My husband has two fears – the fear of missing out, and the fear of being hungry. He’s a pilot so he always packs enough food for his flight, plus more in case of delays and whatever else. I also have two fears – the fear of missing out, and the fear of being tired. As an introvert, social interactions are very draining, so I have to be fully charged going into them or else I am the lamest person at your party. I am terrified of living on no sleep for long periods of time.
Before I had my first child, I was fully aware that babies zapped your energy. I was painfully reminded by those offering unsolicited advice about how I would never sleep again once the baby came. And then of course, there is the story of my babyhood as the greatest cautionary tale. I’ve been told by my parents that I didn’t sleep through the night until I was 4. FOUR YEARS OLD. I actually remember this. I was so old when I finally slept through the night that I remember how hard it was on all of us. Sorry Mom and Dad.
So of course I feared that my own child’s sleeping habits would be the ultimate karma. I was absolutely terrified of a baby who didn’t sleep. I also had been reading loads of research about the importance of infant sleep for the developing brain, and how establishing good sleep habits helps kids as they grow up to focus and concentrate during the day. A couple of my friends had used Babywise with their babies, and those babies had grown into smart, well-adjusted, well-behaved kids. They slept when they were supposed to sleep and everybody was happy.
It wasn’t until I became pregnant that I was even aware of the “controversy” surrounding Babywise. After reading the book for myself, I found most of the critics to be uninformed and merely repeating rhetoric they heard from some other uninformed source. Yes, the internet is full of people talking about stuff they don’t know anything about. Shock!
So I decided to ignore the haters and stick with what I had seen with my own eyes. I read Babywise while I was pregnant and was ready to start the day Scarlett was born. Fortunately, the hospital nurses emphasized a three-hour schedule, so it wasn’t hard to get started. They told me how important it was to keep the baby awake while I fed her to make sure she got a full feeding, which is exactly what Babywise taught me.
Babywise or no Babywise, the first few of weeks of a baby’s life are hard. I was convinced I was failing at Babywise when she was two weeks old. I don’t really remember exactly why I felt that way, but I’m sure it was just new parent paranoia. I stuck with it, even on the days when it seemed like it wasn’t working, and the day she turned 7 weeks old she slept through the night. It suddenly seemed to all come together so easily. When she was about 9 weeks old we started having a scheduled waketime every day, which became enormously helpful when planning the day. Now at almost 13 months old, she’s an amazing sleeper who can put herself to sleep and will sleep 12-13 hours at night with two naps during the day.
You could say that I got lucky. You could say I just got a good baby who likes to sleep. All I know is what I have observed from my friends’ experiences and from my own. I’m so happy I kept going, because now I’m a Babywise believer!
Jennifer Tyler and my blog is I Don’t Share Popcorn at idontsharepopcorn.blogspot.com