The story of a first time mom and how she had success with On Becoming Babywise method. Simple rules she implemented for herself to have great success!
My husband and I talked “strategy” a lot leading up to the birth of our first daughter. I read the books, I shared snippets with my husband, and we saved what we liked and discarded the rest. The first book that I found I enjoyed was Raising Bebe and the most important bit of info I took from that was “the pause”, the idea that we shouldn’t rush into the baby’s room the moment she stirs. This made a lot of sense to us. We saved this and kept looking.
We came across Babywise by pure accident. I don’t have any memory of how I found it exactly, I just did. I devoured the first book and had “ah ha!” moments left and right. I shared chunks of the book with my husband. I went online and found resources (this website) and copied blog posts and saved links and compiled all this information in a shared OneNote folder that I have with my husband.
When our daughter was born the first night in the hospital I remember looking at the clock and seeing it was 6am when I woke her and fed her. I put her back down to sleep and set my alarm for 3 hours. I woke her up at 9am and we continued the same routine, like clockwork, every 3 hours. We didn’t intend to get her on that regimented of a routine for day one, but we later found out that she had mild jaundice so her intense sleepiness was easy to work with. The jaundice passed, but her sleep-routine was firmly in place and when we left the hospital she continued to EWS pattern at starting at 6am and continuing every 3 hours.
At 4 weeks I got some rather good advice from a sleepwise consultant who told me to not wake her up after her 6pm bedtime. Rather, let her wake us up when she was hungry. So we did and so she did, but the 9pm waking quickly turned to 10pm and then midnight. The 3am slowly pushed out to 4am and 5am. Before I knew it, my little girl was 8 weeks old and my husband was waking me up, pointing the clock, and we both did a happy-dance at the realization that it was 6am and our baby had slept the entire night. At about 10 weeks this was more reliable and as the weeks passed us we waited to see if our perfect Babywise baby suddenly turned into a terror. (She didn’t.)
We heard all about the 4-month sleep regression. We cringed at the idea of her turning 4 months. But that milestone came and went without any changes in her sleep pattern. I pondered this and came the realization it was because we had eliminated all sleep props very early on or we had none in the first place, and more importantly: we taught our little girl how to put her back to sleep at 4 weeks.
Some might say this is too early. However, standing where I am today, I know I made the right choice for my child. When you’re in the thick of it you really can only do one thing: keep going or turn back. We chose to keep going. At 4 weeks my husband and I sat down, discussed, and decided that from this day forward we would implement a 15-minute “pause”. After we put her down for a nap or bedtime, if she cried or fussed after, we put on a timer. Every single time, we put on the timer, because if not, that 2 minutes felt like 20. Each time, while staring at the baby monitor and watching the clock tick, Ellie would go back to sleep by 8-10 minutes. Sometimes, it was twelve. Rarely, was she still awake at 15 minutes. When she was, we would go in, pick her up, change her diaper if needed, give her a little burp check, fed her if we felt that was the issue, and then put her back down to sleep. We always put her down awake.
Some days it was easier to follow than others. Some nights those 5-10 minutes while listening to her fuss at us was heartbreaking. I worried I was doing the wrong thing all the time, but my husband held my hand and we persevered. We were consistent. We stuck to our plan and we started as we meant to go.
Today, we have a 1 year old little girl who is extremely happy and well-adjusted. Her teachers at daycare say she is one of the happiest infants they have ever had the pleasure of working with. She sleeps well at daycare and on the days she doesn’t sleep well, that’s okay, because she continues to sleep well at home at nights and on the weekends.
She went from 6pm to 6am every night to 7pm to 7am when she went to daycare. She never experienced any sort of sleep regression. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, she puts herself back to sleep after a minute or two. As I write this, she is coughing, but she has settled back down and is sleeping peacefully in the pack n’ play (because upstairs where her crib is it the temperature is too high, she’s flexible and can sleep in either spot without issue).
We know that one day our little Babywise baby will stop being “perfect” and that’s okay. We’re grateful to have had Babywise techniques and the community here to help us in our first year being parents.