Progress is in a Spiral


I started reading On Becoming Pottywise today (getting ready for my next big adventure in life), and found something so helpful. Progress is like a spiral.

“…acquisition of new skills never proceeds in a straight line. Progress is more like movements along a spiral, which sometimes advances toward and sometimes recedes from the goal while oscillating upward until mastery is achieved…both [success and failure] are a part of the upward progression leading to mastery” (p. 86).

What a wonderful way of putting it! This is another way of describing what I have said to be good days, bad days, good days, bad days…it continues on until good days are the norm and bad days are exceptions, and then bad days are so uncommon you don’t stress over them anymore. The spiral description gives something visual for those visual learners out there.

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8 thoughts on “Progress is in a Spiral”

  1. This is such a helpful post to me as it is totally what we have been going through with our 4 month old. For 4-5 nights he sleeps through from 9-7:30 then, like last night, he wakes up and cries at 1 when he can be soothed back to sleep and then again at 5am (at which point he wants to be fed)It gets so frusturating when you think they are finally consistantly sleeping through the night only to have them start waking up again but like this post discusses I guess that is just the way it is sometimes. Thankfully the nights he sleeps through outnumber those he doesn’t. Thanks for this reminder! I love your blog!

  2. Hi Erin, I just answered your other question from yesterday, but after reading this question, I wanted to say it sounds like it could be a growth spurt. I would try to feed him more in the day if possible and see if that helps things.

  3. Hi, thank you so much for this blog… I’ve got so many questions!!! I just started using Babywise about 2 weeks ago with my now 4 week old. Before that I didn’t know any better and was letting him sleep after breastfeeding. Life seemed so much easier then–now he cries almost every time I put him down for a nap. I do like the book says, let him cry 15 mins, go in to calm him down, leave, but it doesn’t seem to work (I’m going to read your info on nap troubleshooting and CIO to see if I’m doing anything wrong). He sometimes won’t even sleep at all during a naptime. It seems the only things that get him to sleep are no-no’s in Babywise: nursing, car rides, stroller rides, rocking in arms, swing, etc. There are days when he does better though, and in fact two days ago was almost a perfect day where he went to sleep for nearly all naps without crying hardly at all. Then yesterday was one of the worst days where he didn’t sleep much at all for his first 3 naps. Is this typical, part of the “spiral,” and if so, how long does it usually take before there are more good days than bad?

  4. I left a link to my CIO Bootcamp post on your other question. Here is a link for other questions:When Does it Get Better?:

  5. Hi! I am a new babywise mom and trying to implement the system has been a little confusing for me. My baby is on a 3 hr schedule but when I put him down for naps its like he doesnt fall asleep. Then after his dreamfeed, he continues to wake up every 3 hrs. I dont know what I am doing wrong. Right now I have his waketime at 45min. I started with one hour but that seemed too long. My son is 6 wks old. Any advice? Am I going about this wrong?

  6. Jennifer,There are lots of posts on 45 minute sleep–so be sure to review those.It could be a growth spurt right now. 6 weeks is a common age.It is also common to sleep only 45 minutes at first when learning how to sleep alone. So it could be the new thing–if so, try helping him fall back asleep when he wakes up.It takes some time, but he will get it.

  7. I remembered reading this post and went back ans found it today for encouragement! My DS is almost 12 weeks and just FINALLY slept 8 hrs night before last…then went back to waking last night! Funny thing too- he had been taking mostly 45 min naps and yesterday after he slept all night he also suddenly started extending his naps! It was a beautiful 24 hrs haha….and then last nite he woke at 1am. The good thing was that now I think I have The assurance that he doesn't actually need that feeding because his feed schedule that day was exactly the same. So I felt ok about cio. Annnd he cried off and on til 530 when I fed him. Like cry for 30 min, sleep 30 min etc. It was his sleepy "wimpy sounding" cry that almost sounded like he was still half asleep. Annnd we're back to 45 min naps today…I just need to be thankful foe the good days and persevere thru the bad right? 🙂


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