since we already had a two year old. I was a little worried about how things would go. I assumed sleep would be a thing of the past. I joked with my husband that someone in our house would always be crying. I seriously thought the first six months (at least) would be chaos. You know what? They haven’t been! It has not been nearly as crazy as I thought it would be. Part of that is that we have been blessed with babies who are pretty happy and easy going. But a big part of that is Babywise.
Using the Babywise tools I have been able to build schedules that work for my twin girls and my two year old son. Consistent wake times let me get my son up before the girls every day. Starting the day with some one on one time does wonders for his behavior the rest of the day. My son gets independent play time while the girls have their first nap, giving me a chance to have time to get things done. All three of my children nap at the same time in the afternoon. Consistent feeding times means we can get out of the house, knowing my girls won’t be needing to eat while we are out. (Yes, I am able to nurse twins! Babywise did not hurt my supply at all.) I am able to spend evenings with my husband, as the children have a good bedtime routine down. And yes, despite having three kids under three, we sleep. Everyone does so much better with enough sleep, so the whole family is happier with a consistent routine.
I love the idea that a new baby fits into a family, the family doesn’t just revolve around the baby. Well, in our case two new babies fit into the family. I feel that the information I have gotten out of Babywise has really helped our family thrive. It takes effort to get a good schedule going, I’m not going to lie and say everything has been easy. But here we are, my twins just barely six months old, and we have a real, workable schedule that meets the needs of three children and two adults. I am so glad that I came back to Babywise.