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Why do an eat, wake sleep pattern for Babywise. The purpose behind the pattern and how it helps your baby sleep better.
Over the last few months, I have seen the question of “Why do the eat, wake, sleep pattern for Babywise?” several times. While I have my theories on the subject, I thought it was worthy of asking for more insight. I inquired of Anne Marie Ezzo (wife of Gary Ezzo, author of On Becoming Babywise) and got some interesting thoughts I hadn’t ever thought of.
First, here are my theories on the importance of eat/wake/sleep pattern when implementing On Becoming Babywise:
- The book says the cycle helps baby differentiate night from day. This is one of the biggest things that enables young Babywise babies to sleep well from birth.
- It helps them learn to sleep on their own because they aren’t being nursed or fed to sleep.
- It helps ensure baby takes a full feeding. For this reason, you really want to avoid feeding right before a nap.
- Another reason is to help baby make it the appropriate times between feedings. If you have ever played with a baby close to feeding time, you know they are far less patient for food than they would be if they were sleeping. A baby can more happily make it to feeding time if they are sleeping than if they are out playing. So the routine prevents snacking from happening.
- The book also says it helps baby to be more alert and happy during waketime. Baby is full and rested for waketime, so he can focus on learning because his basic needs are met.
- If baby has taken a full nap, he is usually really hungry when he wakes up.
I passed these theories on to Anne Marie, and here is what she had to say in response.
She said the theories are all fine. However, here is where the new information comes in. She said you don’t have to feed them right when they wake up. You can wait 10-15 minutes before feeding and that is fine. That is, if your baby will wait. A lot of babies are very hungry and ready for food when they wake up–that is how my Brayden (now 2.5) was. Anne Marie also said,
“I have shared with mom’s as their baby is on a good routine, got this nursing thing down, milk supply is great etc. and that usually is all in place between 4 – 6 weeks, that it’s probably a good idea to have a short space of time between getting baby up and sitting down to feed, so that baby isn’t ‘conditioned’ to think, as soon as I wake up I need to eat.”
She recommends this because she has heard from many moms of say, 6 month old babies say, “I’ve used Babywise and followed the feed/wake/sleep since my baby was born. I would feed him as soon as he woke up and now he is 6 months old and when he wakes up he seems to get so upset if I don’t feed him right away. Is it okay to make him wait for a little while before feeding him?” She says the answer to this is yes.
So if you would like to wait a bit prior to feeding, that is fine. You just need to make sure you count that time prior to eating in your waketime calculations.
This idea has never occurred to me. While my son was very ready for food right when he woke, he also transitioned well into waking and waiting if needed. For example, he currently wakes from his afternoon nap, but dinner isn’t for another 1-2 hours. No problem. My daughter will wait if I need her to, which on rare occasion is necessary just because I have the other child to care for and some sort of “crisis “will come up right when it is time for her to eat. Perhaps this is the reason she will wait? I think most of it has to do with her personality.
- Essential Elements to Any Routine
- Getting a Consistent Schedule
- Let Your Schedule Serve You, You Don’t Serve Your Schedule
- Babywise Sample Schedules: The First Month
- Sample Babywise Schedules: The Third Month
- Sample Babywise Schedules: The Second Month
- Sample Babywise Schedules: The Fourth Month
If you are having nap problems, check out my eBook, The Babywise Mom Nap Guide. This book helps you establish successful naps from birth through the preschool years. Right now it is on sale for an introductory price of $9.99. You can buy it here and get an instant download.