As I type this, I only have 15 weeks experience with being a mother and using Babywise. I did it at the suggestion of many friends, and now, three and a half months in, I can’t even imagine trying to do this without the guidance offered in this book. I truly believe applying these concepts to our lives and baby has helped parenting be so enjoyable. Not being one of those women who coos over every baby and wants to hold and play with any little one she sees, I have fallen in love with my baby girl and now, being a stay at home mom is the best job in my eyes, so different from the career driven girl I was until 3 months ago.
I read On Becoming Babywise for the first time when I was about seven months pregnant. From there, I re-read parts of the book several times, familiarizing myself with the big concepts, so I would be ready to go when my baby was actually in my arms. In addition to the book, I have utilized Valerie’s blog SO much!!! Also, something that has been helpful has been talking, via the phone, to an experienced Babywise mom, who is a friend of my family. Sometimes, its helpful to be able to just talk things out, rather than just read.
Many people have told me how lucky and/or blessed we have been with our baby girl. She is an easy baby! From the very beginning, at the hospital, we settled into a 3 hour eating routine, and, for the first week, I didn’t worry about anything else besides keeping her awake to eat (which was hardly a problem for her) and making sure she ate every 2.5-3 hours. When Naomi was 2-3 weeks old, we began trying to just lay her down in her crib, when she was awake, and letting her begin to practice going to sleep on her own. We didn’t do it every time. My parents were still here, my sister was visiting often, and her daddy and I were so captivated by her, that she still got held quite a bit when going to sleep and when sleeping. Once things settled down, though, we did it more consistently. We have never really had to let her CIO. She just goes to sleep by herself and pretty much always has. From about 2-6 weeks, she somewhat had a “fussy time” in the evening, the difference with Naomi being that she didn’t fuss or cry at all, she just wouldn’t go to sleep from her 7/7:30 feeding until her next feeding around 10/10:30. Then, she would eat and go to sleep. During this time, we would hold her, and sometimes she would steal a quick, short nap in our arms. We let her have a pacifier. We tried the swing, but she didn’t actually like it. It never was helpful for her to get to sleep. She outgrew this, though and began going to bed around 7:30 or 8 at 8 weeks.
She slept through the night (8 hours) for the first time the day before she turned two months old. She has extended her nights right on point with the book. She is now sleeping 11.5 hours at night. I dropped her dreamfeed around 13 weeks. So, she is currently eating 5-6 times per day. We are still on a 3 hour, sometimes 2.5 hour, schedule.
Our sweet girl has really been by the book with Babywise milestones. She has achieved what I thought were the biggest things (going to sleep on her own and sleeping through the night) fairly easily. I have really been able to see the benefits of this. Usually, during the week, we are low-key and don’t go out too much. On Wednesday nights, though, we have lifegroup with some couples from our church. We meet at another couple’s home. On this night of the week, we sometimes miss an evening nap and/or get to bed late. Naomi stays happy the whole time. She has never once been fussy. When she was younger, she would sleep in her car seat. Now, though, she doesn’t often sleep in strange places, so she won’t take a nap there anymore. In addition, she recovers well on Saturdays and Sundays, when we are doing activities, whether it be shopping, babysitting for friends, or going to church. We have repeatedly been asked by people that are with/around us or are caring for her (like in the church nursery) if she ever cries. I definitely am a believer that a well-rested baby can handle disruptions and outings and events so well. I am careful (this is a tip I read on Valerie’s blog) to not go more than two days in a row with disruptions. Usually, I like it to be just one day with a disruption, then a day home to rest and get back on schedule. Sometimes, though, it is two in a row, but no more. More than two days equals a cranky baby for us (this has happened once or twice I think).
The idea of letting the schedule serve you has been really helpful for me. I think, actually, for a while at the beginning, I was falling into serving the schedule. This is where conversing with an experienced Babywise mom was very helpful. Now, I’m a little more care-free and willing to go and do, though I like to maintain the schedule as much as possible, because I know it is best for Naomi and makes my days easier. Another thing I read on Valerie’s blog was to plan the time of day to have a disruption or outing. For us, I have to let her have her morning naps. Plus, in the afternoon, she has longer wake times anyways, so it is easier to go and do then.
I would highly recommend Babywise to anyone. So many of my friends had done it, that I knew it was worth a try. Now, I’m a firm believer!